During a recent conversation with my mother over the phone I told her I would try and pay them a visit even if it’s only for one week, just to see them, since my father is bedridden and my mom is not doing so well herself. She told me not to because the situation in Lebanon is not good. They miss me a lot and know it means a great deal for me to go, but “it is not clear what is going to happen so please don’t come.” She continued along those lines, asking what if something happened and I ended up stuck there, with my husband and children in Montreal. “Remember last time in July 2006, when you were here with your kids and the airport closed and you had to travel through Damascus, Syria? This time it is different. Syria has troubles of its own now.”
My heart stopped beating in my chest. Now what? What are they expecting to happen this time? Generation after generation, the Lebanese people have witnessed political unrest, lived through civil war and war with Israel. You don’t want or wish for anything bad to happen, no matter what, since deep in your heart you know that;
“War is primarily not about victory or defeat but about death and the infliction of death. It represents the total failure of the human spirit.” Robert Fisk
You feel lucky to be alive considering the unfortunate many who lost their lives or their loved ones. Somehow, you managed to stay alive, be it through luck or divine intervention.
“The joke was thinking you were ever really in charge of your life. You pressed your oar down into the water to direct the canoe, but it was the current that shot you through the rapids. You just hung on and hoped not to hit a rock or a whirlpool.” Scott Turow
I was among the luckier ones since I had the chance to live and work outside when my husband got transferred to Dubai. Dubai being the cosmopolitan city it is, I met people from different parts of the world over the years. People who had lived normal lives and had normal childhoods. I realized then that by simply trying to stay alive, I had lost something so valuable. That’s when it hurt the most.
“The pain comes from more than the facts of circumstance, or the deeds of others. It comes from within. From understanding what we lost. It comes from knowing how foolish we were – vain, arrogant children – when we thought ourselves happy. It comes from knowing how fragile and doomed the old ways were, just when we thought them and ourselves, secure! The pain comes from knowing we have never been safe, and therefore will never be safe again. It comes from knowing we can never be children again. ” John Jakes
If something happens now as everyone is fearing it will, who will be lucky this time? How much can a person take? How much is too much?
“It’s a saying they have, that a man has a false heart in his mouth for the world to see, another in his breast to show to his special friends and his family, and the real one, the true one, the secret one, which is never known to anyone except to himself alone, hidden only God knows where.” James Clavell
I have family and friends in Lebanon, in Dubai, and almost everywhere in the Arab World. Whatever has started there is;
“…not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, the end of the beginning.” Winston Churchill
I totally understand the people’s needs for a dignified existence. But I also strongly believe and understand that violence doesn’t solve problems. Surely there are other ways. There must be other ways. But then again, things are different on the other side of the Atlantic: there are no guarantees in the Middle East. What scares me the most is;
“Tanks come in two forms: the dangerous, deadly kind and the “liberating” kind.” Robert Fisk