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Posts tagged ‘Lebanese’

Who’s a Martyr?

If you look through Wikipedia, you find an interesting explanation to the word that has taken over most of our lives in Lebanon:

“In its original meaning, the word martyr, meaning witness, was used in the secular sphere as well as in the New Testament of the Bible.[1] The process of bearing witness was not intended to lead to the death of the witness, although it is known from ancient writers (e.g. Josephus) and from the New Testament that witnesses often died for their testimonies.

During the early Christian centuries, the term acquired the extended meaning of a believer who is called to witness for their religious belief, and on account of this witness, endures suffering and/or death. The term, in this later sense, entered the English language as a loanword. The death of a martyr or the value attributed to it is called martyrdom.

The early Christians who first began to use the term martyr in its new sense saw Jesus as the first and greatest martyr, on account of his crucifixion.[2][3][4] The early Christians appear to have seen Jesus as the archetypal martyr.[5]

The word martyr is used in English to describe a wide variety of people. However, the following table presents a general outline of common features present in stereotypical martyrdoms.

Common features of stereotypical martyrdoms[6]
1. A hero A person of some renown who is devoted to a cause believed to be admirable.
2. Opposition People who oppose that cause.
3. Foreseeable risk The hero foresees action by opponents to harm him or her, because of his or her commitment to the cause.
4. Courage and Commitment The hero continues, despite knowing the risk, out of commitment to the cause.
5. Death The opponents kill the hero because of his or her commitment to the cause.
6. Audience response The hero’s death is commemorated. People may label the hero explicitly as a martyr. Other people may in turn be inspired to pursue the same cause.

Click here for more information. Being a Martyr in Lebanon has a whole different meaning though, it means dead in vain, it’s those that had different views, those that tried to free themselves from bribings, those poor souls that were around these free thinkers. it’s those who lost their lives before their time in drastic turn of events, bombings, gun shots, and random killings.

But I read this interesting post from joestencents where he depicts the lives of the Lebanese in the midst of wars, bomb explosions, and fighting. I fully agree with most of what is written in the post, except a few points that I believe are harder to deal with, or even explain.

In the part “With an opposition with the memory of a goldfish, that feels no implication when their own people are murdered, that continues business as usual when an explosive shakes the city, why would you feel the least bit of resistance? No one is asking you to lock yourself home and cry in your bedroom. But when your people are being bombed, murdered, dismembered… the least you can do is radiate a sense of concern.” I ask you Joe this: how much grieving can a human heart take in before dying out in your body?

I luckily didn’t loose anyone too dear to me in the last car bomb assassination; and I consider myself extremely lucky to have been spared; I never said I erased the names of those that died as well, I grieved for a brief moment, but if I were to grieve in extremes like you propose we do, I think I would have died a couple of years ago due to my heart dissolving.

I know your post comes from a fed-up sense of Lebanon, and I fully agree with you, but if we don’t limit the intake, how can you expect to be able to live a full and healthy life?


There is another part I would like to point out in your post: “When a car bomb exploded earlier in August in Roueiss, some of my European friends messaged me asking me if I was okay, as they had read that a “bomb exploded in the center of Beirut”. That night, I sent them a picture of Uruguay street in Downtown Beirut, bustling with people having a drink and not having a care in the world. Roueiss who?”

In this part you’re generalizing the Lebanese, trying to make them follow your own way of thinking, and even though I agree with you, I have to point out something else; if we were to stop our lives every time a bombing attempt takes place (which unfortunately happens way too often in Lebanon), how do you expect Lebanon, as an economic country, to survive? after all someone needs to keep the work going, people need to go out and use whatever fun the city has to offer to keep their minds off depression, bar owners have a business to run, so do parking lot keepers, bankers, and each and every market. Imagine if it were all to shut down for a couple of days everytime a tragedy hits our country; we’ll stay even more stagnate than we already are and kill all hopes for a better future, making young spirits leave their home even more than they already are, and keep our home a dark nightmare.

My view might be a bit extreme as well, but I like to view all options when looking at my home, especially since I’m still planning on staying here, living here, and raising my kids in the same streets I grew up in. So why not?

