Lebanon: The pride of my heart

The landscape of south Lebanon (Arjan El¬†Fassed)

To all of you who sent messages and emails of concern and support, and who called my family in the US to make sure I am safe. I am so, so touched. What can I say - I am living a nightmare. Just last week, Lebanon was expecting 1.6 million tourists, a record number since before the civil war. We were expecting $4.4 billion to be injected into our economy. Now it’s in shambles. Imagine a militia in the US that acts on its own and kidnaps two Candian soldiers, imagine Canada in response bombing our ports, roads, bridges, residences, neighborhoods - killing US citizens, destroying lives, creating refugees … stopping life. Lebanese did not want this war … we are fed up; we have no voice.

I finally got to the Internet after days of being locked up inside … ohh - bombs just went off again; funny - no one seems to react anymore, not even me. I’ve grown used to it. My friend is in the US military and he told my brother that Israel will begin to bomb all of Beirut very soon. Madness … no words to express the feelings of my destroyed heart. He is here looking for me, trying to reach me, trying to protect me … trying to get me out of here, but I don’t want to leave. As a Lebanese, yes, I am an extreme patriot willing to stay here and fight it out with my people. As an American, I am ashamed and disgusted at my president’s cowardly acts. We are stuck in the middle, between two forces, both vowing to persist in their futile cause - both sources of hate, violence, extremism, and fanaticism. Both feed on the fears of their people, brainwashing them. We are drowning, no one cares to save us …

Life has crumbled in my beloved country as she becomes hostage to an unwanted war. The bombs are falling mercilessly, and no signs of relent seem to be in store.

I taste the bloodshed, I see the destruction, I feel the anguish - I can smell the ashes. I hear the screams and the aggression. How much longer until this passes?

The weight of war and the pain of injustice - must they befall Lebanon one more time? Must she endure the dirt of politics and be forced to face these heinous crimes?

We are calling for help! Can you not hear? Or is the sound of the war planes drowning our cries? Children are dying! Is it not clear? Or are your own selfish interests blinding your sight?

Oh, where is the courage and dignity of man? Is Lebanese life so worthless? Who will rise up and take a stand, to protect humanity and fight injustice?

My country is being ripped to shreds, raped and robbed of her rights. How many more must be dead before you listen to our plight?

May this reality not persist much longer. May Lebanon rise once again. May we emerge victorious and stronger More unified and stable than we’ve ever been.

With bridges, roads, and ports rebuilt, we will begin anew. Let the world live with the burden of guilt while we raise our heads high, with resilience so true.

Lebanon, my faith in you is ever so deep. From you, I cannot bear to part. You stand for resistance and dignity. Forever, the jewel of my life and the pride of my heart.

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Zeina Saab was born in Lebanon in 1984 and moved to the US with her family in 1987. She has lived in California for the past 15 years and recently graduated from the University of California - San Diego with a major in International Studies and a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. This fall, she plans to join the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT and focus on city planning and conflict resolution in post-conflict societies, specifically in Lebanon, Palestine, and Israel.