Thoughts Of The Diaspora

Known for its food, culture, and wholesome people, Lebanon has become a beacon of life in a region often gripped by death. But for all the good that it is Lebanon, a lining of pain highlights the lives of many its children abroad. With at least million people of Lebanese descent living outside the tiny Mediterranean nation, it dwarfs the country’s current population (estimates put it around the 4million mark)! For many, however, being “of Lebanese descent” isn’t how they actually identify. No, indeed many look back fondly on summers spent in their Sito’s home cramped in a flat that lacked electrify or a working television! But that was the beauty of it all, they often found themselves outside or in the streets sipping Bonjus with their cousins, speaking their native tongue, and just feeling … at home. This portion of the “diaspora,” at times, seems even more willing to live in their homeland if not for patriotic feeling, then at least for the love and joy they associate with it from childhood memories. When their hyphenated titles are mentioned, e.g., Lebanese-American, -Canadian, -Brazilian, etc., etc., they often think of the first part of it. They feel Lebanese. The pain of being away lightens, if only a bit, around this same time every year. Every summer it seems as if thousands flock back to their memories, to their families, and to their country they know and love. They head back to Lebanon and make it known to everyone around them! The time passed since their last visit fades when they make that fateful turn in the airport and see their loved ones, all crowded together to welcome them home. Lebanon, you may be far from perfect, but you hold a place in the hearts of millions around the globe. Different passports may be issued and names might be changed for those who don’t wake up to you, but rest assured that these same people think of you fondly.

Submission by Hussein Shahine

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