“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light,” said J.K. Rowling. I must say, I tend to argue it, Lebanese as I am, living with constant frustrations in Lebanon. I bet, you too! (I can already envision your fiery comments).
Yet, I can’t deny -in these moments of truthfulness like now- that we do, nevertheless, live bravely, defying all that which pulls us down. How? Here, let me tell you of the Big Four that lift us up when the situation in Lebanon is highly frustrating.
What do our particular Big Four have in common? The Lebanese people! It is a reality we live since probably the onset of our nation. From the people, by the people, and for the people, that’s the Big Four that have brought us out through the harshest of times.
So you get the bad news… You drop everything in your hand (not the phone, surely!) and go texting or Whatsapping almost everyone in your contact list, regardless of their location.
This includes, but is not limited to, all your family members (you find out that Mom texted/called you first), your neighbors, your colleagues, that fellow Ghassan with whom you took a painting course 2 years ago, and Sarah whose only memory you have about is that she used to pick her nose back in grade 4.
You hope for an instant blue that those who didn’t answer you at once are okay, and go on double-checking for replies. And if that’s not the case, you follow it up with a call. The time delay depends on how close you are to this person. Sarah replies, 4 days later, “Dude, I’m on my honeymoon in Bali. Leh shou fi?!“
We know how sad news affect differently each and every one of us, and we try our best to cheer each other up. This can be noticed with people’s interactions around the TV set at home, in the office, or in a restaurant.
With the rise of social media platforms like Facebook, this is mirrored with “sad” emojis, and “angry react” emojis, and comments validating your emotions at the time.
Not only that, but it also shows you who in your network understands you and empathizes, and who you can count on to healthily release some negativity when things go wrong, even if they’re miles away. No, not you, Sarah. You’re on your honeymoon.
After dealing with these difficult experiences, well… It’s whatever works for you. You go for a drink. You go party. You go for a hike. You invite your friends for a da22 likha card game.
And we even go beyond! That which was an outrage of a kind three weeks ago becomes memes and jokes material. You want to LIVE. And you want the whole world to know it. You pack up and go to that vacation in the south of France that you have been dreaming about, and post selfies online like no-tomorrow. Which brings us to….*drum rolls*…:
History has shown: We never surrender. I’ll say it again: WE NEVER SURRENDER.
And this is the most important point of our Lebanese Big Four. Our constant nagging and our angry and depressive posts on social media show nothing but our subconsciously anchored belief that: Yes, things can be better. Yes, our country will rise. At the conscious level, it’s clear. No debate there. We do want things to get better, and we do want our nation to rise.
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