Sunday, March 16, 2008

The story of a middle aged man

A middle aged man with simple aspirations and dreams, tucked safely in his chosen exile far away, had the misfortune to believe in the homeland again; for God filled his home with the cries and laughter of a new born child. His heart could not contain the joy and pride; such a lovely boy, an heir to the throne, someone to carry on the legacy. Five weeks of paternity leave made him realize that he could no longer be on call and fly at a short notice to the four corners of the world, catering for those with no family values and ties. Relaxing one evening, over a glass of wine and Dylan singing in the background (while baby asleep) the mother came with the idea of the return to the homeland. Calmly (but calculating) she argued the notions of cultural differences, better values, family, early retirement, and the “Paris of the Middle East”. It did not take much arguing before this middle aged man started proceedings to liquidate businesses and take the next plane home in search for business opportunities (10 days). Although the separation was hard to bare (endless daily phone calls), within five weeks all was set. Less than a month to pack home and the move was made.
All was rosy in the very beginning and the future looked very bright, a small puppy was added to this blessed family and old friendships rekindled. While rediscovering the mother land (re-vamped) this middle aged man was surprised to see slogans and car stickers that made him truly believe that the fifteen years of war were forgotten and forgiven by his fellow citizens. Every day on his journey to work he would listen to Timbuk3 “the future is so bright I got to wear shades” and fight the traffic (the pot holes, the bad drivers, unsafe cars...etc) with a big smile on his face, after all this is part of Lebanon’s charm he tried to convince himself.
Little did this middle aged man know that in his homeland personal checks would bounce, promissory notes are mostly never honoured, bank managers could be bribed, contracts (even with penalty clauses to both parties) could be breached with no consequences, cash money could be counterfeit, and payments always delayed!
Well needless to say the shit did hit the fan, his family of four was split in half, the business partner (a family member) took off to Canada (with his life savings); and the middle aged man was left to clean up the mess in his homeland with divisions much greater than the ones that pushed him into exile.
This middle aged man did not resign to his fate, but grew more attached to his son and to his country.
This middle aged man rebuilt his life (and still is in the process) with an ever growing belief in his heritage.
This middle aged man has a duty to towards his son to make him proud of his Lebanese decent although he was born British.
This middle aged man, after having lived the civil war and witnessing the current bullshit, can spit in the face of all current politicians.
This middle aged man will never give up, and will never be silenced !

9 comments:

VOR said...

Your devotion to your country and nation despite all of the heart breaking disappointments and setbacks are a true testimony to your sense of patriotism, furthermore your desire to teach your son to love the country of his origins shows your belief in a new generation of citizens, ones that believe in the nation above their personal interests. We can take all pride that we have a "beautiful" country but the concept of true "nationalism" is lost on all of us and that is why we have so many problems as a people.

Ms Levantine said...

The middle aged man is too idealistic and too stubborn. Of course Lebanon has a future, but not for people like the middle aged man and his son.

Sometimes it takes more courage to cut one's loses than to stick around.

It is possible to help your country even if you leave it. You can only survive in Lebanon as a perpetual tourist in your own land.

MM.

Marillionlb said...

MM
I tried the option you mentioned for 16 years. Idealistic to a certain extent yes, but realistic knowing that going back to England is no longer feasible for many reasons. I am left with no choice but to keep on fighting.

VOR,
Thank you for your words of encouragement. Like you said I believe that the first step towards salvation is through education, which we lack in Lebanon. But it doesn't stop there I am afraid.
Hereditary leadership should be abolished and held responsible, a secular state, urbanism, ecology, watchdogs, new curriculum, unified judicial system.....etc
One day maybe!(now I am being idealistic MM).

Thank you for reading

Jester said...

Beautiful story.

Frankly, as an expat whos lived in several cities, whever I went, a found a Lebanese community well bounded together.

Though, I never imagined of going to back to Lebanon to "live for good".

Not in the next 10 years at least.

Marillionlb said...

Jester,
I understand your feelings. 5 years within my marriage I did not go back home even for a visit; my son and his mother went 3 to 4 times a year while I traveled for business. I came back when my son was 3 mainly because his mother convinced me that it was the right thing to do (I did not dislike the idea, it was my way of retiring early). I will not leave again, I owe it to my son to make a difference (if I can)
On the sidelines, I always use to sign my posts Jester on my old blog and web site. Do you know of a band called Marillion?

JoseyWales said...

My situation has some similarities to yours.

I would not go back though because like you I would really literally spit at some politician and get myself killed or else shut up and be humiliated , both unattractive choices, besides the shitty economy.

I may go into another exile very soon, but not Lebanon, no.

God give you strength and protect you and your family.

Marillionlb said...

I understand you very well Josey, when I first came back home I spent on a few occasions long hours in jail mainly for speaking my mind. Things haven't chnaged much, but I have learned (at my own expense) to tone it down.
I hope your change will be for the better and out of choice, and maybe a bit closer to home.
Stay well.

Nat said...

Sad but true. And the middle aged man is not alone in this predicament... Many of us are stuck with the same disappointments, hurt and illusions.

Marillionlb said...

Nat,
Any suggestions as to how to change our condition?