In this article, I’m discussing my country: Lebanon. Ask around, Lebanese citizens will say they invented the alphabet and revolutionized culture, cartographers would say “that little thing?”, economists would tell you that its geographical location is bliss, living on the land that connects the three ancient continents does wonders to your economical status, travel agents praise these lands, this weather, this nightlife… I could go on and on about how amazing this country genuinely is.
|Lebanon, can you see it?|
Jean-Paul Sartre once said “we’ve never been so free as we were under the German occupation”, and that Frenchman was right, an interesting form of freedom can be found in the darkest corners of domination and oppression. Lebanon has been ruled by so many civilizations, most recently by the Turks who stuck around for nearly 400 years, and then it lived under the French mandate that ended in 1926 followed. But Lebanon is a archeological dig of fossilized nations left over from ancient conquests, still clinging to their distinct identities, this country has always been reputed for the mosaic of people it gathers: different religions, different political points of view, different lifestyles, different languages, different everything! However, the Lebanese flag soared the highest when this country was subjugated, Lebanese people put aside their differentiations to smuggle food behind Turkish soldiers’ backs, but sadly, it’s been a while since Mosques and Churches prayed together.
|The Lebanese Flag|
All hell broke loose when we were independent, a Civil War erupted in 1975, putting an end to a heavenly country, leaving a scar so deep in our parents’ hearts, that their eyes still gleam with fear at the possibility of history repeating itself, even though that war hasn’t really concluded yet. A country can’t be built on pillars of hate, greed and ethnocentrism. The roots of our problems begin with every breath a politician takes. Their brainwashing is incessant and infuriating, and that’s where it starts. Since I have no interest in national politics and no opinion on the matter except a very simple reality: “they’re all wrong”, I won’t elaborate on the matter, I’ll just say that this unitary and parliamentary republic may as well be a mediocre stand up comedy show, a show that nobody wants to attend, more than half the country doesn’t even vote. Nevertheless, the people aren’t trying hard enough, even now, where education and awareness are better spread than 30 years ago, we still manage to be, well, stupid, to challenge a fellow Lebanese citizen, and to drag our country further into desperation, ignorance, and war. Don’t you get it? Our country’s just a playground, and we’re just a few pawns. A small piece of a bigger puzzle, a warm-up act before a geopolitical play and a much bigger agenda. Anger does not make history, power and union do.
|View of Beirut from a balloon|
There used to be a country very similar to Lebanon, one that bordered on the Balkan Sea just like Lebanon borders on the Mediterranean Sea, a country that had a very diverse population, gathering over 40 religions on its territory. This country, if you haven’t guessed it yet, was Yugoslavia. It wasn’t under any occupation the way Lebanon was, instead, the Cold War kept the world at peace. As ironic as it sounds, the Cold War was a long-lived struggle that strangely kept the world frozen, under the motto “improbable war, impossible peace”. Caught in the middle between the Soviet Union and the US, Europe didn’t witness anything worth mentioning historically, up until the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. When do you think that country shattered to pieces? When there wasn’t any greater power hovering above it anymore, when each leader got drunk on power, shortly after the Cold War came to an end.
Is this Lebanon’s destiny? Can we pull off what the Yugoslavian people couldn’t do and come together as one nation, against all odds? Or is this just a dream that works best in patriotic songs? The media’s been going crazy, with all the riots going around in the Middle East, are we next? I don’t want to believe that.
|The Lebanese Flag, again.|
Our so-called leaders today, are the same leaders that governed this country thirty years ago. Back then, they dragged the nation into war, why are they still around? If Mr. Politician Number One hates Mr. Politician Number Two… do what I do, spend a day sunbathing at the beach and let them fight it off somewhere far, far away, and alone. Should I remind you how our National Anthem starts? All of us, for our country.
They Don't Care About Us - Michael Jackson