The Lebanese are loved as a people over the world but loathed as groups, militias, and terrorists. This fact is not easy to grapple with, but essential to dealing with our differences and moving on.
The Lebanese have traveled the world spreading ancient wisdom, a rich culture and unique characteristics. People love our food, how could they not? The Lebanese cuisine competes with the world’s best culinary offerings. Lebanese talent has put its mark on science, entertainment, journalism, literature, business, entrepreneurship, and politics globally. We are a smart people. There is no doubt about that.
The healing starts when we admit to ourselves that we are more different than we are alike. The reason why we can’t talk to each other is because we are different beyond reconciliation. You cannot love life and love death at the same time.Octavia Nasr
We are also some of the most challenged people. We are masters of the double standard and we live on past glories. We praise the successes of others and alienate ourselves with failures -- rarely do we wish each other success. All the while, we fail to spend the necessary time building our own successes and rebounding from our own failures.
We have ambassadors everywhere from Mars to the moon to the seven seas and from pole to pole. We conquer the highest summits and the lowest points on earth, proudly planting a cedar etched with our beautiful flag.
At the same time, others drag us down daily to quagmires of servitude and slavery. Those are mud-lovers, death seekers, and believers in conspiracies.
When I wonder why I never give up on Lebanon despite all the warnings from governments asking their nationals to stay away citing security concerns, I remember all the beautiful souls and the creative minds that carry in them so much talent, so much ingenuity and so much beauty to share with the world.
The healing starts when we admit to ourselves that we are more different than we are alike. The reason why we can’t talk to each other is because we are different beyond reconciliation. You cannot love life and love death at the same time. We cannot love peace and love war at the same time. You cannot love freedom and seek slavery simultaneously.
We are two different forces pulling in opposite directions. We won’t stop pulling until one force wins over the other. I choose life, creativity, advancement, peace, love, and freedom. That’s my Lebanon. The other side of Lebanon, whose existence I acknowledge but do not and will never support, I will fight it until my last breath.
This article was first published in al-Nahar on Jan. 27, 2014.
Multi-award-winning journalist Octavia Nasr served as CNN’s senior editor of Middle Eastern affairs, and is regarded as one of the pioneers of the use of social media in traditional media. She moved to CNN in 1990, but was dismissed in 2010 after tweeting her sorrow at the death of Hezbollah’s Mohammed Fadlallah. Nasr now runs her own firm, Bridges Media Consulting, whose main aim is to help companies better leverage the use of social networks.
- Al-Qaeda-linked ISIS opens branch in Lebanon
- Syria conference misses hard lessons from Lebanon
- Lebanon still seeking the truth
- Five killed by snipers in Lebanon’s Tripoli
- Saad Hariri says he will return to Lebanon for elections
- Explosion rocks Hezbollah’s Beirut stronghold
- Lebanon’s March 14, here are our demands
- The Special Tribunal for Lebanon sets judicial standards