A pink taxi

A pink taxi

April 28, 2011

Circuit Training Holidays

Allow me to re-introduce myself. I am the youngest in the family, the one with the DJ name, who complains every morning in classical arabic before going to school because I don't want to "learn anything". I will be a  four year old narrator  for this entry, although my mom refused to endorse the narrator from the book Room in her post about Child Narrative. Sometimes she can be very contradictory....

There is nothing that I love more than vacations. This means I can wake up at 730 instead of 630, at which time I give my mom a taste of her own medicine by waking her up to get the day started. I am not sure why I do that, given that my mother's vacation days are like circuit training (not unlike school days).

One of my mother's main priorities, if you haven't noticed that already, is to make each of us study every day. She carries activity notebooks for me to the pool and we practice handwriting while my brother swims. The French learn how to write before they learn how to read, so focused are they on cursive handwriting. I am in pre-K, and they make me practice what they call graphics, which is an early stage of cursive writing. I much prefer reading so instead I work on deciphering the complicated words on my siblings books, like "grammaire" and "francais".

My sister who is in first grade only does maths and reading.  My poor brother is stuck with all the subjects you can possibly iamgine, and they repeat the complete program three times until you pass the infamous bac. I am telling you, I live in a constant circuit training.

Then my mom piles in the activities, one after the other: golf, ski (yes we do ski in Dubai!), swimming all in a single day. Then my brother is dropped off for a sleepover at a friend's house, we stop by for a visit to my great-grandmother, my mother fits in a pilates class followed by a circuit training session! Her driving resembles a run on the treadmill, constant! Other days we do karate, ballet, golf competitions, horse riding and violin. Can anybody say "tiger mom"? I participate in some of them, but while I am still too young to try all of them, I sit and watch my big brother and sister perform. We also get to do really fun things on vacations, like attend birthday parties and playdates with cousins too.

I try to stick to her like  Robin does with Batman, accompanying her even to her coffee trips with my dad. Gladly I am the one who wakes her up on vacation days....but perhaps I will soon realize like the other two siblings that its better not to stir the circuit trainer while she sleeps.

April 26, 2011

There Are Many Ways to Share a Book

There are many ways to share a book. The most logical way would be to recommend a good read. The most friendly way would be to discuss it, at a book club for example. I prefer virtual book clubs. The most generous way would be to gift a new copy of  the book you enjoyed. The most personal way would be to pass on your own copy, like a sportsman passes the baton in a relay. The most romantic way is to read it out loud as I sometimes do with my better half. The most academic way is to discuss it with a professor or analyze accompanying Cliff notes when classroom days are long gone.

My preferred way to share a book is to read it with my child. It can be the most simple Arabic book, a favorite Martine, a Dr Seuss tongue twister, an Encyclopedia or a French classic.

Every young French reader will one day encounter The Little Prince by Saint Exupery, possibly when still in diapers. They have made this classic accessible to all, through derivative and even simple cardboard toddler books.

As a result, when I took the fresh new copy out for my ten year old son and I to read together, he already knew all the characters, but could only vaguely remember what had really happened. He certainly was curious to link them all together in a story. As for me, I had not touched the book since I read it with my younger brother, in the same fashion as I am reading it with my son.

There is a lot of dialogue in the book, so we choose which characters we would act out, and we read along. Often my son will sigh because he is touched by the sweetness of it and by its optimistic philosophy. Since we are reading it in the context of CNED, (the long distance teaching method he is signed up for), we have studied the context of the book and author.

Antoine de Saint Exupery was a postal pilot during WWII and he went missing, leaving us with a few novels on flying, the Little Prince and an unsolved mystery. In many ways, the Little Prince foreshadowed his disappearence because it is the story of a pilot whose plane breaks down in a desert. He finds himself stranded, when a little Prince comes his way and talks to him.

I asked my son: "Do you think the prince is a vision? Like a mirage in the desert? Was it just a voice in his own head?"

 My son reflected and responded: "God knows! You must give him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps you are too old to believe in these things mother!"

Nadim Karam, a Lebanese artist, also was inspired by Le Petit Prince. The statue of the Fox remains at DIFC, but  in his art it seems that The Little Prince has visited another planet...I captured a photo of the statue before it disappeared.

