We're featuring a beautiful essay by Rabih Alameddine on our home page this morning. It's about World Cup preparations in Beirut--and really about the primary reasons that we love this game. Here's the first graf:
In early April, silly flags were already flapping all around Beirut. A non-resident would think that dignitaries from the entire United Nations were about to make an appearance, adding a touch of color to our city. According to numerous sources, the flags had sprouted much earlier. As early as January, my sister made sure to tell me. I don’t think any earlier than that, my mother said. People were too busy with Christmas and New Years, and in 2009, Ashura, the Shiite holiday fell at the same time—far too much going on for anyone to concentrate. It was still not 2010, in any case.
Do yourself a favor and read the whole thing.