Learn Arabic as it is really spoken. Listen to and read Levantine Colloquial Arabic.

Eman and her friend Leyla have an agreement in place: Veto Power. Eman tells us how it works and why it works for their friendship.

اليوم حابة قولكُن عن حادثة صارت معي أنا و رفيقتي ليلى. السبت الماضي رحنا لنشوف فلم Ghost Busters بالسنما. أنا كنت كتير حابة شوف هالفلم لإنو بحب الممثلة اللي بتعلب دور الشخصية الرئسية. فقلتلها لليلي أنو إزا ما رحنا شفنا هالفلم اليوم أنو رح إحرد بالبيت لإسبوع كامل. طبعا هي ما فرقة معا إزا حردة ولا لا بس المشكلة كانت إنو نحن من وقت ما كنا صغار كنا هيك إزا أنا حبة روح مكان ليلي ما بد تروح، و إزا ليلى حابة تروح مكان أنا ما كان بدي روح. إهتمامتنا كتير بتختلف عن بعضها بس نحن لإنو بنحب بعض صرنا إنفكر كيف بدنا إنحل المشكلة. و طلع معنا هال حل، إنو إزا وحدة منا كتير حابة تروح مكان بتستعمل شي إسمو قوة فيتو. هادا شي بستعملو بالإمم المتحدة. مثلا لو في قرار لازم يصوتو عليه خمس دول، في دول معينة عندا شي إسمو قوة الفيتو. فإزا من هالخمس دول أربعة صوتو “نعم” و دولة وحدة عندا قوة الفيتو صوتت “لا” القرار ما بيمشي مع أنو الإغلبية مع القرار بس لإنو الدولة اللي معا الفيتو صوتت ضض القرار ما بيمشي. فنفس الشي معي أنا و ليلى. إزا وحدة منا حابة تروح مكان لازم تستعمل قوة الفيتو بس بشرط أنو بس بتقدري تستعلمها 3 مرات بالشهر. فلإنو أنا كنت كتير حابة إتفرج علي هالفلم إستعملت أخر قوة الفيتو للشهر تبعي على هالفلم. فليلى ما بقي عندا خيار. شلنا حلنا و رحنا نحضر الفلم و من لهفتنا إنسنا شي كتير مهم هلق بتعرفو شو هو. فتركنا البي بسرعة لنلحق عالفلم لإنو كان وقت عرضو الساعة 5 و كان وقتا الساعة 4 و لبن ما نصل نص ساعة فكنا متلبكين و مستعجلين. المهم وصلنا علي السنما. و صفنا بالدور لنشترى التذاكر. و وصلنا لعند الكاشير و حددنا وين بدنا نعود. وإجنا لندفع وو طلع إنو تناتنا إنسنا الجزضان بالبيت. و صفنا بلا مصاري و ما قدرنا ندفع حق التذاكر. كان موقف محرج و مضحك بنفس الوقت. و أحلى شي أنو الناس اللي بيشتغلو بهادا السنما بيعرفونا منيح فنفضحنا رسمي. و بعدين ليلي ما حكت معي ولا كلمة على طريق الرجعة. بس لما إنزلنا علي البيت و لقينا الجزضان. إطلعت علي ليلي و قلتلي “يلا إمشي بسرعة لنلحق العرض التاني. يعني بعد كل هالشي ليسا إحترمة قوة الفيتو. و لحظة يومتا إنو أنا و ليلي رفقة عمر. مهما صار رح إنتم متتل الإخوة رغم إختلافاتنا. بس لما حضرنا الفلم طلع ما كان بيسوى كل الهل اللبكة. بس مع هيك أنا و ليلى إتسلنا لإنو كنا طالعين مع بعض.

Today I want to tell you about an incident that happened with me and my friend Leyla. Last Saturday we went to watch the film Ghost Busters in the cinema. I really wanted to watch this movie because I love the actress that plays the leading role. So I told Leyla that if we didn’t go to see this movie I would stay upset at home for a week. Of course, she doesn’t care if I got upset or not, but the problem was that ever since we were young we have been like this… if I wanted to go somewhere Leyla didn’t want to go, and if Leyla wanted to go somewhere I didn’t want to go. Our interests are really different from each, but because we love each other, we started thinking of a way to solve this problem. And we came up with this solution: If one of us really wants to go somewhere she gets to use something called the veto power. This is something they use in the United Nations. For example, if there is a motion that five countries have to vote on, there are specific countries that have something called the veto power. So, if four out of those five countries vote “yes” on that motion and one country that has veto power votes “no,” the motion doesn’t pass because the country with the veto power voted against it. So, the same idea applies with me and Leyla. If one of us wants to go somewhere, she has to use the veto power, but there’s a rule that we can only use it 3 times a month. And because I really wanted to watch this movie, I used my last veto power for the month on this movie. So, Leyla didn’t have a choice. We took ourselves and went to watch the movie. And in our rush we forgot something really important. Now, you’ll now what it is. We left the house quickly, so we can catch the movie because its showing time was at 5 p.m. and it was 4 p.m., and to get there we need half an hour, so we were in a hurry. Anyway, we got to the cinema And we were ready to buy the tickets. And we got to the cashier and decided where we were going to sit. It was time to pay, and it turns out that the both of us forgot our wallets at home And were left with no money and couldn’t pay for the tickets. It was both an embarrassing and hilarious situation. The best part was that the people who worked at the cinema know us very well it was an official scandal. After that Leyla didn’t say one word to me on the way home. But when we got home and we found the wallet. Leyla looked at me and said, “Let’s go quickly so we can catch the next showing.” So, after all that, she still respected the veto power. And I noticed that day that Leyla and I are life-long friends. No matter wat happens, we will stay sisters even with our differences. When we actually watched the movie it wasn’t worth everything we went through. But even so, Leyla and I had fun because we were out together.


  1. My god, you’re actually back, I thought that’s it with the Levantine diaries! I’m glad your posting again, you must have been very busy.

    1. Hi Naufal! Sorry for slacking off on the Levantine diaries posts. I will try to be better about posting more frequently! 🙂 I have been very busy indeed… and you’ll be pleased to know that part of the reason is I’m developing new materials for LCA… hopefully there will be a new, useful book for LCA in the coming months.

      1. Sounds great Matthew! I really hope you’ll bring out either a Levantine Diaries or a Levantine Voices book. Let me know if you need to get in contact with more Syrians or Lebanese. More than half of my friends come from that part of the world.

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