The French government certainly believed in Saint Exupery. They celebrated The Little Prince on their old 50 French Francs bill. There is an elephant who is swallowed by a boa snake and the shape looks like a hat. For those who don't know what I am referring to, you ought to read the book.

The Reformer

"Reformer sounds so Protestant! So Puritan!" My brother blackberry messaged me today.

I remember walking into the pilates studio for the first time ever and encountering the "Reformer". It is a machine made of leather and springs that looks something between gynocological stir ups and a nazi torture instrument. However, a friend of mine, now adept of pilates, has described the reformer with her artistic flair: "the esoteric handcrafted equestrian strangeness of it, the handcut leather and mattress-like springs..."

Like anything pilates, the reformer class requires full concentration, comprehension and perfect core strength. Exercises are performed laying down, sitting up and standing on the reformer. The stomack massage series has nothing of a massage to it (perhaps only the benefits) and the side splits are very demanding. Images are constantly evoked to make the exercise easier to remember. Take tree, with its long roots and strong trunk! Climb the tree and your spine is in a Burj AlArab shape.
When we do elephant, I always think of Elmer ofcourse, but I have been trained to flatten my back and scoop my stomack while standing with my hands on a bar....like a Brooks Brothers lamb emblem, drawn upwards.

A good reformer class requires a constant pace. The better you know your equipment, how to use it with care, how many springs are required, the better your performance. It is also advised to link every exercise with good transitions. I have spent enumerable sessions panicking about the straps, the colors of springs and the jump boards. On occasion, and I quote my sister, "not every class is a successful one", I will get in trouble because I rely too much on instructions and corrections. But I believe I have gotten the hang of it now, six years later and I spring out of the class with a certain elasticity in my limbs.

To make a full circle back to my brother who thinks that the reformer sounds puritan, I can affirm that I have met his challenge by performing 3 sets of 15 atomic push ups. These entail the use of the TRX (which always reminds me of dinosaurs). When you can do long stretch on the reformer, you can do about anything else in a plank position!

Post Scriptum: my husband has complained about too many fitness related posts. He must be unaware of the sports magazines that are replete with such stories!

April 24, 2011

Handsome and Smart

I read about James Franco a few months ago in a random fashion magazine, either VF or Tatler, at the most indulgent time of the week: a manicure at NBar! I sent two messages soon after. One to my husband was traveling in the USA at the time, asking him to buy the book  written by him entitled Palo Alto, and the other was to my cousin asking him about the movie 127 hours in which the same James Franco stars.

My cousin, who is a champion mountain climber, had  already seen the movie and had kept a  copy of it. We then organized a movie night and I bonded with him and my brother, confirming my dislike for chick flicks and my preference for certain types of guy-movies. How fun it was to watch the cool movie with the climber-cousin, two weeks before he left Dubai permanently, back to the American canyons he missed so much! I wasn't surprised that he was willing to see it again, because in his family, they watch movies to the point of overkill, like my son.

127 hours is so much better than Slumdog Millionnaire,  which was by the same producer! I found that Slumdog was replete with cliches of India, and I tend to prefer authentic Bollywood productions. 127 hours is a one man show and the single actor is no one other than handsome James Franco, taking on the character of a grungy carefree climber . I watched the theatrical film with awe, despite the fact that it had a Titanic feel to it, one with an ending we all knew. This lost climber, who gets stuck underneath a boulder in a cave, with no access to the outside world, ends up amputating his own arm to save himself. I was very impressed with the acting and the production kept us glued with suspense and entertainment.

Upon my husband's return from the US, I received James Franco's collection of short stories entitled Palo Alto, as promised. I was familiar with the town of Palo Alto because my sister is a Stanford graduate. Yet the book doesn't even mention Stanford University, except for its looming presence as an employer of some parents in the stories. The narratives instead focus on high school students. The stories occur in the late nineties, making Franzen's "Discomfort Zone" feel like the age of innocence in comparison. Franco writes to shock: this is American Beauty but X rated!

While there is much scandal to the stories, closer to Scream than to American Pie, there were some stories that really amused me. As you know me by now, I of course read excerpts to my husband out loud.

This is just a proof that a handsome actor, who happens to be a graduate of NYU film school like another cousin of mine,  can also write as he also received an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University.

April 22, 2011

Why I am Never Late...Well Almost Never!

