A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

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

fun with billboards: Aoun returns

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on May 25, 2008

Samir Geagea has given two press conferences in the past 24 hours, making him my new nominee to replace Talal Arslan as Lebanese politician most suited to the description of “pompous, without being dignified”. They both face stiff competition from every other Lebanese politician, though, so I may “award” the position on a revolving basis🙂.

But what Geagea’s mu2tamarayn remind me of is just how much I dislike him. I’ve been a bit anti-opposition during the past two weeks, thanks to the whole rude-teenage-boys-occupying-my neighborhood issue (no, not the SSNP Mobil ones – we had our own set in my area). But two press conferences from Geagea and suddenly I feel a strong need for citrus.

Luckily for me, the FPM’ers have just plastered the Christian suburbs with a series of brilliantly executed, graffiti-style billboards. Your opinion of their message will probably hinge largely on how much you share my affection for short older men with Napoleon complexes🙂, but the design and execution should still elicit (grudging) approval.

(The timing, on the other hand, is grounds for criticism. Could the FPM not have either put the billboards up before Sleiman’s image started to appear all over Metn Christendom, or after his election? As it stands now, many of these billboards look like the General is simply trying to elbow in on a little of Sleiman’s glory, since several of them appear right in the thick of a collection of Sleiman billboards. Napoleon complex, indeed!)

Here are photographs of two of them – one in close-up, so you can read the text, and one taken a bit further away:

I love these billboards. I love the authentic graffiti look they have, and I love the energy with which their words sprawl across the “wall” of their background.

Here’s what they say (and Tarek, resident advertising expert, if I am mis-interpreting this, please correct me!):

The text is two sentences, supposedly written at two different moments. The original is in orange, and its been edited and added to by a second graffiti artist, who writes in black.

The first sentence says: “Aoun is returning” – from his self-imposed exile in Paris, which he did in 2005.

The second sentence says: “Aoun has returned [i.e., brought back] participation to the country” – that he has brought Lebanon’s twenty million different political interests back to the table, ending the country’s political stalemate.

Well – that’s what I thought it said initially, until a committed Aouni told me otherwise. Apparently the black text isn’t about Doha: its about voter participation. The new electoral law evidently ensures that up to 70% of Lebanon’s Christians can now vote for their own representatives, which will encourage them to vote in increasing numbers. The billboard is still about participation, but at the voter level rather than the political party level.

I don’t agree with the idea that he deserves full credit – actually, I don’t agree with the idea of sectarian voting, period, so increasing Christian-on-Christian voting is a step backward as far as I am concerned. But I love these billboards for their textual and visual creativity. They break away from all the overdone, under-thought advertising that litters the highway. Less eye clutter: more Napoleon🙂.

4 Responses to “fun with billboards: Aoun returns”

  1. M. said

    Can’t wait till I’m back in Leb to see all the new billboards🙂

    These billboards are basically a play on all the graffiti aoun fans had up in 2005, which is quite original. Better than all the orange checkmarks they used during the elections🙂

  2. Tarek said

    You hit it on the head… Very good, sadly, they are so good that I will actually have a run at them myself on Beirut/NTSC… TJC

  3. Sako said

    “its about voter participation. The new electoral law evidently ensures that up to 70% of Lebanon’s Christians can now vote for their own representatives, which will encourage them to vote in increasing numbers. The billboard is still about participation, but at the voter level rather than the political party level.”

    In my opinion, getting back the participation means that in the coming elections Christians will be able to vote (just like Muslims) more than 1/3 of the parliament. This enables the Christians to participate just like Muslims in major decisions in the parliament.

    As for getting the participation back at the political party level… I didn’t understand how that can be considered participating since political/electoral alliances change and coming up with an electoral law, taking into consideration the current alliances, will be useless.

  4. Lifetime said

    Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Lifetime!

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