A phoenix no more, Lebanon is but a wounded albatross

The stubbornness of some evil-mongers in Lebanon proved to be lethal and contagious

Octavia Nasr

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Lebanon today resembles Baudelaire’s wounded albatross. Unable to spread his giant wings and soar in the vast free skies where he truly belongs, he is exiled on land, wounded, awkward and reduced to a nuisance by ignorant, evil men who shot him for entertainment and now are having fun ridiculing him and his injuries.

For as long as we can remember, Lebanon was referred to as that undefeated Phoenix, always rising from the ashes. Perhaps because people refuse to admit that Lebanon can be erased or broken by anything or anyone. We always imagine it rising from despair and from complete ruin to be its diverse, beautiful self again.

Time has shown us, however, that the Lebanon we know and constantly long for is no longer a viable option. It has ceased to exist a long time ago; but some of us were still hanging on to hope, or naïveté, that the mythical Phoenix shall rise yet again.

Glimmers of hope

Despite the many glimmers of hope over the years that Lebanon could survive its divisive sectarianism, its polarizing politicians and the hateful agendas aiming to destroy its uniqueness, we have seen the fabric of the country change forever with every assassination and with every breath shouting in support of foreign tyrants, lands, ideologies and tongues.

The stubbornness of some evil-mongers in Lebanon proved to be lethal and contagious. Not to mention that those in power, faced with Solomon-style judgment, never behave as the real mother who can let go of her child to save his life, but will cut the baby to ensure their half even if lifeless, irrelevant or just skin and bones.

Lebanon today is the Albatross, shot by men as a sport. They take pleasure in downing a beautiful giant bird free and grand in the sky, only to watch him limp, disabled by its own genius, tripping on its own majesty, exiled among brainless, pretentious, arrogant souls.

They can ridicule him now; they can clip his wings, or reduce him to a limping mass after being the master of the firmament, the king of its own heaven. They will stop at nothing to turn his bliss into debilitating obstacles and disabilities.

When his once giant wings will finally bring him down and prevent him from even walking, this majestic bird’s curse will become a noose around their necks and will haunt them forever. For Lebanon, as it is a heaven on earth to those who love him will forever be an inferno for those who hurt him and its people.

This article was first published in al-Nahar on June 3, 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.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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