Expulsion from school was the threat the priests made to late comers at the Jesuit boarding school I attended during high school. We were to respect a serious curfew on the Wednesday afternoons we were given to go into downtown Geneva, as well as on Friday and Saturday evenings. 9pm was the latest we could be out, which clearly kept most of us 16 year olds out of trouble.Often, you could see us running  to catch the public buses but in general, the simple threat (which I doubt they would have applied) trained us to respect one Swiss value: to always to be on time.

My parents had already  raised us to value our time and other people's time. They  themselves were always punctual, whether for important events like going to the airport or getting us out the door for school or less important meetings, likethose with friends). We were told that making people wait is rude and disrespectful. They are without a doubt completely right.

For that reason, I always plan my time in such a way as to arrive a few minutes ahead for all of my appointments. When I schedule my days, and overstuff them with activities, I try to ensure that there is enough travel time between the meetings and the classes. The back of my car is prepared for the required equipment and changes of clothing. My siblings and I grew up in a similar way, rushing from ballet to karate, and often switching outfits in the car. Today,  my daughter dons her bathing suit under her golf attire, so we can save time and make it to both activities. While it is simple to shower and change at Club Stretc or at the golf club, I sometimes resort to changing, like Wonder Woman, from street clothes to evening wear at the Emirates Towers restrooms. 

My main priority is to be punctual for school. I despise pushing my kids at the last minute through the school gate. Instead, we have our morning traditions, which starts with a very early rise, a rapid breakfast and getting to school as early as possible. My older ones mingle with the early birds and I sit on the wall with my youngest, watching the latecomers rushing to park their cars.

Recently however, my husband complained about my tardiness to some art events, claiming that I overschedule myself with bikram classes or my son's swim practice. While he is right, he forgets that sometimes even Wonder Woman can have a lapse and not arrive just on time for everything....

April 21, 2011

My Art Hangover

I never attend jewelry auctions even though  I should have been prepared for them after the summer I interned with Francois Curiel at Chrisitie's Geneva. On the other hand, I try not to miss any of the Middle Eastern Art auctions that occur in Dubai, whether at Bonham's or Chrisitie's.

I enjoy attending these auctions for obvious reasons, but also because I am interested from a price fluctuation and market study perspective. However, it all starts and ends with my appreciation for art. At Bonhams, I believe you can find a better bargain because fewer people attend. However, it is at Christie's where the magic occurs.

The Chrisitie's team has the talent of currating an ensemble of modern and contemporary works, the majority of which stand out in their originality and their quality, two reasons to purchase art. The role of Christie's, much like that of Canvas magazine, is a king maker. Collectors and art dealers will mention that their artists made it to an auction at Christie's or Canvas Magazine. Many emerging artists thus attain acclaim when the hammer decides on the material value of their art.

I try to view the works several times before the actual auction begins, because I recognize the occasion to admire a collection as a whole, and enjoy strolling by such beautiful pieces that will be sold and will enter private collections, or perhaps even the future museums of the Middle East and in some rare cases of the world.

Once the auction gets started, the Dubai Chrisities' sales are always a show. The talented auctioneer, like a torrero, looms over a crowd that appears desirous to show off, trade and acquire. Before the crisis, the ballroom at Emirates Towers was like the trading floor at Wall Street but the craze has subsisded now. Yet prices do rise and sometimes tenfold. My father sits next to me and whispers: "it's as if they are selling Tulips" referring to the Ottomans' willingness to pay fortunes in order to acquire the unique black tulip.

We have witnessed the rise and popularity of Middle Eastern Art, first amongst its own community, with Iran at its heart and the now growing popularity of Lebanese, Palestinian, Syrian, Iraqi, Egyptian, North African and recently Turkish and Saudi art pieces breaking records. I sit in the auction room and observe.

The idea of Middle Eastern art becoming a reality rather than a temporary phase/trend, came to me while I attended the most recent Bonhams Middle Eastern photography and Orientalism sale. The idea of marrying the two crowds of enthusiasts that would otherwise never meet was revealing. I would never have set foot in an Orientalist sale, and here I was confronted with the images I disliked while I sat  waiting for the photography part of the sale.

In the end, how different are these two movements? Is the representation of the East more real because it is painted by a "native" artist, or through his/her photographic lens? Those who buy Middle Eastern art today seek the exotic, believing they are acquiring a reality. But the audience for Middle Eastern artists is smitten by these images, in the same way the Orientalist audience remains transfixed by the Western eye on the Orient.

