My brother is the sole witness to our suffering when my uncle used to turn up the radio to Fairouz* as he drove us to school at a speed of 20 km/hr. For an entire year, my uncle – God bless his soul because he’s truly one respectable man – would call us early in the morning to make sure we were up and ready so to take us to school. We would hop into a tiny, green Opel and go pick up my aunt and her youngest child (at the time). We would drop the kid at daycare, my aunt at school, and we were the second-to-last to go. All the while, my uncle would play Fairouz and hum her songs. My brother and I would look at each other and roll our eyes. What stupid music, we’d be thinking. It did not fit our little-kid taste, and the main problem was that it was too catchy. For some reason, the tunes would be playing in my head at school.
That was around thirteen years ago.
Now, as I ride the service taxi to my university, Fairouz’s music seems to be on reply (except for the past few weeks with nationalistic songs and verses of the Quran playing due to ongoing recent events of struggle and ongoing violence in Palestine). I have to say, though, I think I have grown to like Fairouz. Her songs are still catchy, and I’d like to think that I have gained the listening skills to appreciate her music as most people, including my uncle, do.
However, this time in the taxi, neither Fairouz nor nationalistic songs were playing. Instead, it was just music…music with birds chirping…the kind of music you’d probably hear in a massage room at a Spa center (or before a wedding in the famous wedding hall where I currently live). I had just closed my eyes to listen attentively and relax when something interestingly weird happened.
The music stopped, and all of a sudden a man started speaking in a documentary kind of voice. He was talking about the galaxy and the planets (which planets, I do not know because their names are rather confusing in Arabic). Then, a woman came on introducing the next caller. The next caller wanted to know what her son’s horoscope was and what it meant. The man came back on and started speaking about which planets aligned to which this month and her son’s sign was a Gemini…or something. He was not going to have any marital problems because he was going to marry a rich woman with a high rank in social class.
I looked around me to see if anyone else had the “Are these people for real?” look on their faces, but everyone was indifferent. The man with the documentary-ish voice went away and nationalistic music started playing.
Radio channels have a lot to say when Fairouz isn’t singing.
*Fairouz is a Lebanese singer that’s usually playing on the radios early in the morning. Don’t miss it.