Les Arabes à Londres!
“I went to London for two weeks to take a break from my tribal affiliations… but, I found the tribe waiting for me at Heathrow Airport.”
That’s how Nizar Qabbani begins his article in which he describes the pathetic state of Arab tourists in London. He then continues to lament the London he once knew before the Arabs have invaded:
Where is London that I knew in the fifties? London that offered me the best of my poetry and the best days of my life? Where is the beautiful gray color, and the beautiful civilized silence, and the Victorian tea halls, and the mythical English countryside? Where is Covent Garden, and the Royal Albert Hall, and the Royal Festival Hall, and the Old Vic Theatre? Rest in Peace! We’ve eaten them all! Queen Victoria, and King George V, and King Edward VII sold their palaces and their royal carriages to Arab financiers, and Shakespeare sold the scripts of Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, and A Midsummer Night's Dream for 50 pounds… bought with it a pair of jeans and a pair of shoes and traveled on the back of a vehicle after conceding that the new owners of the British Isle do not honor music, theatre, and drama.
He who does not want to travel should go to London in the summer. He who wants to master all the accents of Quraish* should stroll through Oxford Street, and the Piccadilly Circus, and Leicester Square, and Soho, and Knightsbridge, and Cromwell Road… and he who wants to remain seated in Al-Fishawi café in Sayyidna Al-Hussein*, the cafes in London are its second edition.
Arabism, on my eyes and my head*. It is my mother, my sister, my love, and all the family tree but is it necessary to carry the family tree on my back and roam with it across the globe? Is it a requirement for loving one’s country to have all the thighs and bellies of Quraish sitting on my lap?
* Quraish: A renowned Meccan tribe in
* Sayyidna Al-Hussein: A neighborhood in Cairo.
* Arabic expression
I hear family, friends, and other people who spend their summers in London grumbling about the same thing (i.e. the whole Arabization of London in the Summer… every Summer) which sounds a bit odd because the very people who complain are often the ones who contribute to this whole phenomenon as well. But, be it a good thing or a bad thing or just a thing…why do Arabs get the blame? There are little Italies, little Chinas, and little Indias all across the world so why should Arabs be deprived from having their own little communities let alone enjoying their summers in London and pumping loads of money into the economy while doing so. Why does the presence of Arabs seem to be so bothersome to many people including Arabs themselves?! What is it that we’re not doing right? Could Nizar Qabbani’s final remarks serve as an answer?
…it is the first time in my life to witness a model of Arab imperialism. I feel appalled and disgusted and I ask myself: is this how we’ll rule the world if it was destined for us to rule it? Of course, I haven’t seen armies proceeding and flags waving, nor have I seen armors, knights, and dead people. All the dead people I have seen were the deads of gambling, sex, and porn film piled up over each other on the sidewalks of Park Lane under the feet of Anglo-Saxon prostitutes.