I tried my luck at the Chrisitie's sale, started at the lowest bid, edging upwards slowly, careful to stop at the right time and one of the paintings became mine. I fell in love with it.

It was the morning after that I woke up with an art-hangover, remembering the craze of the previous night and the commitment I had made to invest in a fine piece of art...from the Middle East.

April 20, 2011

Once in a Full Moon

Apres la pluie le beau temps" is an expression my whole family is familiar with, whether old or young, francophone or not, and it means "after the rain,  comes the good weather". it is an expression of optimism....

On Sunday April 10, my son and I, and as a friend of mine has said, "there aren't too many mother and son teams" like us, played the Masters Par3 course tournament, on the same day as it was being played in the USA. Our event was unfortunately rained out and I left the game 7 holes later with a terrible score. On the other hand, my son played his best ever, his spirits lifted by a birdie!

The tournament was pushed another week and I set everything aside, bikram yoga and Chritie's Art auction preview, to improve my game on Sunday April 18. It was a splendid full moon Spring evening in Dubai. The weather had improved dramatically after all the rain. I was even wearing a sweater.

The golf course was flood lit, and in the background one could see the illuminated sails of the Creek club and even further in the distance, the skyline of Shaikh Zayed Road and the majestic Burj Khalifa, shimmered with a thousand lights for an event that ended in distracting fireworks. The greens had been shaved to a slippery velvet. The holes were positioned at the trickiest places, as dictated by the principles of the Masters tournament.

We both played our best, motivated as I was to collect memories rather than lower points. After our game, at the second gun-shot, we followed our golf coaches who happened to play the same course for fun. I have always compared them to the wizard-teachers of Harry Potter. Watching them play was just a step away from "pursuing" Tiger Woods at the Dubai Desert Classic.

April 19, 2011

Our Old Kitchen

I grew up in a ranch style villa in Jumeirah. It was of English colonial architecture and resembled those built in Kenya and in India. It was situated a few blocks away from the zoo, a short distance from the American School. My parents moved out of this house close to twenty years ago, but it still stands, surviving in an everchanging neighborhood.

The quaintest space in the house was its kitchen,  although it was tucked in the back, the only natural light that coming through a rectangular window high above the sink and stove area. My mother managed to fit a long  kitchen table against one of its walls, in a narrow hallway between the pantry and the main part of the kitchen. Two chairs were at the head of the table, and two stools hid beneath it, unless they were being used. The kitchen table deserves its moniker because it is an ugly old thing, nothing like the yuppy wooden tables sold today at Pottery Barns. It was therefore covered in a plastic table cloth, so that it could be easily wiped. The table has lasted to this day, serving now as  my own children's ugly kitchen table in our Twenty-First Century apartment. I have also covered it in a plastic table cloth, reminiscent of utilitarian seventies habits. Some things cannot be corrected, dear Franzen!

Many family moments have been immortalized in the old kitchen. They began at 630 on schooldays, my mother braiding her two daughters' hair, while we ate our soggy bran-cereal (no sugar coated cereals for us), our muhalabiya (Lebanese milk pudding) or if  we were very lucky our moghleh (cinnamon pudding offered my mother or a close relative delivered a baby). We always welcomed the delicious labneh-zaatar combination.

These meals were  amongst siblings only.  Our parents would sit in the dining room right beside us, and have a more civilized discussion. Today I can relate to them needing some quiet moments in their busy days with four children. Sometimes a cousin squeazed in beside us or a school friend, who sat dazzled by our customs. My parents went along with the vitamin-C craze and therefore our meals always began with peeled and cut oranges, because they  believed vitamin-C was better digested on an empty stomach. Lunch usually consisted of a healthy Lebanese/Iranian stew or a curry and rice.  I cannot omit the daily portion of tabbouleh my sister scorned till the day my mom left her in the backyard in the sweltering heat until she agreed to take a bite.

Another tactic our parents used to make sure we finished our food, was to hang pictures of starving Ethiopian and Biafran children on the tiled  kitchen wall, reminding us of how lucky we were to have food on our plates, even if it was salad, or soggy cereal. Luckily we could divert our gaze to the Muppet Show calendar, which we had also hung up month by month as they expired.

