On a Remote Farm: Geagea Milks the Cows, Aoun Helps and Bashar Watches
Lebanese leaders Samir Geagea and Michel Aoun may be at each other's
throats politically, but their namesakes in the
like a house on fire.
Chirac, Lahoud and even Bashar after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Now another baby is on the way, and
of a new Lebanese president so he can give that name to the child if it
is a boy.
Each child's birth has coincided with a major political event.
"Aoun was born in 1990 at the end of the civil war and general Aoun was
a hero," said 48-year-old
A visit by Jacques Chirac to
after the former French president, who does not remotely resemble the
gap-toothed olive-skinned boy.
former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri whose assassination prompted this
devoted loyalist to name a daughter "Irhab." The word means terrorist
"My wife gave birth 10 days after the assassination. If it had been a
boy I would have called him Hariri."
"terrorism" even though it may raise the ire of feminists and women'
"I want everyone to ask her what her name means when she grows up, so
she can tell them about dear Hariri," he said of the anti-Syrian
Of his sons, Lahoud -- named after the incumbent pro-Syrian president
Emile Lahoud -- is teased most at school.
According to his sister Waad, the eldest child who cares for her
siblings when their parents are working on the farm, Lahoud came home
one day from school and was crying.
When she asked him what was wrong, he replied: "Everybody tells me my
days are numbered. Why is something bad happening to me?"
As Waad tells the story, Geagea goes off to milk the cows in the barn
and Aoun who is two years older goes to help him by holding the pump.
Little Bashar hides behind a milk churn, and shyly looks on.
Aoun says he wants to follow in the general's footsteps and join the
army or the police, while Geagea -- who is the best student among them
all -- wants to become a fighter pilot.
With another baby due soon, the
arrival after the next president.
But the politically divided country has been unable to choose a new
head of state because of disagreements between the anti-Syrian majority
and the Hezbollah-led opposition.
If the new arrival is a girl, therefore, she will be called "Salam"
which means peace in Arabic.
God wants" and say they will continue naming them after politicians.
With a Chirac and an Assad already in the family, another "foreigner"
being accepted into the fold cannot be ruled out.
But asked whether they would name any new children after US President
George W. Bush or his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, both
shake their heads emphatically and shout "la, la!" -- 'no!' in Arabic.
"Only after the French, because they really like us," decides Mazyad