This city, this country never tires. A land of many contradictions which seems so obvious to the naked eye yet is part of the fabric of its normality.
Here, one looses hope, finds hope, and sometimes-even doubts hope. It is all so closely intertwined, like a spider web where all threads are needed to create a structure that both sustains life and destroys it equally.
The rich and the poor live side-by-side but world apart. Refugee camps with all their miseries are a stone throw away from cosmopolitan cities. Mosques and churches literally rub shoulders as the bell toll of one mixes with the call to prayer of the other. “Service” cars (Lebanese street taxi) that drive around for a dollar a ride drive next to extravagant cars. The high-rise modern buildings stand tall and proud overshadowing older humbler crumbling buildings. Natural and fake beauty mingle together on the streets of the city. Some are looking for ways to leave while others cry of excitement at the idea of being home as soon as the plane lands. Beautiful majestic sky reaching mountains find themselves a short distance away from highways with suffocating traffic jams. Art and beauty on one side while on the other the visible claw lesions of war that still stink the wretched smell of war. In one area the city lights shimmer in the darkness of the night, while the neighborhood around the corner from it drowns in the same darkness.
On its beaches, veiled women and others in bikini all seem to be distracted by the beauty of the open sea. Progressive minds find themselves clashing with feudal ones. Some are trying to strip its resources while others work tirelessly to safeguard it. Flags, flags of so many colors and so many voices flutter in a constant blue sky, yet somehow the red and white stripes one with a cedar in the middle outshines them all . Beaches dotted all along its coastline yet so few are accessible to its citizens. Absolute road rage is tempered by an “ahla wo sahla, tfadalo” (https://365daysoflebanon.com/2015/11/04/ahla-wo-sahla/). Vivid exploding crimson colors of the sunset juxtapose this concrete jungle we live in. This is Lebanon, come what may.
Scarred we all wait:
We wait for the bloodshed of war to give way to understanding,
Wait for dismay to give way to hope,
Wait for the day where we will feel like we have a say in the future of this land, trying to overcome the contradictions that challenge our every day lives.
Who said contradiction isn’t beautiful? Beyond this contradiction you get the rarest of things: a story, a story that started with the beginning of time, 5000 years ago.
To my country, oh how much I have loved and loathed thee. Although I’ve lost hope at times (lost hope to the point where I couldn’t write anymore) yet it has always managed to lure me back and awaken in me that feeling of belonging.
This land of many contradictions…
This land of many beautiful contradictions…
Pictures taken off the Internet. (Wadi kannubin picture on the cover taken by Ziad Mikati)