Dinners were always controversial  for the girls, when we returned from our karate  or ballet sessions The girls, after they'd reached the age of 12, were put on a strict diet of fruit,  while the our two brothers devoured delicious grilled triangular sandwiches of cheddar cheese in Arabic bread.  I was often able to manipulate them, as their eldest sister, enough to get a bite from each of their grilled cheese sandwiches.

On Friday mornings, our parents had kindly requested we let them sleep in a bit longer than on weekdays, so as the eldest sister, I would lead my younger siblings into the kitchen, close the door behind us, and look for the crayon box in the pantry where my father's wooden rackets and our steel lunchboxes were stored. We quietly drew and colored on the  clean back of used paper, my mother being one of the first true environmentalists in Dubai! The better drawings would then find their place on the kitchen wall, beside Miss Piggy, Kermit the Frog and the starving kid. Our father would then make us delicious pancakes as a reward for being quiet and considerate toward them.

I remember once spending an entire night in the kitchen once. I began reading La Petite Fadette by George Sand and finished it in a single night, sitting at the kitchen table.  I remember closing the book at the end and crying, perhaps out of exhaustion.

These memories of our old kitchen came back to me, when my mother gifted my daughter with the Lady Diana and Prince Charles Wedding Commemoration mug that I used to drink my powdered Nido milk in. Two decades later, I will get her the Kate and William Commemoration mug.

April 18, 2011


For about a ten year period, various dorm rooms constituted my home.  My first experience away from home was when I went to summer camp in Vermont and bunked in a tiny cabin with four girls. French girls, my cousin, a friend and future penpal from Tahiti, and a Canadian synchronized swimmer all shared a cabin with me for two different summers.

When I left for boarding school, in Geneva, I was completely stunned by my own homesickness, at age 14.  I was coupled with a Spanish girl who happened to be two years my junior and who didn't speak a word of English or French. Her name was Rosario and I could barely communicate with her because of my very weak spanish skills. I wasn't the most agreable of roommates either, busy as I was adjusting to my new life, attempting to fit in,  in a new school and country. What I did learn to say in Spanish was "apaga la luz", which means "turn the lights off."

I remained a boarder for two more years. By then, I had grown accustomed to homesickness, that acking feeling that never really dissipated with time, and I eventually earned  my own privacy with a room of my own. I have always been the solitary type, and I savored the space and time alone to dwell on my academics, books and reveries.

When I went to Smith College, as a Freshman, I couldn't avoid the roommate situation once again. Sony came from Nepal, a nationality I had never encountered before, even in Dubai. Katmandu literally sounded like the other end of the world to me. I did learn that her culture was very similar to India's. We never became true friends as I never sought to befriend roommates, and similarly never chose to room with a friend when given the opportunity. Once again, living with a total stranger, I struggled to adapt to a new system, a different homesickness settling in, with the sudden dread of being in an all-women's institution.

One lesson I will share with my children when they reach that stage, is to  always maintain a certain type of formality with roommates and to never start fights. In college, it was really up to the two of us to create comfortable situations for each of us, and set our personal rules of cohabitation. Having a roommate is almost like entering into an arranged marriage, only luckily for me, this cohabitation was purely  for academic purposes and lasted only a short amount of time!

April 17, 2011


The red pen is a  then national symbol for a French teacher's absolute power. These teachers have a specific way of correcting exams, essays and even homework. With a simple strike of their red pen, a comment in the margin followed by a conclusive grade, the teacher can make or break you. While American teachers have the monopoly on the word "good job!" and use star stickers,  French teachers have specific expressions like "bacle" which is an expression for work done too quickly without paying attention, or "hors sujet", while correcting essays, which means the essay has nothing to do with the subject matter. Haven't they ever heard of stream of consciousness?

I believe corrections, especially caring ones, that come midway between dramatic American leniency and extreme French criticism, are the most important pedagogical ingredient. I can still picture my own French teachers looming over our heads to correct our spelling tests, our blue fountain pen ink not yet dry on the paper.  I remember them distributing the corrected maths exams in order of descending grades. Oh those red marked commentaries!

When my son brings back copies filled with red Xs and multiple comments, I review them with him. It is very important to incorporate corrections. I apply this rule to more entertaining activities like golf or yoga.

My golf coaches are CONSTANTLY correcting me. Every input is welcome and every correction is appreciated. The correction makes sense. I try to memorize it, save it in my repertoire of movements, tell my son about it. Corrections bring about "golf talk"!

