Á mon Beyrouth…
There was once a joke, that my little sister told her class, that when God created Lebanon, He gave her beautiful mountains and valleys and hills that he sculpted with his own hands, and He planted them with trees with his own hands. He gave her the sea and the snow, richness of the soil and beauty of the earth. He crafted the land with the rarest flowers, most exotic plants, and an energy in its land that was unknown to man. He wept so that His tears created the purest ponds and springs. When He was done He looked around, and saw that Lebanon was more beautiful compared to the rest of the nations that He created. It was not fair that He should appear to show so much favor to one land over His other lands, and therefore He decided to create something else to make a balance so that the land of Lebanon would not stand out so strongly in comparison to the rest of the earth...And so he gave Lebanon…
Lebanese have a strange way of expressing love for their country. When it comes to politics, they are ever so passionate about voting for people who eventually do nothing. When it come to war, they are ever so passionate about carrying guns or partying in clubs (not that they don’t also do that in times of peace). When it comes to landscape, they are ever so passionate about building massive and plain constructions while destroying our old architecture and archaeology, all done in the name of the benefit of the country, particularly with creating illegal quarries that fund mostly political parties with 80,000 dollars a day, while disturbing mountainous regions in Lebanon that have been untouched for thousands of years.
When it comes to the environment, Lebanese like show their patriotism in many different ways, from throwing garbage outside the car window, to flicking cigarettes on the ground, to dumping their garbage in our forests. (I am not including myself in the equation as I do not do any of those things, and anyone else who doesn’t may exclude themselves as well). Yet the latest failure our government has been responsible of (and yes they are responsible; when you see illegal actions taking place right in front of your face and do nothing, it makes every one of us responsible, no matter how they may decorate it with media and talk and speeches about these illegal wrongdoings. In the end they sit there and do nothing; just wait and see.), today the Qadisha Valley (also known as Wadi Annoubin), is in danger of being removed from the World Heritage list.
I have been there several times, as my grandmother’s village is just above this sacred valley. It is certainly a serene and beautiful place, one that has been used for prayer, pilgrimage and as a security for the persecuted for over centuries. Every Saint known to us has walked through the valley. It was over here, that the essence of one of the main religious sects of Lebanon, was preserved and protected.
Putting religion aside, had it been for any other sect in Lebanon, I would be equally furious, but this matter concerns all Lebanese. I have seen the garbage thrown into the beautiful and icy river of the valley, by idiots on picnics who refused to clean up after themselves. (In Lebanon it is “uncool” to throw things in bins; unless they are taking care of their homes. They don’t acknowledge the outdoor landscape of Lebanon as their home).
We have made a mockery of ourselves while claiming to work for independence, freedom and democracy. We have made fools of ourselves by claiming love to a nation that we care nothing about. Because Lebanese care about nothing other than themselves, as they have done so for thousands of years, otherwise we wouldn’t have only 400 Cedar trees left in this country. We are a people that do not deserve our country, because we do not recognize that it has a soul of its own, that every tree and rock is wiser and more beautiful than the wisest of our people.
Yes, Lebanon does not deserve us.