What is happening in Beirut is shameful. I am not talking of politics because I honestly do not understand it. What I understand is the series of visits I had starting the summer of 2004 until my recent visit there few days ago.
In the summer of 2004 I visited Beirut in order to go to Beiteddine festival to attend “Hokom al Rou’yane” (Reign of the Shepherds). The play was about a despotic king who refuses to submit to the will of the people. The elegance with which the event was organized was impeccable. “Hokom al Rou’yane” was an ironic foreshadowing to what was to transpire during the following few months.
At that summer of 2004 Beirut should have adorned an evil eye because everyone was envious. Why do the Lebanese do what they do so well and how do they do it? That was an enigma to me and I bet to all the visitors who were filling the streets, the hotels, the nightclubs, the restaurants, and every quaint corner of that magnificent city. The excitement was in the air. The Lebanese were happy to see their darling city back and the visitors felt privileged to be hosted by such beautiful people.
Few visits followed and the awe was always there until that ugly day in February of 2005. One of the very few role models that all the Arabs or maybe mankind could claim fell victim to the most brutal fate. Until that time politics in Lebanon was dismissed as a matter of passing headlines here and there. We never worried that our newfound refuge would deteriorate at the speed it did. The events that followed were similar to watching a loved one suffer from a sudden terminal disease. I watched helplessly, while my heart was filled with sadness and extreme fear of loss.
Don’t the Lebanese see what is happening to their country? Is it really a matter of a despotic ruler not following the will of its people? Or is a matter of despotic powers wanting this child to succumb to their will? Is the conflict in Lebanon today a dialectical fight between good and evil? Or is it a fight over dialects?
If it is a matter of dialectics, then the synthesis of good and evil will only result in more evil. And if it is a matter of dialects, isn’t it time we remember that we all speak the same language?