I left my native Lebanon to New York City back in 1987. The war was still raging and the political and economic situations were highly unstable if not volatile. Today, almost 27 years later, the Lebanese struggle with rationed electricity, unstable economic and political situations, living on the brink of another war, receiving a flood of refugees from another neighbor and the only difference from then to now is how much thicker the pockets of our political leaders are getting. Corruption is their religion and money their God. How will the web of greed be ever dismantled?
Since the 7th century in China, Opium was ingested for medicinal purposes and never smoked. Then in the 17th centurycame the Europeans and introduced the mixing of opium with tobacco to be smoked making it the most addictive practice among the Chinese. This led to the two famous opium wars and after several attempts from the Chinese to ban the import of opium, attacks on the shores of China by the British and eventually several treaties that according to historical accounts marked the beginning of the century of humiliation of this Asian nation.
Today, everywhere you look, people, young and old are smoking tobacco on the streets of China.
Each time I go back to Lebanon I find myself stunned again and again at the amount of talent, creativity and ‘ability to do’ that lives in the Lebanese people. These are people that love life so much that they can celebrate it in a million unique ways. But the greatest mystery of all and the most difficult thing to understand is how a country of bright minds can allow corruption to still rule the day. For example, in Lebanon today and since the end of the civil war in 1991, homes still have to tolerate unreasonable rationing and live without power for several hours every day. Those in charge blame it on the aftereffects of the war and people have no choice but to live with fabrications that not only rob them of their rights but also lock them into impossible situations that limit their capabilities to express their fountain of creativity. I know that corruption finds fertile ground in almsot all developing countries, but it hurts endlessly to see it infecting my beloved jewel of the middle east.
photo taken: small boy in window~ North Lebanon
Lebanon’s location and unique geography and natural resources make it appear like a delicious pie that every passer-by dreams of grabbing a part of. Throughout history and since the days of the Phoenicians, Lebanon was forced to endure influences and occupations by Alexander the Great, the Roman Empire, the coming of Christianity for the Galilee, the Crusades of the Middle Ages, the Mamluks of Egypt bringing Islam to the region, the rule of the Ottoman Empire, the Maans, the Shihabs, then later the French Mandate over Lebanon and Syria and finally after the Arab-Israeli conflict, parts of Lebanon were invaded and occupied by both Israel and Syria until this very day.
And despite all of this Lebanon stands as unique as it ever was, as the jewel of the middle east, proud, beautiful, full of life, effervescent!
This particular and ancient truth has been quite upfront lately in world affairs. Somehow this ancient lesson is being applied and demonstrated repeatedly in the last few years from events in Iran, to Egypt, to Yemen, and to most recently the current events in Syria. I am normally not someone who is drawn to writing, commenting or thinking too much about politics, but I do look at this issue in terms of trends happening in the world. And this recent phenomenon of people coming together and protesting a valid cause, an injustice or an oppressive regime, is becoming the way these nations forcing their way into reformation.
And this concept works just the same within our minds. One of the biggest enemy of our personal development is dispersion and conflicting thoughts. Somehow a magnetic force is needed to align our thoughts to all face in one direction, towards our purpose and away from our past patterns. Only then are we able to draw on enough inner strength to overcome hurdles and obstacles in our way and to reform our old ways of going on.
photo: potpourri twigs tied in a bundle from Ikea 🙂