The Okab Sakr Show: A Lesson in Hysteria

He did manage everything else: dancing, insulting, dissembling, and twisting the arm of the truth. (Photo: Marwan Tahtah)

By: Pierre Abisaab

Published Saturday, December 8, 2012

“We’re going to keep on laughing for another ten years...or twenty years.” The number, then, is approximate.

Off-the-cuff comments can often say it all. In the time of weeping and lamentation, of displacement and fear, Okab Sakr, the former journalist and current representative of the people in parliament, promises us a long laugh.

Sakr wasn’t actually laughing during his Thursday, 6 December 2012 press conference. He couldn’t quite manage it despite his efforts to control his contorted facial muscles, but he did manage everything else: dancing, insulting, dissembling, and twisting the arm of the truth.

Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir can now go back to his mosque and rest assured. MP Sakr has broken his silence, putting all the “eunuchs” in their place, after several days of hesitation and confusion.

But hang on, that was a tactic, you fools! He did it to “trap” his stupid opponents like you. (You crafty devil, Okab, you’re no pushover.) This is a new tradition to be established in democratic life after “the revolution.” From now on, dear citizens, you must use your critical faculties to distinguish between fake and true statements. Okab, who “supports the Syrian revolution for Lebanon’s sake,” finally decided to prove his innocence, integrity, patriotism, and masculinity to the public. He unmasked the evil-doers – the chief sorcerer, the false cross-bearer, and all the other conspirators who’ve been trying to tarnish the reputation of the good soldier, while hatching bloody plots against him.

This was a Gothic drama, so to speak, starring the laughing MP from his Turkish exile. He duped his enemies – “the deceivers, fools, ignorants, and murderers” – whose pathetic ploys he so easily exposed. He triumphed over them. “We’re finished with them,” he said. That’s a fact. Didn’t you hear the “full recordings”?

Sheikh Saad Hariri doesn’t want to know anything about arms and ammunition, only “humanitarian“ aid. Syria, incidentally, has been inundated with humanitarian aid. Our national hero couldn’t sleep a wink until Abu-Ibrahim’s visitors had returned to their families. So, it was blankets-for-hostages. And send my regards to Abu-Numan. The forces of evil tried to misrepresent his humanitarian struggle, but now the truth is out. Didn’t you hear the “full recordings”?

Only now could he eulogize Wissam al-Hassan. Truth has triumphed over lies, and the rest doesn’t matter. The grieving can wait. Victories are on their way, and also difficult decisions. So, let’s laugh for ten or twenty years.

But if the handsome young man is triumphant, why all this hysteria? It was a medium-sized room with only a few journalists present, and the sound engineer sent by al-Jadeed TV was excellent. So why did he need to yell like that? It was like Charlie Chaplin parodying Hitler in The Great Dictator. Why does he dance around and keep lifting up his right forefinger before twisting his arm down in a distinctly Sufi-like turn? Could it be Mawlawi influence picked up during his Turkish exile? Why the repetitive rhythmic shouting of insults and abuse, rising in tone until reaching nirvana? What is making Okab so angry? How can he be angry and happy at the same time?

His excellency the MP cares only for Lebanon, and he – “me and Saad” – could be its final barrier against strife, as every accurate observer of the scene knows. He cares only for the Lebanese hostages and only wants to bring happiness to the Syrian people, and sends them blankets, groceries, and milk.

After Thursday’s press conference, we all know this. He is repaying the Syrian people for sheltering Lebanese during the July 2006 war. A patriotic stance which comes as no surprise to anyone. Soldier Shweik has nothing on him. Shweik, the good, loyal, and brave soldier who embodies folk wisdom and overcomes all troubles despite his naïveté and good nature. And Okab, for those who know him, loves “the resistance” and hates Israel. Whoever said otherwise?

Philanthropists do not usually boast about their good deeds. But our Mother Teresa was forced to emerge from the shadows in defense of his honor and dignity: Mr. Okab an arms dealer? Perish the thought! Did you really believe those “Syrian puppets”? Okab has a taste for puppet theater. In Turkey, he rediscovered shadow puppetry. Now we know why the marionettes we watched as children danced about like that.

Okab is skilled at acting for broadcast, but the problem is with the script, the production, and the blunderous outtakes. Okab’s Arabic is good too. So his nerves must be blamed for the fact that he had to correct his grammar a few times, sometimes replacing a correct word with a wrong one. The brave and manly soldier has a guilty linguistic conscience. Aware in advance of his guilt, he constantly feared slip-ups, and so he made them.

Finally, Mr. Okab respects the independence of the judiciary. He did not contact his friend the public appeals prosecutor when it was decided to take legal action against him. But now he will take legal action against everyone, plus “the entire Internet.”

Okab also respects his former colleagues in the journalistic profession – except for the “mercenaries” among them, those with “no honor,” and al-Jadeed journalist Firas Hatoum. Just a moment, could you repeat that Mr. Okab, “mercenaries with no honor”? Ok, got it.

He equally respects those who take a different view of his account. “Whoever is not convinced is either a criminal or a donkey.” But not you, Mr. Firas!

Okab has great esteem for the public and holds their opinions in high regard, as evidenced by everything he has said or done in recent years. His only problem is that those “fools” believe.

But where did he come up with the stuff about Judas Iscariot, and those Shia religious texts all at once? Why did he invoke Ibn al-Rumi, and what was the point of bringing Bin-Harb into it? Many secrets remain to be revealed in the days to come. Didn’t Martin Luther Sakr warn you? Beware of being neutral in “great moral battles.”

Pierre Abisaab is Vice-Editor of Al-Akhbar.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

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