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Syria: Lebanese Border and Toilet Etiquette

The worsening of conditions of Syrian workers and families at the Lebanese-Syrian border, calls for the return of the Golan Heights occupied by Israel to Syria, the Czech machine gun and toilet etiquette are some of the themes discussed by Syrian bloggers in this week's round up.

To start of, Golaniya from Decentering Damascus, continues her coverage of her experiences on the Syrian-Lebanese borders, and the worsening conditions of Syrian workers passing there.

Since it was so crowded inside, the hardworking Lebanese officers started to feel hot and annoyed at the yells of children:
– All those who are with children get out!
Get out where exactly? To the waiting hall?? Or under the Summer sun For hours?

After that, I saw three Lebanese officers dragging by force the Syrian workers from the lines and throwing them outside.
One of workers screamed:
– I have been waiting on this line since 1 o’clock.
It was five o’clock the time when he was dragged outside.

Sasa from The Syria News Wire reports about pro-Syria campaigns in the Syrian Golan Heights (occupied by Israel since 1967).

A summer camp has opened in the area of the Syrian Golan Heights which is currently controlled by the Israeli Army.

Chanting pro-Syrian slogans, they are calling on the Israeli government to hand their land back to Syria.

On a lighter note, Ayman from The Damascene Blog writes about a familiar experience to all Syrian students. His final oral exam on The Military Education class, about the “Czech Machine gun”…

ما هذا؟
– لا أعرف.
– حسناً. ماذا هذه؟
– ….
– طيّب ما وظيفتها؟
– لا أعرف.
– لا بد أنك تعرف هذا إذن.
– بصراحة لا
فرغ صبره فأمسك بمخزن الطلقات ورفعه في وجهي
– اسمع. هذا هو المخزن. سأسألك عن اسمه، فإن لم تعرف سترسب في الامتحان.
– حاضر.
– ما هذا؟
– المخزن.
– انصرف. وراء دُر.

- What is this?
– I don't know.
– Okay, what is this?
– …
– Okay, what does it do?
– I don't know.
– You must know this one then?
– Honestly, no.
He got impatient, held up the gun's bullet clip against my face.
– Listen, this is the bullet clip. I will ask you what is it, if you don't answer you'll fail the exam.
– Yes sir.
– What is this?
– The bullet clip.
– You may leave now.

To close off with an interesting dilemma that Wassim brings up, how do you explain to westerners our habit of “washing” yourself after using the toilette, the inevitable question of “Why do you have a jug/bottle in the bathroom?” keeps coming up.

The subsequent shock and horror they express when later they are told seems to me incredible but surely it's more hygienic or am I just being culturally obstinate? I've only brought this up because it seems to be something many of my friends seem to encounter when first they visit Western countries. I hear from African and Asian friends that Tashteef (to splash) is also the norm. Why do most people I meet in Europe and America refuse to even consider the concept? Living in a country where the toilet and bodily functions are considered suitable topics for jokes the uneasiness and avoidance of the topic is baffling to say the least!

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