Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sharing Christmas with my son

About 5 in the afternoon on the 1st Sunday in December dad would take you in his white Austin Wolseley to Hamra Street to see the Christmas lights. He would park his car and take you to The Express café for some hot chocolate and a piece of fôret noire while you sat there watching the cars and passers by looking at the decorated shop windows. Once your cake safely tucked away in your belly, hands and mouth cleaned so that all evidence of you eating desert before diner disappears; he will zip up your anorak and take you on your magical Christmas tour.

A trip to “Toyland” (our humble version of FAO Schwartz) is a must; dad will be most attentive trying to see what catches your eye the most so that you might find it under the tree. Walking along the side walk you will encounter a few Santas wringing their bell and distributing candy, and if you ask why is there more than one, dad will tell you that those are Santa’s helpers paving the way for Christmas eve.

Back home, diner on the table, you make an effort to eat so that you don’t let mum on your secret adventure. All is merry and joyful. Around the diner table there are no talk of a vacant presidency, car bombs, Syrians, Aoun, Hizbollah…etc; the only heated argument is that your dad might have brought you back a tad passed your curfew.

The following Sunday your aunt might take you again to Hamra street, but this time to a church where the choir sings to Jazz. Whilst she is praying you listen to the music and let the rhythm engulf your soul. Again another trip along the side walk filled with Santas and candy and a feeling of happiness and security.

The above is nothing but a small percentage of my Christmas memories. I will not share more with you, for I know that you will never have anything similar. Once you are old enough my son, and will read this text I would like to apologize in advance for the sadness you might feel. Hamra Street is no longer what it used to be, Lebanon is no longer.

I love you, and I am sorry.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

If Kipling was Lebanese

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on politicians;

If you can trust no leader when all others blindly follow,

But make no allowance for their ignorance too;

If you can no longer wait, and is tired of waiting,

Or being lied about, then deal with the lies,

Or being hated just let them with their hating;

And yet you don’t compromise, nor give up:

If you can make your voice heard, and never shy away;

If you can think, and not let others think for you;

If you can meet with slogans and promises

And eradicate those two impostors with a swift blow,

If you can apply onto you that patriotism you profess

Unshaken by various attempts to demean or diminish it,

Or watch others bargain with the souls of those who fell,

And never think that you can leave it to history books;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk alongside men, but not follow blindly,

If neither foes nor friends you lend your trust to,

If some men count with you, but none too much;

If you can cherish this Biblical land and protect it with your blood,

Yours is dignified life and all that it entails,

And – which is more—you’ll be Lebanese my son !

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Schizophrenia at its best!

The following is not what I stand for, but it stems from a deep sentiment of frustration and guilt. It is nothing but my own cowardly way to vent my anger.

Frustration for realizing that all efforts spent towards a dignified and free Lebanon has gone to waist; and guilt for having brought my son from his safe haven to the land of struggle and strife.

The following is no political analysis, it was never my forte.

The following is part of my belief in the legend of the Knights of the Round Table, and my way to justify the evil that still lurks within my soul (although a contradiction). A mask I have put on in order to excuse what I witnessed and participated in during the war.

Tout comme l’a dit Moustaki dans la marche de Sacco et Vanzetti, ou même dans ‘’le déserteur’’ de Boris Vian ; quoi qu’on prétend être pacifiste notre bonté a ses limites (opinion personnel).

Aujourd’hui je déclare (non pas ‘’l’état de bonheur permanent’’) mais la bataille de survie d’un pays et d’un peuple qui a longtemps ouvert (peut être malgré sa volonté) ses portes a ceux qui ont souffert, et maintenant font souffrir.

A ceux qui ont usé de l’hospitalité dont on a toujours été fière, et en on fait leur base de chaos et de meurtre gratuit.

Je déclare la guerre à tout ceux qui ont usés de la bonté de cœur de toute une nation, qui ouvert ses portes aux chiens galeux que nos voisins ont massacrés sans remords ; et qui maintenant nous massacrent.

Je fais un appel a mon peuple, a mes concitoyens (moi qui jouie d’une autre nationalité, et je l’admet) d’éduquer nos enfants, non dans la tolérance ; mais dans la bataille de survie.

Le temps est venu, pour tout Libanais patriote, de s’armer contre ce fléau qui menace notre être.

Aujourd’hui, je ne suis plus un être clément, Chrétien, Païen, Bouddhiste…etc ; je suis un simple homme conscient du mal qu’on essaye de m’affliger et du projet d’extinction qui frappe a ma porte.

Ma force de survie est plus forte que ma moralité et mes idéaux, mon devoir de père et surtout de citoyen passe bien avant de celui de mon bien être.

Le devoir de tout Libanais est de mettre de côté toute sorte d’idées préconçues et de moralité, de prendre les armes. Oui prendre les armes, d’éradiquer tout ceux qui durant plus de 30 ans ont essayé (en vain) de nous supprimer (et d’établir leur propre canton, ou même annexe) .

Aujourd’hui je déclare la guerre de survie.

Aujourd’hui (même hier) je déclare ma haine à tout ceux qui envahissent le centre de MA ville et d’un air hautain parlent de patriotisme.

Merci ! Mon sang je l’ai déjà versé, mais je ne verserais pas celui de mon fils. Ce Liban je le réclame, à moi et rien qu’a moi !

Aujourd’hui je deviens Musulman, je déclare une ‘’Fatwa’’ qui me permet d’éradiquer ce mal qui a fleuri impuni sur MON territoire.

Aujourd’hui je déclare l’enclenchement de MA croisade, non pas Chrétienne ; mais Libanaise.

N.B: For you my son, I sure hope that when you will come to age, things will have changed for the better; and that you won't have to repress all the hatred I have come to shed.