(This is the text of a moving e-mail I just received from my best friend in Lebanon, Khaldoun.)
I am not sure what I am going to say or write about.
Been more than a week unable to think straight or put two sentences together.
I can't define what I am feeling, that is if I have any feelings left in me.
I have definitely bypassed the stage of sadness and crossed the borders of disparity.
Is it agony? I am afraid not.
It is the feeling of desolateness where nothing really matters any more. No taste, no color, no sound, no form… too many No's to list.
I look around, into the faces of the people, I find a lost smile. A shadow smile was just there, somewhere, and now it is all gone.
What incenses me is my mom's tear that escapes her hand wiping it off, hiding it from the rest of us to share some strength into our falling-apart dreams and hopes.
What torture me are the black circles under my sister's eyes that keep me wondering whether they are from her dispersed cries or even from all the nightmares she has while she sounds peacefully sleeping.
What a joke?
Here we are all sitting in front the TV; the remote control in one hand flipping channels to get a better picture or image on what is going on… no where but in the same territory where we are living in.
Ya territory… I dare not say country, because I am too ashamed to identify it as a country when all of this tragedy is going on and there is nothing we, the inhabitants, can do or even say.
We didn't decide we want all of this.
No one consulted us or asked for our opinion.
No one forewarned us that this is coming.
No one explained to us where we are heading.
We were planning for our future with some hope and trust. We were going to attend all those performances brought from all around the globe to this great country.
We were planning to go to the beach and get a suntan that others could envy us for.
We were planning to travel for a short vacation and come back with a long list of shopped items for family and friends.
We were planning projects and programs for the coming few years.
We were planning how to study and sit for an exam or even find a better paid job.
We were never forewarned.
Now we need to prepare ourselves for the worse, for dark nights and gloomy days.
Now we need to think where to hide and which road is safe to take.
Now we need to think when to flee and leave.
Now we need to think if we are going to be short on diesel and even bread.
And I ask myself why?
Haven't we been paying our dues on time?
Haven't we been throwing garbage in their proper places?
Haven't we been trying to abide by the laws?
Haven't we been respecting our responsibilities?
Haven't we been going to work everyday?
Haven't we been saying good morning and good night in a proper way?
Why? I am not sure if I am looking for an eloquent answer.
Just few days before all of this started, the cities and towns were decorated with all those foreign flags celebrating the World Cup; the Lebanese flag barely made it to few cars or balconies, one of which is mine.
Few months ago, we attended Majida El Roumi's concert. There she was, singing Beirut Sit El Dunia*; there he was, our Prime Minister, up on his feet listening to the 10-minute-or-so song standing as a sign of respect not for the singer but for the great city; and there we were, the audience, the Lebanese, sitting throughout the song and standing up only when there was a beat or a rhythm, drawing hand-signs that reflect our inferiority as subjects and not citizens.
I don't know if I should continue to ask myself why?
But well, no one has the right to impose his opinions, likes/dislikes, decisions, and choices on me as an individual.
I don't want this war; I want to live in peace. I no longer believe in causes or care for others' misery; our tragedies have been enough. I don't want to defend others' existence or support their rights; I look around and realize that I am not getting anything in return except words of pity and sympathy. I don't need this. Well, the song says "La Shay'a Ma3i Illa Kalimat"**.
I am almost 32. I lived half of my life in a civil war; 15 years of being scared and frightened. I witnessed the Israeli attacks in 1993 and the Qana massacre in 1996.
I was there throughout the devastations of 2005 with all the assassinations and bombs. I was so scared to continue my life; I wanted to stay in, move around the minimum possible; I stepped away from my friends and relatives. I could not reach out. I was scared. But now, I am not sure what I am feeling, if there are any feelings left inside.
My apologies finally go to a great country called Lebanon. I am ashamed of myself and of others for what we have been doing or even for what we haven't been doing. How trivial are our lives, our needs and opinions, our differences, and even our religions, compared to the continuous rebirth of a phoenix that never gives in.
There is a piece of heaven on earth and I truly believe it is called Lebanon; there is where the whole story should be or actually is; where history instigated and where it will always end. And who are we and our trivials in the existence of a great nation or mission or civilization (or call it what you want to call it), that I am more sure now that we don't actually deserve.
O Lebanon… My Lebanon
* = "Beirut, Lady of the World"
** = "I've got nothing but words"; the last line from Majida el-Roumi's song, "Kalimat" (Words)