Is peace still possible? Maybe. Can we be apolitical? I don’t know. Is grieving all that’s left?
My glamorous hammer
I believe in world peace
Where we’re all frolicking around
In our itsy-bitsy gowns
I believe in world peace
Where we all dance around
With the foes in the ground
We believe in world peace
Where the hedges and the hammers
Are put to use for our glamour
We believe in world peace
Where the guns are a banner
Of our infantile surrender
I believe in world peace
Where the folly is put to rest
And we all pass the test
I wrote this poem 3 years ago. During a more naive and optimistic period of my life. Life experiences, especially the 2020 Beirut explosion, have tested my belief in peace at times. Today, I think peace is possible (again).
War is the massacre of people who do not know each other, for the profit of people who know each other and do not kill each other.Paul Valéry
In the wake of the current health, political, and economic epidemic facing Lebanon, I find myself at crossroads.
It is increasingly difficult to be apolitical- when the consequences of poor political management are plaguing my country.
Can you grieve a country?
You feel a surge of annoyance. Despair. Hatred.
Likely, you have already experienced, read, or watched- the various stages of grief.
Like, a loved one, grieving a corruption-torn country- comes in waves.
Emotions appear at seemingly unpredictable times.
Some people say the average time to get over bereavement is 6 months. Then, when is the appropriate time to grieve a country?
Unfortunately, there are no APA guidelines for grieving a country.
Upon further inspection, hub words like “PTSD”, “depression”, “anxiety”, are code words for a timeline to grieve a country.
Time is ticking…People are still grieving
Indeed, a trauma, is more or less, attributed to an event. The loss of a country is an event.
However, unlike murder, rape, homelessness, death, a country- may include all the above.
It is an event that is neither marked in the past, present, or future. Since the future is uncertain.
A corruption-torn country points people’s aggression, pain, emotions to their political alliances, the aggressor, the enemy.
Misguided emotions. Nobody sane wishes for war. Unless it is for the greater good.
Should we destroy a place to fix it?
In the face of an unquestionable dilemma, that does not discriminate on the pretty, the ugly, the tall, the fat, the rich- it is difficult to place the blame on one party only.
Everybody is scared. Everybody wants somebody to blame.
You see, we need enemies to filter our anger towards something. Someone. Anyone. Anything.
Rage. We deserve to rage. We deserve to rage for the hundreds who died. The homeless.
Rage. We deserve to rage for the countless deaths by police brutality around the world.
But, who are we raging against?
Our fellow brothers, sisters, neighbors, and parents.
Grieving the fallen means honoring their memory.
Are we becoming extremists?
The more extreme our opinions become- the bigger the divide between people.
We are all just trying to make sense of this changing environment.
People are just trying to make sense of “losing their country”. Is it survival instinct?
Some wish for colonization. If you can’t beat them join them.
Others look to stick to the status quo. The devil I know is better than the devil I don’t.
Then there are the lurkers. Standing in the shadows. Uncertain of which side to stand on.
Conservatism vs. Change
But, what we all have in common, we are fighting for validation- by people who do not know us.
- By people, who do not see us.
- By people, who survive on our anger and distrust of one another.
In my hometown, it’s those who are mostly pro-revolution vs. people who want things to stay the same.
But, we all are just trying to make sure we take another step on our land.
I am not saying we shouldn’t have opinions. We are entitled to them.
However, let’s not fight each other for people, who are paid to stand. People who are paid to smile– while they kill us.
Do not kill your personality
For, you see, a conservative/traditional politician would not survive without a liberal competitor.
The imminent threat of disappearing – fuels their identity and the reason for their political party to continue.
Likewise, in Lebanon, our warlords, enemies, all need each other to justify their existence.
Do not be taken by rage. Hence, do not kill your neighbor. Do not kill your personality.
Do not kill your soul for people you will never meet.
Do not lose your compassion for others, by believing statements like, an X party member, does not have feelings.
They are not human. So, it is ok for me to hurt them.
While a person’s stance may go against your very belief, they too may believe they are protecting a sacred thing.
They also believe they are sacrificing for their constitution.
Stand with human rights. Stand with your emotions.
But, do not fall for the trap- of NOT stopping to listen to the other side.
For when you stop listening– then you too are brainwashed and brain dead.
Why you should question your ideals.
Asking critical questions about your political stance or party – does not have to negate its existence.
Why do we make things: all or nothing? With me or against me.
When you feel like you cannot even critique your alliances- then, you have set an unrealistic bar.
If you believe in religion, you know that God tested even the best of his saints.
If you believe in science, you know that the theory of gravity was tested many times.
If you believe in psychology, you know that cocaine was once prescribed as the cure for addiction. However, now people go to prison or rehab for it.
If you believe in emotions, you know that your emotions can be tested- your love can change.
You go from loving to hating. From being loved to (un)loved.
Are we ever really right or correct?
Essentially, nothing is absolute. So don’t, fall for the trap that you are absolutely right. Then, you know that you are wrong.
Indeed, a path for dictators, monsters, and sadists exists.
The creation of these people is only a representation of a hole in our school of thought. Something in our theory was overlooked.
Maybe, it is the product of years of neglect by a state. Or years, of systematic oppression? Economic divide?
The list goes on and on.
At times, even monsters have an iota of logic. Since everyday people join them.
Instead, of simply shunning those who follow what we deem morally incorrect – we should seek to understand them.
To illustrate, deep hurt or emotion- led them to strongly hold on to their position. Just like your defense of the oppressed is the same.
You’re apolitical, so what?
Honestly, I understand both sides of this debate.
Some people think being apolitical means you are part of the reason people are suffering. You’re racist. Ageist. Sexist. Privileged. You don’t care.
Others believe if they pick sides, they will always harm someone. They don’t agree with anyone.
What can you do? I still don’t know the answer to that. But I believe we need to listen more.
Do not ignore the people you do not understand
But to ignore them may be the symptom that brought us all to this point.
Shh, stop talking. Ouch, nobody likes being silenced.
Is there a future in Lebanon?
In conclusion, if we stop debating, explaining, and testing, we will never move forward.
That is when we will truly be grieving our country for good.
In a way, verbal fighting and exchanges are needed to ensure a future in Lebanon.
Yes, I still believe in peace. I know I am naive and maybe delusional.