Parroting Argentina

This is live from Beirut, where I stumbled this morning on an unexpected ornithology reference.   I’ve been kept busy with political gossip and personal adventures during my stay here, which I will sift through and share shortly on Media Shack.  For the time being though, here is a short prelude to upcoming posts about Lebanon from Lebanon by Blackstar.

Do you remember where were you on February 14, 2005? I was in Vancouver enjoying the alcoholic aftertaste of stressful moot court competition.  Former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq el Hariri was passing in his car in front of the Hôtel Saint-Georges in Beirut, a building he had eyed for years, when his convoy was blown up in a massive explosion.  Part of the reason I’m here these days, is so I can look at some of the political and legal aftershocks caused by this explosion. While I run around the city collecting business cards and showing off my newly printed one which cost me £1.25 the card, Beirut is gearing up full throttle to commemorate the assassination of its Golden Boy this Saturday.  Plastic chairs have been set up in the city center all over Martyrs’ Square in a pretty impressive symetrical alignment (almost putting to shame the geometry of Arlington Cemetary– and also making me wonder why the hell the urban planning of Beirut can’t be as meticulous as the chairs placed by the March 14 movement??)

In an effort to get supporters to show up on Saturday for this latest act in the country’s general political circus, the March 14 movement has been airing a very original advertisement on TV: the screen looks like the lebanese flag, with two horizontal red stripes and a white section in the middle, and a text showing up in black lettering scrolls down one line at a time in the white section.  At the very last line of the text, the same text is back read in reverse, scrolling up again one line at a time, for a completely different meaning.   Very clever.  Except that it turns out the idea is copied in its entirety from a political ad for Argentinian presidential candidate Ricardo López Murphy (The commercial  won a Silver Lion in the Cannes Lions Contest of 2006 in the category “Public Awareness Messages”). Check out the two ads here. And cheers to Omar Nashabe of Al Akhbar newspaper for passing it on.

Blackstar is a lawyer based in London.

3 Responses

  1. “unexpected ornithology reference”

    uhhh what does that mean?

  2. hmmm…. i guess my little joke wasn’t very clear… I meant that the Lebanese are copying the Argentinians. i wanted to be original, so i used the verb “to parrot”, which the Merriam-Webster defines as “repeating by rote”.
    I guess I showed too much of a vocabulary hubris…. i’ll tone it down next time…

  3. Very interesting about the ‘parroted’ ad – I’m not surprised, but I am glad to know. I hope that we – er, March 14 and its donors, who of course do not include the US government – did not pay Eli Khoury too much for the ‘creative’ that went into this ad.

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