BEIRUT: The announcement that the United Arab Emirates was starting its own space agency has sparked a bit of fancy about the possibilities for Arab life in space.
Well-known Lebanese Karl Sharro, better known by his Twitter handle Karl reMarks, dredged up an old post where he imagined the results of a Lebanese colonization of the moon.
Making the rounds of Twitter and Facebook Thursday, Sharro's visualization takes a look at what Lebanese would do on the moon: basically a mini Lebanon would emerge with its pros, cons and a falafel shop.
"Oxygen generator fees when state-provided oxygen is cut off: $50/month. 77544203," reads a sign over a space home plastered with the ubiquitous posters of Nasrallah, Aoun and Berri.
Of course, politics and religion wouldn't be the only export: A poster of Haifa Wehbi with a pink background is seen on yet another dome-shaped space house next to former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Just a low-gravity skip away, a replica of Al-Amin Mosque is seen from the distance, located next to the famous Lady of Lebanon statue placed on top of an extra-terrestrial rock.
“I imagined what the possibilities would be if Lebanese colonized the moon. What would be distinctly Lebanese,” Sharro, a London-based architect, told The Daily Star. “Even if we made it to the moon, we would have oxygen rationing.”
Although the image’s accuracy in portraying Lebanese culture could trigger some despair – that if we ever get to the moon, this is exactly what we do to it – Sharro remains an optimist.
“I don’t think it’s depressing. On the contrary, I love Lebanon. This is what we are and this is our way of life,” he said. “Some people say we have not changed but we did. Just look at women’s status in Lebanon; they have made great achievements without the help of their government.”
“With visual satire, you have to be extreme in imagining things. The characteristics are not accurate and not a true representation of reality. I am not pessimistic, but I am critical.”
There is a soldier standing in the middle of the moon square, resembling almost every square in this country with two women prancing by the military personnel who are most likely acting as a peacekeeper even on the moon.
Two men on a motorcycle heading in the direction of the lone soldier, could they be suicide bombers?
Behind the soldier, Hijazi's Falafel is open and a series of weather-beaten (is there weather on the moon?) pictures of Jamal Abdel-Nasser decorate the billboard of the tiny restaurant.
Oh yes, there is narguileh in Lebanese space.
While Sharro’s flight of fancy may seem unlikely – it’s worth considering, after all, there’s hardly a country the Lebanese diaspora hasn’t settled, why not the moon?