On an old picture

I wrote a couple of posts on Lebanon recently, back to back, and it drained me out. I’ve never been good at managing sorrow or anger. So I thought I would write about something else for a change. And then I saw this long-forgotten picture on social media…

It was taken 27 years ago. A class of 12-year-old kids. People with whom I would be graduating some years later. It had been forgotten in the digital meanders of the Internet for the past 12 years. And you know what, I am going to write about it. Because I miss these days. Because I miss these people. Because they have all succeeded in their careers and most now have lovely families and beautiful kids, and because very few remain in Lebanon. Our new home countries are called France, Belgium, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Nigeria or Dubai.

Those were the days of innocence; we were a thousand miles away from realizing what would be hitting us later. We were in a window where the civil war was behind and the future ahead, and boy what a bright future it could have been in the eyes of 12-year-old kids who were just out of childhood. Alas, time flew and with it our childhood dreams, trampled by Corruption and the Corrupt.

I want to write about this lost time where despite the challenges we faced in becoming who we are, we could still think that “everything will be fine” eventually.

But first and foremost, I want to write these few lines to fulfill a promise I made yesterday to a friend in this picture. A friend I had lost from sight more than a decade ago. A guy true to himself and to his origins, “droit dans ses bottes” as we would say around here.

So here’s to you my childhood friends,

to Antoine, Amira, Rita, Jinane, Cynthia, Diala, Youmna, Cynthia, Janine, Patricia, Joanna, Sarah, Ralph, Rony, Rashdan, Ryan, Mario, Fadi, Eddy, Michel, Ziad, Bachir, Rami, Fouad, Rami, Nada, Chadi, Rami, Christine, Zeina, Wassim, Hady, Hanane, Maha, Mirna, Maya, who all appear in the picture,

to those who do not, those I might have missed and the merry fellows who would join us later, over the years,

to our friends in other classes but on the same boat,

to those who taught us, to Marianne, in the picture as well, to Marie-Louise and Samir who reacted to the picture much to my delight, to Jean-Sebastien, may he rest in peace, and to many more, to you we owe a part of who we are today, thank you.

And to Chadi. Buddy, I promised I would post something for you to read when you are on call in the cold Belgian fall, unless you catch Wi-Fi where you are right now…

Let the board sound


PS: I will not post the picture here due to obvious image rights. The school landmark should be good enough, right?

PPS: How about a reunion in the coming months? It’s been at least ten or twelve years since the last one…