Top Quotes from Rabih Alameddine

By | November 30, 2018

My father and I rarely saw eye to eye when I was growing up. We saw the world differently. It was only when we were both adults that we were able to share spectacles. However, football, and particularly the World Cup, was when we, enemy combatants, could traverse trenches and be together.

Rabih Alameddine

If I were to pray in Arabic, I’d pray to Allah. If I were to pray in English, I’d pray to God.

Rabih Alameddine

A phoenix, Beirut seems to always pull itself out its ashes, reinvents itself, has been conquered numerous times in its 7,000-year history, yet it survives by both becoming whatever its conquerors wished it to be and retaining its idiosyncratic persona.

Rabih Alameddine

I gave up on the delusion that these players enjoy soccer as much as I do, that they play for the love of the game.

Rabih Alameddine

Now I love hoops. I’m a diehard UCLA fan, have been since my freshman year. But basketball is the ‘1812 Overture.’ Pomp and circumstance, fireworks and cannons, lots and lots of fun, and in the end, still Tchaikovsky.

Rabih Alameddine

In Lebanon, there are completely different opinions and values in one country in terms of religion, modernity, tradition, East and West – which allows for a kind of intellectual development not available anywhere else.

Rabih Alameddine

Close friends consider me a literary snob.

Rabih Alameddine

I can easily hold two opposing beliefs at the same time without any problem, which I find – well, mind-expanding, really.

Rabih Alameddine

Harat’ is actually – it’s a Lebanese dialect word. It comes from ‘the mapmaker,’ somebody who makes a map. And it basically means somebody who tells fibs or exaggerate tales a little bit.

Rabih Alameddine

In the summer of 1988, my father took me up to look at the remains of our home, the dream house that he’d built. It was my first time since our family left four years earlier. Political and obscene graffiti covered the half-torn walls. There was no ceiling and surprisingly no floor: the parquet, the stone, the marble, all looted.

Rabih Alameddine

A soccer game is a Wagner opera. The narrative sets up, the tension builds, the music ebbs and flows, the strings, the horns, more tension, and suddenly a moment of pure bliss, trumpet-tongued Gabriel sings, and gods descend from Olympus to dance – this peak of ecstasy.

Rabih Alameddine

I can make up stories with the best of them. I’ve been telling stories since I was a little kid.

Rabih Alameddine

As teenagers, a lot of us just did not want much to do with Arabic culture – we looked to the West.

Rabih Alameddine

I get upset about what is taken as great literature and what is cute and exotic.

Rabih Alameddine

I read Shakespeare when I was 14 because it’s what we were taught.

Rabih Alameddine

In school in Lebanon, we were not allowed to speak Arabic during breaks – it had to be French or English.

Rabih Alameddine

There are over 1 million refugees in Lebanon, a country of 4 million people. How do we solve that? I have no idea. What’s going on, I really don’t know.

Rabih Alameddine

We seem, particularly over here in the West and in America in particular, to have forgotten that we are, in large measures, the story we tell ourselves about ourselves.

Rabih Alameddine

I jokingly say if there was one great thing about, you know, the Lebanese Civil War was that it forced me to read.

Rabih Alameddine

If you go through any culture that has had wars, go to the bomb shelters, and you’ll hear some amazing stories. Yes, it’s a necessary thing that we actually both distract ourselves and it’s a way to bond.

Rabih Alameddine

I couldn’t tell the truth if my life depended on it.

Rabih Alameddine

I always say show me a storyteller who doesn’t embellish, and I’ll show you a bad one.

Rabih Alameddine

I loved problems on paper, and I was good at math, but I was a mechanical engineer, and I never understood – or cared to – how a car worked.

Rabih Alameddine

Nobody ever said I’m a simple personality.

Rabih Alameddine

Every writer uses his own way to motivate oneself.

Rabih Alameddine

When I wrote my first book, ‘Koolaids,’ I felt rejected and not wanted.

Rabih Alameddine

Nobody ever calls me a soccer-playing writer, even though I play soccer and it’s part of who I am.

Rabih Alameddine

I allegedly am an outsider writer, so I write from the perspective of somebody who doesn’t completely fit in. But at the same time, I can state the fact that I don’t know of any good writer who is not an outsider writer.

Rabih Alameddine

I started writing half a paragraph of a mystery novel, half a paragraph there, and they were terrible.

Rabih Alameddine

In 1982, Algeria made their first appearance at the World Cup. I believe it was the first Arab country to do so.

Rabih Alameddine

The relationship between France and its ‘foreign’ players – blacks and North African Arabs – has always been troubled, particularly with Algerians.

Rabih Alameddine

No one needs to be reminded of racism in soccer: the xenophobia, the nativism and, yes, nationalism.

Rabih Alameddine

I oscillate between being cynical and being naive on a regular basis. I always think that not much shocks me until something much too obvious does.

Rabih Alameddine

I always assumed that everyone knew no country would ever be awarded a World Cup without pricey gifts exchanging hands under the tables.

Rabih Alameddine

In 1975, I left the burning city of Beirut for the quiet insanity of England. To say that short, frail and wispy 15-year-old me didn’t fit in would be such an understatement as to be a joke.

Rabih Alameddine

I stuck out more in an English public school than I would have had I marched in a May Day parade with the Red Army in Moscow or sashayed the Yves St. Laurent catwalk with supermodels or hunted seals with the Inuit or – well, you get the idea.

Rabih Alameddine

For me, soccer was a dance.

Rabih Alameddine

A team without hope fizzles: no flameout, no fire.

Rabih Alameddine

When I was younger, I used to find stories about divas charming. Not much anymore.

Rabih Alameddine

I was about 11 or 12 when I began to pick up my mother’s books.

Rabih Alameddine

When the Lebanese Civil War started in 1975, I was 15. I was shipped to boarding school in England and, after that, to UCLA.

Rabih Alameddine

All living languages are promiscuous. We promiscuous speakers shamelessly shoplift words, plucking bons mots and phrases from any tempting language. We wear these words when we wish to be more formal, more elegant, more mysterious, worldly, precise, vague.

Rabih Alameddine

English has always had a special fondness for other European languages, a neighborly soft spot – perhaps because Britain has been invaded by speakers of those languages from the onset of its recorded history.

Rabih Alameddine

Whenever I come across an Arabic word mired in English text, I am momentarily shocked out of the narrative.

Rabih Alameddine

Language, after all, is organic. You can’t force words into existence. You can’t force new meanings into words. And some words can’t or won’t or shouldn’t be laundered or neutered. Language develops naturally.

Rabih Alameddine

One of the things I enjoy most during the World Cup is watching a team improve, mature, and gel during the course of the tournament.

Rabih Alameddine

I was gay before I began to play soccer over 40 years ago. It’s been 28 years since a friend and I organized one of the first gay soccer teams in the world.

Rabih Alameddine

Homophobia is rampant in soccer, probably more so than in any other sport. I’m not sure why.

Rabih Alameddine

I have to admit, I’m not patriotic. It has partly to do with principle, but it is also a phobia/neurosis.

Rabih Alameddine

A player should be disparaged if he gives less than his all, if he doesn’t give 100%, no matter what shirt he’s wearing. Whether it’s your national team, your club, or little league. Yes, there are friendly matches, recreational ones, and so on, but sport in its essence is about giving your best.

Rabih Alameddine

The reasons why a player is better on one club than on another are many. I certainly am not an expert and can’t explain.

Rabih Alameddine

I’ve never had a problem finding a team, a league, or a pickup game. Actually, I’m not sure I want soccer to get bigger. We have so many teams in San Francisco that there aren’t enough fields.

Rabih Alameddine

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