I survived their Lebanon
We need new leaders, new visions and new modes of operation
My latest trip to Lebanon began in a difficult place as the negativity emanating from Beirut continues to build up thanks to an internal political impasse heightened by regional threats of a bloody spillover.
Things changed as if by divine intervention to restore some faith in the country and the few good people remaining in it.
Maybe I must credit the Beirut sun and moon for shining upon me and comforting me like they did in a bygone era.
The healthy Lebanon we seek belongs to the youngOctavia Nasr
The locals I came in contact with were kind and talkative, making sense for the first time in a long time. Just like in an ancient time, various cultural differences mixed together in a warm and welcoming melting pot.
The Muslim proudly called me back after he finished his prayer.
The Christian boasted about the beautiful Christmas decoration as she expressed gratitude for the spirit of the season.
The Druze welcomed me with open arms.
The atheist loved me like I'm the only being in the world.
The Armenian tenderly cradled me.
The trusted friend who had lost all hope before, expressed a genuine belief that it's all going to be fine.
Somehow they all came together in a chanting prayer of peace and hope for a better tomorrow despite all existing hate and ugliness.
It is as if we collectively realized we are not different, we're just ignorant sometimes, selfish at other times, even imbeciles for not appreciating what we have.
We need new leaders, new visions and new modes of operation. The healthy Lebanon we seek belongs to the young and it is waiting for them at the top of mountains, in valleys, prairies and elsewhere in nature. Lebanon does not have industries to brag about except for hospitality and tourism. It does not manufacture cars, weapons or rockets but it has brains that are second to none and it makes a mean plate of tabbouleh. Its apples, cherries and figs will make anyone jealous. Lebanese minds are scattered around the world moving and shaking all fields while back home petty politicians trade cheap blows and hold a nation hostage.
I am grateful to this last visit because it awakened me to the truth that we are lovers of life and warriors of light and that there are many of us. We are the keepers of this land and no one should even dream of taking that away from us. This is not a time to be desperate and quit, it is a time to hang on to what we believe in, lift each other up and carry on. Only by hanging on to our Lebanon, can we survive theirs.
This article was first published in al-Nahar on December 1, 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.
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