With all due respect to Marcel Khalifeh, I have not chosen my country voluntarily and with love. I have been destined to be born and live in Lebanon for 21 years. Voluntarily and with love, I have been around powerful people who have kept digging for hope in a hopeless state. I have causes that are entrenched but I lack patriotic sentiments. There’s no shame in that. I have failed to have goose bumps when seeing a Cedar tree and I have not shared on Facebook the news of a record-breaking Hummus plate. What kept me walking the streets of Beirut is the group of friends that shared my causes and affiliated themselves with my thoughts. As I prepare for my last semester at the Lebanese American University, I wave farewell to most of them. This city is gloomy, due to incessant electricity shortage. But, as they leave, the city is only getting darker. The holes they dug searching for hope are now being used to hide weapons of violence. The corners they used to sit in are now being exploited for private enterprise and real-estate oligarchs. My limited reasons to stay are flying away with every departure of a friend. I will be leaving as well, soon. No, I do not owe anything to this place. This artificially elite-run corrupt state has deprived me and my people of my basic rights. People like us, seek at least acknowledgement by merit, not by sect. I shall follow my comrades soon wherever they are in this world. It may turn out to be easier to change the world than changing my own country.
(This piece is dedicated to Ibrahim Halawi & Nour Chamoun)
Published in Mish Jareedi August 2013 Printed Edition – click here to view original publication