I don’t love you enough.
How hard it is to say it aloud; I don’t love my country enough and I must admit I’ve rarely felt ashamed of it. I was born at the end of the civil war, grew up with my father’s stories about the grand Beirut, the Switzerland of the Middle East, The Paris of the Orient, walked around the war-torn city and painted the beautiful ruins of a once glorious country. For the longest time, I saw this place through the nostalgic eyes of my parents, grandparents, the black and white photos preciously kept by every proud old Lebanese. Then I was hit by a fragment of reality at the age of 14, a second time at the age of 16, 17 wasn’t all that blissful either and by 24 I was left completely disillusioned.
Our elders tell us we’re lucky, we didn’t go through the big bad war, we didn’t live the horror they were so ruthlessly submerged in. No, we didn’t. We didn’t live the golden age either, where the streets were clean, the food uncontaminated, the water…well, flowing. We were just thrown into a life of uncertainty, a constant battle feeding a barely disguised urge to run away and find peace. Hummus toast & cedar coffins.
Yesterday another bombing occurred, more death, more rubble, more fear, yet an umpteenth needle shoved in our hearts. Our life here is like a thriller movie, suspense, you just never know when they’re going to hit or who they really are. One day they’re targeting a politician, the other a group of innocent victims who happened to be in some random area. Worst thing is, as I read about the fallen, I noticed many were refugees; they sought a country more peaceful than theirs to then be torn to pieces in ours. The irony.
I don’t love you enough, Lebanon, but really, how can I? I fear your name for it sounds like bombs, I fear your image for all I see is ashes, I fear you for you taste like blood.
However, deep down I know that despite how morbid our days become, our people will always prove resilient; we are 10452 sqkm of faith, faith in a more serene tomorrow, no matter how far tomorrow is, and someday, we will know peace.
I don’t love you enough, but I haven’t given up trying.