A Lebanese artist has certainly turned heads, dressing up like a cartoon version of a suicide bomber as she roams the streets of Beirut.
Recently, Lebanon has been faced with a spate of bombings that have left many feeling angry and fearful. Fed up by the current state of affairs, a Lebanese multidisciplinary artist based out of Berlin has returned to Lebanon and is quickly making a name for herself as Madame Bomba.
Rima Najdi returned to her homeland over the holidays, when two horrific bombs rocked the nation. The first hit downtown Beirut while the other occurred in a predominantly Shia area of Dahiyeh, where Hezbollah has a strong presence. Unfortunately, these bombings are not isolated events as car and suicide bombings are becoming regular fixture. Worried of “dying at any moment” Najdi felt inspired to act. So Najdi decided to put on her best bomb outfit and took to Beirut's streets.
Documenting her performance were friends and fellow artists Maria Kassab, Sandy Chamoun, Roy Dib and Dana Dia. Dressed in all black, except for red dynamite costume strapped to her took, Najdi took her protest into the Hamra district along the seafront and into downtown Beirut near the site of the December bombing.
Reactions to the stunt seemed to be mixed, as some people were scared, others intrigued, some made jokes, while many were indifferent. Days after the event, she is still receiving feedback through social media with some wanting to mimic her message in other Arab countries. "It will be interesting to see what would happen, for example, if a man did the performance," she says. "I think gender did play a role in people's reactions," she says. This may be due to the fact that a few the response she receive were flirtatious in nature as one man remarked: “If suicide bombers looked like you, I would love to die.”
Here at CairoScene we are still debating what the point of this act is. We are sure that many Lebanese are very much aware of the everyday presence of danger. We aren't exactly sure that dressing up like a bomb will really highlight anything except for the obvious. We highly doubt that this statement will have would be suicide bombers leaving there bombs at home, but who knows? May be they love performance art too. If you are reading this Rima Najdi, we’re sure your German hipster friends think you are cool. Enjoy Berlin while the rest of Lebanon deal with the reality of actual bombers in their street.