In spite of pervasive references to the war in Lebanon and in the midst of persisting regional tensions, the Lebanese are always trying to reaffirm their true image, that of perseverance, culture, and an intoxicating love for life.
In a small land kissed by the warm Mediterranean Sea, the Lebanese genuinely reflect the splendor of this land, rich in history, natural beauty, human diversity, and culture. In a country that greets you with a warm smile and a sentence composed of three languages “hi, Kifak? ça va?” you will find people who never relent to reach their dreams, who have learned never to fall at the first fence, to be brave and fight on with a “yalla” attitude to life.
Multi-communal coexistence is the living principle of the Lebanese people. Muslims, Christians, Druze, atheists, all live together under one sky with tolerance and freedom as cornerstones of their beliefs.
The Lebanese have lived through 15 years of civil war that took 150,000 lives, and two Israeli invasions and years of Israeli bombardments that cost the lives of a further 20,000 people. We have been bombarded, shot at, attacked, violated, displaced, and pushed to the extreme, yet here we are, educated, moral people with generosity that stuns every foreigner, our kindness puts anyone to shame. I think Gibran’s words really define who we are. “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest of souls, the most massive characters are seared with scars.” Here we are Lebanese, defined by 3000 years or more of struggles on that little piece of land we call Lebanon. It’s the kinship and the scars that have shaped us over the years that have brought us together rather then the fear and hate, they tried to instill in us.
Oftentimes all you will have is your own perseverance. If you have it, you will continue to climb and find. Neither crises, nor wars have affected the desire of the Lebanese to share a common destiny. Tolerance, freedom, and education are our foundations. The Lebanese go by the beat of their own drum, knowing that their power is within them.
And when the wind blows, just like dandelions, they will spread in other lands and create with their wealth of knowledge and culture another life that is based on the Lebanese spirit. There in the world, wherever you go, there will always be a heartbeat that is forever Lebanon kept alive by the Lebanese.
Sanity is no greater than one’s desire to overcome his reality. Without it all one’s imaginings are attainable and reality becomes infinite. That is our reality and we attain it with our infinite belief in ourselves.