Adonis Diaries

Our triumph, our zeal toward the neighbors

Posted on: October 23, 2008


Our triumph, our zeal toward the neighbors (September 17, 2005)

Have you experienced traffic crawling to a stop? The road is fine, the weather is fair and it is not rush hours though an insignificant accident is the cause for the delay.  Every driver has to slow down, as reaching an imaginary red light, to watch the injured persons and double check that no one is a far off relative or an acquaintance. Have you recently been near a car bombed area or near an explosion?  Your TV channels demonstrate the heavy crowd near the devastated area as if no second explosion could ever been planned or contemplated.  Every one in the neighborhood has to come down and be a witness, be of help somehow or most probably be in the way of the rescue teams.  No other country, proportionately, has as many civil defense members or Red Cross volunteers as Lebanon have and most of these members work pro bono while their hard work barely sufficed for their subsistence. 

There was a time, before 1975, when neighbors used to pay visit to one another frequently, if not daily, at least amongst the wives for morning coffee and shooting the breeze. Not anymore, at least within the average well to do neighborhoods. I am hopeful that in regions untouched by the central government people have kept this beautiful tradition. People have been reverting to isolation within their own residences although not quite changing their extrovert characters when meeting other people.

For 30 years the Lebanese have experienced a lengthy upheaval of the hardest kind; starting with an ugly civil war to an Israeli invasion to a Syrian protectorate that established a system of their same kind that annihilated our polyvalent political system and almost destroyed freedom of speech, freedom of gathering, freedom of independent opinions and free elections.  Thomas Paine once wrote:” The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.  What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value.” For our relative size in population and superficies Lebanon must have experienced the hardest and lengthiest conflict in all history.  We actually have kicked the Israeli and then the Syrian forces of occupation out but we do not seem to feel any glory in triumph.  May be triumph is inappropriately well delimited or not shared? Many non Lebanese, and may be most Lebanese immigrants feel that what the Lebanese have achieved no other people did or could have achieved.  Still, we do not feel any glorious results to our stubbornness and determination, yet.  Sure, when Israel finally decided to withdraw from Lebanon we did not have an autonomous government, and when Syria withdrew we still did not enjoy a stable government because most of the ministers are safely abroad for one reason or another and wishing the Lebanese good luck and well being. Heck, since its independence in 1943 I do not remember Lebanon enjoyed a real government.  So, lack of centralized governance should not be a serious cause for feeling let down. 

May be our economic many problems could be a factor for our mental depression? Economy is indeed heavily on our mind and stomach though I believe that the main cause is that deep down we came to term to an unwelcome fact: we are a tiny country that geopolitics will not leave it alone to enjoy freedom, independence, human rights and a special way of life.

We do realize that our lot is to be chaperoned by others:  France and the USA think so too and decided that their turn has come to guide us and dictate to us our system of living. France and the USA will learn again and again that their endeavors are of no use and hopeless but at our own expense and for some time to come. If we managed to overcome so many tribulations it is because of our zeal toward our neighbors in hard time and our friendly and compassionate nature against all odds. We have to regain our neighborly tradition if we need to overcome the coming problems and we have to regain it quickly. We do not have to let the well to do and the new war rich class to set for us the new rules for a good life; like hiring servants from abroad, enclosing their residences within high walls and shutting themselves off from their neighbors with complicated entrances and formal communication systems.  We have to get back to normal quickly, visit our neighbors, play cards, shout greetings and well wishing from balconies, attend to birthday events and pay our respects to the bereaved living members of the deceased and to reclaim the rights of all Lebanese political prisoners in other countries to be released free with fair indemnity.

Our children got to keep in close touch with relatives and cousins and be encouraged to respect the elderly. Otherwise, our newly developing social fabric, especially our division into de-facto religious cantons at odd with one another with respect to our national entity and political system, will not withstand any more calamities. Hello Lebanon! Get steadfast toward your neighbors and let us have a durable survival structure based on proven, strong and valid sustainable traditional family connections with a much toned town sectarian fanaticisms in our earthly relationships. Hello Lebanon! Let us not forget that freedom is our will to allowing others the liberty to express their freedom of choices and opportunities. 

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October 2008

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