A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

no parking, under penalty of responsibility

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on June 9, 2007

In addition to M’s piece on boutiquing Lebanon through arak, yesterday’s Daily Star also had a news feature on new requirements for parked cars in the towns of the Chouf mountains.

CHOUF: Some municipalities in the Chouf are now requiring motorists to display automobile ID cards on their windshields in an attempt to prevent explosions like the ones that have recently plagued several parts of Lebanon. After surveying the numbers and makes of vehicles regularly present in the area over the past three weeks, the municipalities have distributed about 17,000 yellow ID cards – bar-coded to make forgery more difficult – to the owners.

“Our primary focus was to survey cars in … commercial areas because these areas constitute easy targets,” a new joint committee for the distribution of the car IDs said in a statement released on Thursday.

The joint committee added the Internal Security Forces will be “immediately” notified if an unregistered or suspicious vehicle is detected.

Municipality workers have spread through the streets of various Chouf communities to notify residents of the obligation to acquire the new card, which includes the name and address of the owner, as well as the make of the car …

These new regulations come after reports of similar initiatives in Gemmayzeh, where restaurant and bar owners have banded together to strengthen security in the neighborhood, hiring private security and asking drivers to leave their names and mobile numbers on the dashboard of their cars when they park.

The difference between the ID initiatives in Gemmayzeh and the Chouf is the level of municipal involvement – in the first case, the ID is a civil society request, while in the second, it is a municipal requirement.

A little over a week ago, I noticed signs with a similar message posted on the outer walls of Sanayeh Garden, the city’s main (only, really) public park. I wasn’t sure whether they were official notices or merely the work of some group of local residents – official notices can look suspiciously like they were printed from someone’s home office, but they usually say “Interior Ministry” or “General Security” under the main text.

Yesterday I went back to Sanayeh and photographed the notice, some copies of which appear to have been the recipients of “editorial commentaries” by passersby.

As I looked more closely at the text of the notice, I noticed a curious wording.

It is forbidden to park without an identity card, say the first two lines.

Under penalty of seizure and responsibility, say the second.

Responsibility? I thought to myself. How does that work, exactly?

It doesn’t. Although I first suspected that “responsibility” was a typo, and that مساءلۃ, which means “questioning” or “interrogation”, was meant instead, I have happily been set straight by a native speaker.

The problem is one of awkward phrasing. The notice is trying to express two related ideas: 1), that drivers assume full responsibility; and 2) that cars without identification are subject to seizure.

Rather than ta7t 6a2ila al-7ajez, the notice should have read: ta7t 6a2ila al-mas2ouliyya wa 7ajez al-siyyara.


One Response to “no parking, under penalty of responsibility”

  1. intlxpatr said


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