Free art piece idea #37

This one’s called “W 2eiiiiiir 7abibi”.

In Lebanon, and most probably in some other Arab countries the author isn’t aware of, young and less young people have been using Latin keyboards to write Arab words. Take “Habibi” for instance which, in arabic, is written as follows:


The first letter ح which is an [h] shooting out from the throat has no equivalent on latin keyboards. So Arabs have replaced it with the number 7 which looks somewhat similar. That gave birth to an interesting mix of latin letters and numbers. A new corrupted, re-tooled and hacked alphabet in effect:


The person who is to execute this piece is to write new such Arab words in ancient Arab calligraphy. The performer will notice that there are some signs on top of the latin letters. These are accents Arabs use to signify how written words are pronounced.

This mix of ancient calligraphy and traditional Arab writing with new Latin expressions aimed at expressing Arab words is a representation of the cultural mix happening in the midst of Arab society.

Some other examples are the words “W 2eiiiiir” and “3achraaa” which, respectively mean “And penis” and “Ten” with a special emphasis on some sounds. “W 2eiiiiir” is used by Arab men, specifically Lebanese men, to express emotions ranging from surprise to anger, disappointment and sadness. “3achraaa” is a more cryptic expression used by only 2 edgy Lebanese youngsters to express a boasting behavior that has no place to be.