Fayrouz

Post 12/365

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Nouhad Haddad, famously known as Fayrouz, meaning Turquoise gemstone is certainly one of the greatest Arab singers of the 20th century. A true gem, whose songs have become the soul of her country.

It was Lebanon’s civil war, from 1975 to 1990, that both shattered the country’s tolerant society and cemented Fayrouz’s reputation, refusing to leave the country, as a cultural symbol beloved by Arabs of any political or religious stripe. When shellfire ripped through Beirut and its residents cowered in their basements, radio stations of all persuasions broadcasted her plaintive ode to the city called Li Beirut, (To Beirut).

That song played more times than I can remember on the radio. It had a hieratic and melancholic tone to it, yet it left me with a sense of wanting to change things. Maybe it’s her prayer like singing that made me want some kind of redemption for that country, some kind of holy light to guide us through the dark.

My favourite part of Li Beirut, the one song that I choke up to every time I hear, is the beginning and ending of the song, specially when she sings “anti li,anti li” (you are mine, you are mine). What simple 2 words that claim ones right to a city, to something tangible yet ideal in concept. It’s similar to a marriage vow between her and the city “I do take thee for better or for worse, to love and to cherish…”

“You are mine” is exactly how I feel about this city. Beirut is mine. Its street are mine. Its chaos is mine. Its heart beat is mine. Its rhythm is mine. Its dilapidated building are mine. Its soul is mine. This piece of land is mine to love, take care of, to cherish, revive, to fight for, and nurture.

To Beirut: (the lyrics)
A greeting from my heart to Beirut
kisses to the sea and to the houses
to a rock, which is like an old sailor’s face
She is made from the people’s soul..from wine
She is from his sweat…a bread and Jasmins
So how does her taste become? A taste of fire and smoke
Glory from the ashes to Beirut
My city has turned out her lamp
From the blood of a child carried upon her hand
She shut her door, and became alone in the sky
Alone with the night
You are mine, you are mine
Ah Hug me you are mine
You are my flag, tomorrow stone
And a travel’s waves
The wounds of my people have blossomed
And mothers tear
You are mine, you are mine
Ah Hug me

Because wherever I went in the world, I always had a greeting from my heart to Beirut, to a Beirut that is mine I ‪#‎livelovelebanon‬ and I will ‪#‎fighton‬

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cE9-W1nTWyw

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