There also hasn't been a pilates class without endless corrections. The exercises aren't new, but the approach to them can always vary.  Anyone who attends bikram yoga knows that you must "lock your knees". I have attended one class at a time, locking, locking, locking! But what does "locking" mean? Locking for one person entails a different range of movement for another. A bit like locking and double locking a door. I promise myself  before each class, that I will integrate the knee variation, the "knee correction".

Mentioning corrections without citing the book Corrections by Jonathan Franzen would make this blog post incomplete. His corrections were to innate, inherited flaws. Those of children who refuse to fit genetic patterns. They will do things differently from their parents and learn from past mistakes.

In general, highlighting mistakes, ie correcting them, is the only road to unattainable perfection, whethe in golf, pilates, bikram yoga, or eventually what all these French teachers prepare us for our entire scholastic education, the French baccalaureate.

Golf or the Beach?

I had wanted to join the debate club at college but found out it entailed travel as did swim team so I refrained based on the fact that I would rather study instead. At the debate club we could have discussed the advantages of weekends at golf versus the beach.

It seems my family has chosen golf over the beach without hesitation. Perhaps I am to blame, as my husband doesn't play. We abandon him and the youngest and spend at least 3 hours a week there as a trio: my eldest kids and I. Golf widowers the other two have become!

The concept of kindergarten golf is new to me because I wasn't so involved with my first child at that level as I am with the second. I used to just drop the first child to class once a week, while the second child has the advantage of playing with me every single week after class. We play the par 3 course together, both for her and my benefit.

Therefore instead of building sand castles and floating on the waves, we select our clubs, take our pink balls and head for the first hole. It is the best bonding time for a middle child and her mom. But considering that my daughter is stuck between two boys, she is very fiesty. She also is a very intense and determined six year old. She knows what to do, she sometimes gets frustrated and she vents. I ignore most of her temper tantrums. Golf calms her and we end up having a perfect time.

The temperatures are rising in Dubai and we will put our clubs away very soon till next October. Now I think its time to hit the beach!

April 14, 2011

Of War and Art

Friends are often confounded by my desire to collect art related to war.

When I read Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls", I skimmed over the war scenes, unable to lose myself in the intricacies of military strategy, soldier's destiny and despair. Similarly, while I do enjoy viewing movies a la Oliver Stone, I do notice my attention wandering during the war scenes. But art depicting war moves me in a different way.

You can find a wall in my son's room with artistic representations of war, specifically war in Lebanon and Palestine. There is a photograph on canvas of the Saint George Hotel, in rubbles as it currently stands. The artist has taken colorful thread and sown the rubbles together in an attempt to "fix things". There is a photograph by Fouad Khoury of news footage of bombings in Beyrouth of the 80s. There is a collage by Jeffar Khalidi where he has cut the dancing TelAviv youth and put them on the steps of the Dome of the Rock. War has always inspired art. Think of Picasso's Guernica. Also, Andre Malraux, the French writer-philosopher, explained the human condition through war. At age 17, I was still too young to understand his concepts although I studied them in class.

I would be thrilled to  to own Mouna Hatoum's crystal grenades and her sculpture of toy soldiers in line the shape of the mathematical infinity sign. Ayman Baalbaki's collapsing buildings, with splattered paint a la Jackson Pollock on a flowered table cloth, are very strong expressions of a war affected artist.

By reporting on the revolutions shaking up the Arab world, journalists are heralding the beginning of an artisitc wave. 2011 will be the year of political awareness for my eldest the same way that 1979 (the Iranian Revolution) and 1982 (Israel's invasion of Lebanon) were eye opening years for me.

These Arab revolutions will inspire art, beyond the commissioned art that is appearing in art fairs already, more like the well digested, obsessive interpretation of it, as expressed by Lebanese artists thirty years after their civil war.

I just finished reading the article entitled "After the Uprising" by Dexter Filkins (New Yorker April 11, 2011). I paid special attention to the military/war lexicon as an example: "a warlord's lair ....surrounded by twenty-foot-high sandstone walls and a hundred men with guns." The word lair was perfectly chosen, the details of height and material of the wall and "hundred men with guns" like toy soldiers. But he called them "men", not soldiers. Civil wars are not fought by soldiers.

The events of today will make the literature of tomorrow. Indeed, war is such a strong artistic theme.