June 19, 2011

Cedars of Lebanon by U2

"The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon." (Psalm 92:12)

I know it is almost 2 years since U2 announced their latest Album ,"No Line on the Horizon",  including the hits : "Magnificent, I ' ll go crazy if I dont go crazy tonight" ... But there was a song that caught my attention back then in 2009: " Cedars of Lebanon".. I have been procrastinating since then to blog about it. I think it is never too late to blog about it, especially after I heard Lady Gaga's song saying something that even if you are Lebanese its ok  because you are born this way! " 

And,  I am not posting this out of nationalism or fanaticism, about the Cedars of Lebanon, Lebanese heritage or  what Lebanon has offered to the world .
I am just wondering how a song like "Cedars of Lebanon" and Born this way" talk about Lebanon. Gaga mentions a line only in her song, while U2 wrote a whole song about "Lebanon", or atleast of a  “Lebanese experience” by a foreigner.

The song talks about a journalist’s thoughts in Lebanon who is reporting a 
war or some event but he couldn't find ideas ("Spent the night trying to make a deadline .Squeezing complicated lives into a simple headline"), then he tries to remember his GF/love/wife back at home through a Polaroid picture, but even the memories of her or of them together were faint.

 And it seems that their relationship  is a bit complicated , she thinks he is in Lebanon to find the truth , but he says that he is in Lebanon because he doesn’t want to come back home. 
 So, the song somehow is like a Ballad, sad , full of pain, agony and memories of a love.

 He goes on describing the setting which is definitely not in Beirut or a Lebanese city but rather in a rural area and muslim area ( he mentions Minarette)  and    
"Child drinking dirty water from the river bank
Soldier brings oranges he got out from a tank
I'm waiting on the waiter, he's taking a while to come
Watching the sun go down on Lebanon

After that, he got his inspiration (I've got a head like a lit cigarette), he goes on with an interesting questioning : Where are you in the Cedars of Lebanon?” . 

And finally, he reached an interesting idea for his news article:
"Choose your enemies carefully cause they will define you.
 Make them interesting cos in some ways they will mind you
They're not there in the beginning but when your story ends.. 
Gonna last with you longer than your friend

I think the ending describes the story of Lebanon.  Since 30 years Lebanese people have been choosing the wrong enemies, themselves. Fighting each other was the war. Perhaps U2 meant the civil war in this song.    

The part that I still dont understand till now is The worst of us are a long drawn out confession ..The best of us are geniuses of compression"!! Any ideas??

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