Adonis Diaries

“Never” is the name of my homeland

Posted on: December 6, 2008

“Never” is the name of my homeland (October 14, 2008)


Do you know of political refugees who have no hope of returning to their homeland?  Do you know of members of professional diplomats who are frequently transferred all around the World’s Capitals?  Have you ever asked your folks “when shall we go home?” and the reply is “Never!”?

Amelia Nothomb grew up in Japan till the age of six. Her father was a Belgian diplomat. Amelia loved green, flowery and well provisioned Japan of the seventies.  Her Japanese nurse adored her.  When her father was transferred to China it was the period of the Gang of Four after the death of Mao Tse Tong. This Gang made it a policy to burn all the cultural manuscripts and heritage of China before the revolution; famine was endemic.  Amelia was terribly nostalgic for Japan; she asked her dad “when shall we return home?” Her dad answered “Never”!  Little Amelia reflected that her homeland is named “Never”.  The inhabitants of Never have no hopes; their language is Nostalgia; their currency is idle time; their Capital is called Slow Death. The inhabitants of Never are incapable of erecting a house but they worship any kinds of stones; they substitute stone homes with monuments of love, friendship and writings. The citizens of Never learn from childhood that life is in constant decadence, dismemberment and dispossession. They know by the age of three what 63-year old citizens of other homelands can start to conceive. The citizens of Never are a happy lot because any bit of grace dives them in a state of drunkenness.

I am Lebanese by nationality but I was not born in Lebanon.  I was born in Africa and lived there till the age of six before I suffered a near death illness. I spent my childhood in a boarding school; my folks used to visit every two summers.  These rare summers were hectic: my parents did their best to convince me that they were my mother and dad. I used to flee to my home at the boarding school and my parents retrieved me from there. Later, I made vast USA my home for over 20 years of my adulthood and never visited Lebanon due to the war and lack of money. 

Lebanon is the most beautiful land on Earth; in this tiny and compact State you find all the varieties of natural beauty except deserts. I figure that if you lived in a gloomy country, darkening weather, constantly raining or snowing or if you lived in an arid country where fresh flowing water is inexistent and the sun is constantly blinding and burning then your nostalgia for your country is the more acute and everlasting.  For countries of extreme weather conditions all the varieties of natural beauty on earth are just curiosities but never feel home.  The citizens of Lebanon enjoy unbridled liberty, an adjective that describes the financial capitalist freedom to embezzle.  This freedom in Lebanon is characteristic of a non-government or administration; you are totally free to live and die; totally free to demonstrate and criticize since there are no ears to listen to your complaints or act upon them.  Lebanon, the land of water and no potable water reaching the houses; no public electricity; you have got to rely on private providers for all your essential utilities; for quick results you need middlemen for all public service transactions. When Lebanon obtained its “independence” in 1943, forest covered 35% of its superficies; it is now 12%.  Every year many terrible man initiated wild fires eat whole mountain slops: why cut down tree and make coal? Just go there and collect ready-made coal free of charge. The successive governments never found it a wise idea to purchase a single airplane to put down these recurring fires; heck, we have no forest rangers department.

The Lebanese, in this Never land, subconsciously prefer chaos to order; they are not serious about changing their caste system. The Never land “citizens” are great magicians; they want you to believe that the variety of their castes (over 19 castes) is proof of their cultural heritage and their sense of openness but they never communicate with one another; they can be as remote as the Moon in human interrelation; before the audio-visual technologies a few castes were believed to have tails and a few other corns.

The “Neverland” indigenes can convince the World that Lebanon is the Switzerland of the Middle East; they won the first prize in acting all the dramatic roles; the immigrants are trained to exhibit to you long faces and even cry to express nostalgia but they are expert fakers.  This magical Neverland shifts from a glitzy environment to a very conservative climate of women wearing black robes from head to toe within a ten-kilometer drive.  You move from disgusting display of luxury in one location to utter poverty in the blink of an eye within a hundred meter radius. The Capital of Neverland is ranked second after Anver in Belgium as the zaniest, funniest, varied, and modern location for tourists and offering the best culinary choices; the rankers never troubled to investigate if the its indigenes can afford the pleasures displayed in their Capital. The capital Slow Death was re-transformed and re-built to attract the petrodollars visitors and main owners of its high rises and luxurious Hotels.   

            The soul of Neverland is endemically melancholic but its people learned to show off happiness and contentment.  Maybe ancient Lebanon enjoyed the healthy and frugal life style in its mountain villages but that was decades ago. A person has to cater for his soul; it is his responsibility to discover his own set of Truths.  The name of my homeland could be “Never”!

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December 2008

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