Symbols of the two major religions stand side by side in downtown Beirut
Part of working on a current project about Lebanon, I was caused to rediscover my home country. So during a period of 4 weeks, I travelled the small country from North to South and East to West and I managed to fall passionately in love with it all over again.
Passion lives in Lebanon, it lives in its people, in its rich history, in its food, its music, its villages, its cities and even in its politics.
I call Lebanon an enigma because it absolutely makes no sense. Why would you love a country that is always on the verge of war, where the politicians are mostly corrupt, where electricity is still a part time luxury, where the citizens litter on a daily basis, where people think me first, me last, me, me, me…
I love it because there is something else there that is much deeper than all of the shortcomings that plague Lebanon.
Lebanon is breathtaking landscape. Lebanon is passionate people. Lebanon is deep religious beliefs. Lebanon is unparalleled generosity and hospitality. Lebanon is strong family values despite the recent breakdowns in family structure. Lebanon is so special that I know no one who visited it and did not fall in love with it and dream of going back.
I was sometimes standing in random places, on a shop counter, a fishing boat, a street at night, with an old man selling gardenias, with a child in an alley; and I felt this strong sense of bliss and was surprised to feel a very wide smile on my face that spread happiness down to my very core. And then to look over to the person in front of me each time and see that same smile on their face right there, for no special reason, just the peace that comes with existing, with living, with feeling passion.
I will be dedicating my blog to Lebanon for the next few weeks. It deserves no less.
Statue of the martyrs in downtown Beirut, still filled with bullet holes from recent clashes