Two countries, both dear to my heart. One which chose me and one which I chose. One where I came to life and one where my children were born. One which gave me the words and one the means to speak them out. Lebanon who gave me birth and France who adopted me.
One I owe to my parents and one I bequeath to my children.
One which is alive and well. And one which is poor, homeless, sick. And dying. Lebanon is dying people. Not in a bed, not in an intensive care unit. In the street. In general indifference.
And yet, there are Lebanese facets worth saving. I can name at least one: Lebanese summers. Not just the season but Lebanon in summer as a whole experience.
Breakfasts outside with thyme mana’ich, labne and thick Lebanese coffee, evenings with friends playing cards, dining or relaxing with a beer watching the world cup from a terrace on the heights of Beirut, while the sun sets on the Mediterranean and the fishermen’s boats start lighting like fireflies in the sea, leaving the city on Friday nights to spend the weekend in the family village but still going back to Beirut on Saturday night for a drink, a diner, a shisha, anything as long as the gang is around and then stopping at 5AM at the Sea Sweet, Douaihi or Hallab pastry shops for a sweet knefeh on the way back to the village for the traditional Sunday family lunch, afternoons at the seaside, after-works at the seaside, evening walks in downtown Beirut, the smell of pinewood, the screeching of grasshoppers, the clear blue skies in the day and the stars shining for you in the evenings. And the sunsets…
I have a secret yet childish wish itching me from time to time: If only I had the financial means of a Jeff or an Elon, I could buy back the country’s debt, tear it away and bring back summer for good… would it not be nice…
But on other times, I feel the country is beyond saving. It has been through too many ordeals. Maybe trying to save it amounts to unreasonable obstinacy…
And when I am sobering up in between, I know there is one thing we Lebanese people can do: thrive to make Lebanon survive through his sons and daughters so that people judge the country not by what they see in the news but by what his children convey to them.
So here I am, Lebanese, French, sharing ideas in English and hoping to make a difference.
Let the board sound