A funny neighborhood: Bab al-Hara gets Lebanese treatment on Twitter
Abbas al Noury plays one of the characters on the traditional TV series "Bab Al Hara." (Image: Facebook)
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Twitter users gave Syria's famous Bab al-Hara TV soap opera a Lebanese twist Monday, with people making jokes about common national stereotypes they said would creep into the popular Ramadan show if it was set in Beirut rather than Damascus.
Lebanon’s Bab al-Hara - Gate to the Neighborhood - would be "divided into several parties” said one user, while another added that members “would have fought over leadership and destroyed the Hara, because everyone here considers themselves a Zai’m.”
Other tweets poked fun at what they called Lebanese tendency to sow dissent, saying that residents “would have burnt tires every time there was a problem.”
And in the wake of a series of terror blasts that hit the country last week, some were quick to point out that the Lebanese Bab al-Hara would probably not have been spared. “A bomb would have gone off and all actors would die,” said one user bleakly.
The hit series - always released during the holy month of Ramadan - shows traditional Syrian life in Damascus under the French mandate in the 1930s, as various neighborhoods and their chosen elders, or mukhtars, plot clandestine ways of overthrowing their foreign rulers.
The historical drama was widely praised when it premiered during Ramadan in 2006.
A new series was released every Ramadan season to great praise until 2011, when the Syrian crisis interrupted its run. After a long search for an alternative location, with producers considering both Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Beirut, they eventually chose to film between Syria and Lebanon. This year's series, launched on MBC, is its sixth.
The program - starring Abbas al-Nouri, Sabah Jezairi, Ayman Zeidan and others -is renowned for its reflection of the old Syrian way of life, with scenes depicting traditional homes and women doing household chores.
One Twitter user offered a Lebanese version, however, in which “it would have been impossible to see any women cleaning or cooking, it would be done by Filipinos.”
Users also reimagined the language of the show. “The actors would speak in French, English, and broken Arabic,” said one tweet in reference to the Lebanese affinity for juggling three languages in one sentence.