Lebanese singer Fairuz’s song “The North’s Sad Nights” best expresses the situation of families in Akkar and Tripoli who miss their loved ones who perished in Indonesia’s sea. They are the martyrs of poverty, misery and deprivation. They were dreamers of a better tomorrow. They’ve longed for an Arab Lebanese Spring their entire lives. They perhaps don’t care about regional politics and they probably don’t care about the phone call made between American president Barack Obama and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rowhani. The only thing that concerns regarding that phone call is their wish that the security situation at the borders with Syria stabilizes and that the Syrian shelling of their towns comes to an end so smuggling operations can be resumed and they can attain goods for cheap prices. They’re concerned with small things that vanquish huge dreams.
The North’s sad nights did not materialize overnight. They are a result of accumulated negligence that dominates most faraway areas in Lebanon. This talk has become boring for these areas’ residents. They repeatedly hear it. Promises made by ministers who visit them accumulate amidst media coverage but they evaporate once the visits come to an end.
This is the case of most Lebanese people’s chronic tragic reality. Perhaps what is happening in Tripoli and Sidon, and what recently happened in Baalbek and many other places, is what drives many Lebanese people to emigrate.
The North’s sad nights did not materialize overnight. They are a result of accumulated negligenceNayla Tueni
Emigration had increased to the point where some people are prepared to say that those who remained behind are the losers who didn’t have the opportunity to travel. It is as if they want to smash what silver lining is left. And most importantly, it is as if they want to eliminate the concept of steadfastness in the face of conspiracies aiming to alter Lebanon’s image and displace its real citizens who accept their foggy destiny.
Sad nights are not only limited to the north. They’ve snuck into every house, every town, every city and every governorate. Sad nights have scorched all parties and sects. The Lebanese have not learnt from their bitter experiences. On the contrary, you see them on high alert for their suicidal wars, for fatal absurd struggles, for participating in other parties’ wars on Lebanese territory and for participating in wars in other countries.
This article was first published in Lebanon-based Annahar on Oct. 2, 2013.
Nayla Tueni is one of the few elected female politicians in Lebanon and of the two youngest. She became a member of parliament in 2009 and following the assassination of her father, Gebran, she is currently a member of the board and Deputy General Manager of Lebanon’s leading daily, Annahar. Prior to her political career, Nayla had trained, written in and managed various sections of Annahar, where she currently has a regular column. She can be followed on Twitter @NaylaTueni