Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Jewish Monster In the Background

--Gefinor Center, Beirut
I have a vague remembrance of reading somewhere sometime that Gefinor was designed by Victor Gruen (aka the Mall Maker), of Jewish descent. And since then I've become proud of this architecture, not that I am affiliated to Gruen's ancestry in any way, but only by the mere mesmerizing fact that celebrates Lebanon's paradoxical diversity where we still treat far easterners who might conquer the world very soon as potential house maids, and slaves, and where we claim to have 18 different sects with the 18th being Jewish, taboo taboo on the wall who's the fairest of them all? definitely not the Lebanese government. So here we are, with a Jewish heritage we are not even aware of for the most part. To Gefinor, to Wadi Abu Jmil, to not losing any part of our Lebanese identity by concealing history and works of art!
On the other hand, the real reason behind this picture is the contrast with the small blue house that seems to have withstood the test of time and war, with scars and stories to tell nevertheless. It's tiny, borderline kitsch, on a background of what appears to be a monstrous Gefinor, standing so proudly and modern-ly (although built 50 years ago) ready to engulf it.