I love the idea of a Cedar Revolution, unfortunately I believe that the only way we would be able to do that is by removing all forms of political parties, all forms of outside sources (aka Syria, Saudi Arabia, USA, Iran and all those not 100% Lebanese), and of course all religious divisions before being able to find a crowd of Lebanese all carrying the same flag in their hearts.

So if by any chance you manage to find more people like us, send me a hint, I’ll be there with flowers and hugs, ready to grieve, laugh, love, and share.


Family time

Family reunions, don’t you just hate them sometimes?

I usually enjoy family reunions, seeing all the cousins and family again, sharing stories, and hugs; it always makes you feel good.

Being Lebanese you get used to having a big family, with many cousins, and considering your extended family as part of your close cousins. But being Lebanese also means that most of them don’t live in Lebanon anymore, most travelled to other countries for studies, work, and sometimes for providing a safe-r- environment for their children.

I love family reunions! I’m aware that I just contradicted myself, but I honestly think that there is no way I’ll be able to specify which emotions override the others when it comes to family reunions.

I love seeing my cousins and sharing our different stories, going to parties and crashing at pubs; now yo u won’t know exactly what I’m talking about unless I give you an overview of my family: family = a bunch of extremely different people, many generation gaps, some religious some not, most of them party animals (the kind you’re sometimes ashamed of being seen with publicly, unless you are included in the party animals group). Family = single cousins, married cousins, married with kids cousins, gay cousins, open cousins, and conformist cousins. Family = having all the generations I none area, from the grandparents, to parents, to my generation, to the cousin’s kids’ generation. It is altogether a society of difference living under one family name.

Meet my family! (and good luck with that)

During family reunions you always have different repetitive scenarios: (one way conversations with what I sometimes feel like answering):

1- The older generation: “oh my god how much you’ve grown!” (thanks); did you get into college?!” (you were at my graduation 2 years ago); “how’s work?” “did you get a job? How’s work?” (the usual, it’s work); “you gained a lot of weight! You should start regime/gym” (have you seen yourself?); when will you get married? (oh god why?!!?!); I want you to meet my grandson’s friend, he would be a perfect husband!” (kill me now, please); “why aren’t you eating more? Eat! Eat! If you’re not healthy no one will want you” (didn’t you just say I gained weight?)

2- The uncles and aunts: when will you get married? (oh god why?!!?!); I want you to meet my son’s friend, he would be a perfect husband!” (kill me now, please); “yalla yalla, hurry up we want to see your kids grow, start making babies” (don’t I need to get married first?); how’s the boyfriend/girlfriend? When will we meet him/her?” (why? To scare her/him off or to judge me more?)

3- The cousins: “yooo, let’s get wasted soon!” (okay); “man I got so wasted last night!” (same here); “dude let’s have coffee sometime and catch up” ; “let’s go partay!”; “did you see cousin X’s new look?”; “guess what happened”; etc.

Now the first scenario is the most annoying, being judged by elder generation is the worst family reunions; it’s an endless one way conversation of complaints about what you’re doing, how you look, where you are in your life, and what you’re planning for the future. Though at the same time I enjoy seeing them all, it’s a connection I never want to sever, whatever the risks.

The second scenario is somewhat fun, but also annoying most of the time, they are the ones that believe they have the right to judge you since their kids are your age, but they are doing much better (at least in their opinion) and expect you to be just like them, act one way around family but do whatever you want when with friends (sorry I prefer to stay the same, which sometimes got me the wrath from some uncles and aunts). Some of them are also fun since you’re now old enough to hang with them, listen to their stories, and share a drink. Watching them get wasted is fun too.

The last/third scenario is usually the most interesting one, getting fresh new stories of fu**-ups, random stuff, interesting reads, and of course a good dose of the family gossips. Unfortunately some of these cousins already have kids, so you’ll have to play baby sitter at times as well.

At the end of the day, I can’t help but love them all, even though I hate them most of the time (hate is not the opposite of love, it’s loathing, so they’re safe for now). But dear family, if you are reading this, you should know I still care, cause you’re the only ones that will never let me down.

Cheers to all families around the world.


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