Saturday, May 27, 2006

My Lebanon 2006

يا لا لا، عيني يا لا لا لا، يا جمال بلادي يا جمالا، من قلبي وروحي بهواها، بالدّنيا ما برضى بدالا

عا لبنان لاقونا، اشتقنا وطالت غيبتنا
كلّ الناس سبقونا، ليش بقينا بغربتنا؟

عا لبنان بدنا نرجع مهما طالت غيبتنا
وبلبنان عيني بتدمع وبتشكي من غربتنا
يا عين خبّي دمعاتك، جايين بكرا وحياتك
جايين عا ربوعك نزرع كرمتنا بمحبّتنا

غبنا وبالرّوح ما غبنا
تبنا والشّوق توّبنا
عن هجر بلادنا تبنا والله بيقبل توبتنا

لبنان عندي شوفتو بكلّ الدني
تمنّيت عيش العمر بحضنو الهني
حبّ الوطن أغلى أماني بالقلوب
والأماني كنز بالقلب الغني

Poems: Zaki Nassif, songs performed by Sabah and Wadi El Safi
Pictures: Zouk Mikael, Jounieh, Jbeil, Beirut, Kesrouwan mountains

I’ve been trying to write an intelligent posting about my trip to Lebanon for almost two weeks now and I still can’t put my true feelings on paper. The experience was incredible and overwhelming; more than what I bargained for.

I basically spent my time with people I missed all these years: uncle and cousins, neighbours, and friends, and God too :) I visited a few places that I used to visit regularly. I also had the chance to visit Mom’s hometown Jezzine where we used to spend the summers when I was a kid; it had been 24 years since I last visited.

How would you feel when you see that you can still rely on your neighbour to help you remove an oil stain from your shirt? When a neighbour remembers your favourite dessert and makes it especially for you? When a friend still remembers the date you left the first time and celebrates the mass every year that day with you in his prayers? When an old man on his deathbed is happy to see you and still has loving fatherly words to say to you? When an uncle wants you to use his towel so he can still smell you after you leave and who prepares your Nescafe every morning? When your cousin gives up her bed and cell phone for the whole duration of your stay with them? When your friends are still loyal to the friendship you once had which for them never died, and they still love you unconditionally even when you didn’t keep in touch as often as you should have? When a whole town of people smile when you pass by because they know who you are? If this is not what one can call “Home”, I don’t know what “Home” is.

Here's something I wrote a few days ago to a friend in an email:
“I came to a point where I’m definitely sure that finding myself anywhere else is almost impossible. It is an incredible feeling of belonging that I can't explain when I’m home in Zouk, in Lebanon. With all its problems, restrictions, troubles and hardship of life’s simplest matters, Lebanon is HOME and I’m comfortable with it all. I don't know what I'm made of, but that's me and I'm not fighting it anymore, mesh 7erzeneh. Weird feeling but so beautiful!”

Something in my chest is missing since I came back, but I know it is where it belongs... where I belong.