The Ever-Evolving World Through Her Eyes

A Much Needed Update
May 22, 2008, 3:15 pm
Filed under: lebanon | Tags: , , ,

So I’m sitting at Younes, a favorite cafe of mine in Hamra Beirut, rocking out to Tupac and trying to catch up on school work. A week off right before finals, was not very conducive to the University schedule. The day is a sweaty one, only 75 degrees, but the humidity is a blanket on days like these, where condensation forms on the driest of surfaces. My thoughts are all wrapped up and intertwined with the haziness of the day.

I remember the day things were starting to change, when the leaders in Lebanon and the Arab League decided to work for a solution in Doha, Qatar, my boyfriend, Nadim, picked me up at my apartment. The music in the car sang sweetly after days of tension and unrest, feeling trapped in four meters by four meters, balancing responses of a tangible fear and unease, and other responses of “this is Lebanon.” But why does, strife, fear, political instability, civil war, war, war, fighting, gun shots, have to be what Lebanon is? Yes Lebanon has experienced all of those things and history should not just be wiped from all the pages and all the hearts that experienced it. Is it reasonable to think that after experiencing so many crisis situations, so much upheaval, a civil war, that you can still be shocked by political instability that leads to contagious violence? I would like to think that I will always be ‘shocked’ or moved or whatever the proper word is, by injustices, but is that possible?

The world has an effect on us all, it calluses our hearts so as to cope and operate ‘more effectively.’ Our senses are dulled to our everyday lives, so that our days are productive, and quick. If we experienced everything to the fullest degree at every moment of life, we would never get anything done and I have a feeling we would be fairly overwhelmed. But when do our ways of coping become debilitating, or rather when we create these coping mechanisms are we losing more of our humanity?

Well, in the meantime life has resumed in Lebanon. The flowers are the definition of radiant, they are a symbolism of life- pinks, whites, reds, blues, and purple. Purple. I’ve never seen such fierce purples in my life. No wonder the color of the goddesses in the middle- east was purple. Trees of purple flowers lined the streets leading to Sanayeh – the largest park/forest in Beirut- petals float down with an effortless that contradicts the weight of the days. For some reason it reminded me of the Army officer I saw walking to Hamra, he slung his gun over his arm with an effort of the world, as if this gun was the heavier than anything he had ever carried. It was the heaviest thing we’ve ever carried. This world, these advances in technology, bring us further down a clouded road of more heavy things.

The days have moved on and the city is bustling as ever, where just a few days previous it was somewhat of a ghost town trying to remember what it was to be alive. It seems that we should have a president by this sunday, after 18 months of not. What’s more is the tents that have inhabited Beirut’s downtown in protest, should also be packing up soon.

Is this a solution? Or just a bandage on a very deep wound? I think that Lebanon needs to not only put a bandage on, or stitch up the many wounds, or apply countless salves, Lebanon needs to confront the why these wounds happen? It seems we are in an age where the whole world is applying more salves and bandages without considering the bigger systemic problems.


5 Comments so far
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Thank you for your insight into these trying times sweet girl… you are an inspiration to us all here at home. Do well in school, keep safe, and inshallah you will bring home the most beautiful flower in Lebanon… YOU.



Comment by Chris Wood

As I read your account, I sit beside you by the ocean and under the trees and smell the flowers while the soldier carrying his burden floats by ~ sending you and lebanon my deepest prayers of love and light. one planet, one people, one love – immi

PS your comment was unfinished xox

Comment by Immi

Dear Shadia,

And I don’t mean that as a “to shadia” but to actually call you dear, your words and your ability to capture what is going on around you is inspirational. I saw your note the other day, so I took a bit of time to read over all of your entries and see what life has been keeping you busy with. I think it’s so wonderful that you feel such a heavy attachment to “your home” and that you are able to live and breathe with it. The sorrow filled days you have experienced having surely kept you from becoming apathetic which is the disease of American kids as we know it.

I’m taking this class at my school right now, it’s a humanities class, required because we’re a liberal arts college, but I’m actually finding a sort of fascination with it. Right now we are reading John Locke and his theories of governing and such. One of the things he said is that the government should be appointed by the people, but if they are to fall into a “state of nature” where they become purely selfish and animalistic to protect their personal rights, instead of taking care of the rights of all the people like they were elected to do, than the people should have the right to revolt. And that makes me sad. Because through that lense, well we shouldn’t settle for anything less than our needs met, for the US, or for Lebanon. But your right, what level of disturbance, of violence, is really necessary to try and provide what should be so naturally attainable to us. As human beings…

Your entries are very humbling, and I am glad you have found a nice boy while your there. I hope he’s wonderful to you. And I hope that you are remaining careful as you are precious cargo and a wonderful wonderful person.

Take care Shadia
Much love,

Comment by Alicia

Dear Shadia,
Your MOM was kind enough to give me your blog address when I expressed my concern for your saftey when the most recent unrest erupted in Lebanon. I know that you are doing alright because of this blog and your Mother’s updates.
You are living through some history that many of us can only begin to imagine. Sometimes these eye openers are what drives people toward change. You are a doer. You always have been. I remember when you and Hayley were very young going to our government’s institutions and expressing your views for change. Even then you both were doers. That was the cultivation ground for who you have become and who you will be. It is a drive that many are not strong enough of spirit to handle. I have great faith that you will come home to us with great knowledge that change is the only way that things can come to the “middle ground”; that place of balance.
You and Hayley were gifts to our families. We have been graced with your places in our lives and as you were gifts to us , we have given you as gifts to the world. We have not expected as much as you have given us, we only know that we will be amazed at what you will give the world a step at a time.
I will close with a quote from someone I admire, Margaret Meade, to someone else I admire (you):

” Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”.

Live safley, come home safely. We Love you Shadia. Emmy

Comment by Emmeline Carpenter

Shadia, beautiful girl
i talked to your brother last night and he reminded me of you, just the sight and then the sound, and then most definitively when he said “Shadia’s coming home in mid-july.” i can’t wait to see you and give you a long overdue hug and listen to everything.
i have a friend i dance with who only wears purple clothes. her bags, shirts, dress, all violets and deep purples. and coincidentally she is always happy.
i love you and wish this was longer. shannon.
ps. my camera broke.

Comment by Shannon

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