In expressing her love to Kuwait, and on the occasion of the recent celebrations of Kuwait independence and liberation, Nisrin Abu Karam, the Lebanese embassy’s chargé d’affaires decided to hold a beautiful ceremony to take part in Kuwaiti festivals, and as far as I know it was unprecedented and a wonderful initiative.
The ceremony included the Lebanese oral folk and Nabati poetry, and a special participation by the colleague Iqbal Al-Ahmad, in which she expressed in her own way what Lebanon means to her. Some of the old members of the Lebanese community in Kuwait also gave speeches about their experiences. I gave a short speech on that occasion, in which I spoke about my long relationship with Lebanon, which dates back more than 60 years.
Inspired by this occasion, I was inspired by these words: All the ancient Arab capitals, including Beirut, collapsed and are in their current shapes and conditions which have nothing to do with their previous condition. Beirut of Muslims and Christians, was a beautiful thing someday, but it has become divided and full of stories of sadness and pain, killed by traffic congestion and the loss of millions of hours wasted in its narrow alleys and worn out streets, its wet and suffocating air polluted by various kinds of fumes, let alone the power blackouts which lasts for almost half a day and every day and undrinkable water.
Despite all this, we feel its old and fragrant history, it is old but it is worth listening to and enjoy it and fall in love with its freedoms, and fancy its antique and distinctive restaurants, and incomparable services despite the damages caused by inconsiderate people, thugs and arrogant politicians.
In Beirut alone, you do not feel that you are in a Muslim or Christian city, in peace it is a homeland for all. In it, the opposite sects, cultures, religions and civilizations coexist. It is the city of the most elegant and thrilled people, and most of the cities in the number of beggars, most of whom are fraudulent.
Beirut does not know the grey color; that is to say, either to love it strongly, or hate it strongly, it is the city of best doctors, and the most fraudulent, the best universities next to the shops of education, the best and worst hospitals. Beirut was known when the dollar was worth 2 and a quarter lira, and when the dollar exchange rate reached three thousand lira before settling at 1,500, and we do not know what will happen to the lira if the governor of the central bank leaves office.
If you know something, or think you are familiar with it, you will find someone who understands more than you, even in your specialty. And if you do not understand, you will find who shares with you his little understanding. It is Beirut, with its violence, beauty and ruined spaces, and its fierceness even with its most loyal people, and its love for the stranger is known, this is its value; it is the title of love, and joy and eves and more.
Beirut is the time, is the shelter of the homeless, it is the summit of people of creativity, and it is the hope for its people. For me its Fatma, the University, Terez, Mona, Kaby, Stephan, Philip and Claude, Hassan, Camille, Hamra cafes, Rousha bars, the Commodore flats, Beit Al-Seidawi, Fawaz family and the university hospital, and all the companions whom I love.
Note: I mentioned in an article last Monday that late Marzouk Marzouq was a member of the People’s Committee to collect funds. The fact is that Uncle Marzouk is alive. We apologize to him and his family for this error, and wish him a speedy recovery and long life.