A brief reflection on Independence Day
On this day of remembrance, let us shut up for a moment and reflect on its significance.
Now, we all have this friend or family member who will complain about how Lebanon isn’t all that independent and we all have that other friend or family member who is already painting his face red, white and green with zealous pride. We also happen to have a third person who simply does not care. But I’m not interested in these three. We see them all too often. I want to talk about that fourth person, the one in the corner, the one you’ve been ignoring all along.
That person is naive, we’re told. A dreamer, an Idealist. He (or She, of course, but let’s keep it simple) does not understand how this country really works. He is told that its problems are beyond the natural, that somehow Lebanon is on some Sectarian-only cloud way up high and that trying to change that would be like trying to catch smoke with bare hands.
We see the parade. We see our leaders shaking hands. But no one us is naive enough to think that anyone is genuinely celebrating independence. We all have a ‘but’ somewhere hidden beneath our fake collectively-Botoxed smile. We all have something to complain about. Complaining, mind you, is something we are extremely good at. Doing something about it is, obviously, another question. Not doing anything leaves us in the comfort zone, that familiar furnished and sealed residential complex with private security, ready to shoot at any unsettling thought that even dares to enter. The beggar, the idealist, the moron is left outside to freeze in the cold, along with Lebanon.
I’ve never been a patriot. I’ve always agreed with Tolstoy who defined it as the principle that will justify the training of wholesale murderers. That being said, I can safely say that my intentions with Lebanon are, by far, superior than a good deal of its so-called patriots. I talk of the fanatical Sunni or Maronite or Shi’a who will not hesitate before jumping on the Lebanon-destructing bandwagon. We are left with a paradoxical situation where Lebanon would benefit more from an Anti-Patriot than from a thousand Patriots.
So for all those who celebrate the 22nd of November as a happy day worthy of remembrance and for all those who complain for the sake of thinking inside the box, I would advice you to start paying attention to the fourth person. He has a lot to tell you. He’s seen a lot and heard a lot and is ready to do something about it. The position he’s in takes a lot of courage and you can not afford to ignore him any longer.
For the third person who does not care, your silence is becoming louder and louder.
It is time.