tuque /tūk/ n Canadian English, var. toque [19th c. Canadian French, from the French toque, from the Basque tauka] 1 A close-fitting knitted cap, often with a long tapering end or tassel or pompom. 2 fig Something quintessentially Canadian.
souq /sūk/ n from the Arabic سوق var. souk 1 An open-air marketplace. 2 fig A central meeting place for the circulation of news and ideas.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lebanon votes March 14 on June 7, McFalafel expansion safe

Lebanon's March 14 movement defeated the March 8 movement by six days, er... points, in Sunday's elections, ushering in the country's first ever peaceful transition from status quo ante to status quo.

Somewhere in the shadows, reclusive Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah breathes a sigh of relief. No wait, there he is giving a press conference.

A contrite Sheikh Nasrallah accepted the defeat of his majority Shi'ite party Amal--which is aligned with other parties including that of pro-Syrian Christian general Michel Aoun in a bloc known as the March 8 movement--in the Lebanese parliamentary elections. The combined March 8 bloc took only 57 seats out of 128, a surprisingly low total.

The remaining 71 seats were scooped up by the dozen parties that comprise the March 14 movement led by Saad al-Hariri, son of slain former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, whose bloc is decidedly pro-Western, patently anti-Syrian, and ambivalently pro-McFalafel.

Analysts suggest that the Lebanese swung decisively to March 14 out of fear that Hezbollah would set up an Islamic Republic if victorious. More likely, Hezbollah never really wanted to lead anyhow.

After all, leadership means making decisions, being accountable, forging compromises, and a whole host of other things that lead inevitably to declining poll numbers, restless and implacable constituents, scandal, and finally death by electoral stampede in the next vote.

Why the hell would Hezbollah want that, especially as long as they get to keep all their guns whether they win or lose?

In fact wholly unrelated to the Lebanese elections, the McFalafel is a sandwich first introduced in Egyptian McDonald's restaurants in 2000; it has since spread to McDonald's in Lebanon and Israel.

McFalafel is also the name of a new fast-food joint that opened recently in a Hasty Market convenience store in Toronto's Islington Village. Dundas and Islington is a wee bit far from the Tuque Souq's home, especially since we have Ali Baba's just a block away. Anybody out there try the new McFalafel yet?

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