Portrait: John-Rabih

Sometimes, when John-Rabih looks at himself in the mirror, he can’t help but feel a twinge of pride. Such charisma! Such good looks! Such composure, posture, class! 

John-Rabih is a “social-entrepreneur” you see, something very akin to a regular entrepreneur, except that a social twist gives it a revolutionary cachet that’s proving to be very trendy and marketable. John-Rabih never leaves his house before making sure he’s wearing his uniform (shabby chic, if you must know): frayed jeans that look old except they’ve cost an absolute bomb, slim fitted shirt and vintage sneakers. Fashionable yet approachable. All in all, quite a good look for a “social entrepreneur”. 

John-Rabih has tried to be a little more discreet these days, as some people, no doubt ill-informed, have started talking about his possible affiliations with the CIA and the likes. Him! How dare they! Just because he’s received ALL his funding from USAID, and funding, really, it was merely 2 million USD, nothing to cry about, and then, pfffft, people start whispering behind his D-Squared back. I tell you, Beirut can be so hard sometimes. 

No, of course not, John-Rabih isn’t an imperialist of any kind, he just wants to peacefully make a living while developing his beautiful country Lebanon, and that’s that. 

Truth is, no one really knows where John-Rabih came from. What he says is that his Dad is American (hence the John) and his mother is Lebanese (hence the Rabih). No one knows him from before the day he decided he wanted to go and live in now trendy Lebanon (I mean, he couldn’t really come in the 90’s now could he? All this mess and this rumble and this stinking post-war stench, what good would have come out of it? Lebanon couldn’t be associated with at that time), and all of a sudden, there he comes, friends with everyone, heading a blossoming social business (whatever that means), acquainted with every grant officer this city has to offer. 

While it might have been a tad suspicious, John-Rabih resents the accusations that are being held against him. I mean, what do people make of all these pseudo AUB summer students who cram the rooms of the Middle Eastern politics class, those Jurgen and Françoise and Sven and Chad? Uh? And the ones who suddenly became French or US citizens while doing their PhDs on Hezbollah? And those random foreign people navigating Hamra for months, without any real job or occupation in Lebanon?

What? People know they have ties with their home countries secret services and intelligence too? Really? And they laugh at them too? 

John-Rabih should really tell the Agency to update those briefing notes.

Lebanese aren’t stupid after all. 

For Abzzyy and Lebanonesia, with gratitude for the laughs

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