There are things that I can live with, others that I cannot. There are things that are evanescent, others that ink you or in other words, leave a print; ripples that leave you either content or plain distressed to the point of frustration.
I am a Lebanese citizen and it is only fair to say that I am proud of being part of a culture that is the epitome of paradoxical thinking. We embody the full open-mindedness, religious commitment, order, chaos, education and illiteracy. Yet, paradoxes are confusing and since chaos is a major ingredient, things always unravel in hilariously tragic ways.
Let us forget the civil war that left us stranded in the Dark Ages, the tyrannical years that followed, the attempts at actually getting back on our feet and the present that is as close to success as china is to my own apartment. My concern and our concern reside in the method that most of our issues are being handled, most notably the rubbish dispute (literally) and the environmental impact that we have been experiencing for years.
Every Lebanese person dreams of owning a piece of land, I do too, I am Lebanese and I should know better that owning a piece land is a surefire way to ensure a better financial future; however, most Lebanese men or women (there are many exceptions) dream of cutting down the trees that seem to be occupying the land for no apparent reason and of burning those shrubs to the ground only to be followed by a thorough and harsh invasion of the forest, excavation of the underlying rock formations, exploitation of the soil and finally the construction of a block of concrete that is as ugly as any cement cube, not to mention lifeless and lacking any coherence with the surrounding landscape.
Okay so, trash and anarchic construction; Nightmare level 70, Paragon Level 1,000,000 and by this we mean that we are climaxing fast and our environment is still taking the beating until it will snatch the bat, or the bulldozer, from our hands and stomp us harder than ever. I am not being grim, not the least, but the outlook is so, and the concrete wall that ruined the evergreen cliff opposite my house has killed at least hundreds of trees that just give off some oxygen … useless trees, right?! The patch of green opposite my grandmother’s house that now hosts a large building blocking our view of the surrounding village will surely bring about clean air and rain, wouldn’t it?
It feels bitter to see that my country, our country is morphing into a graying landscape where only disorder and personal interests prevail. Setting aside all of the above, I wonder what is in store for the landfills that are now overflowing with mismanaged rubbish and what efforts the government will be deploying to ward off the gazillion bacteria and viruses oozing from the filth. Where will the river of trash bags be going to? What will be recycled and what will not? Who is going to buy our rubbish (pun intended if you want to) and who will benefit from that trash fortune? We have not reached a pandemic yet, but we are heading there; the simplest of cold, allergy and flu is taking us to bed and ripping our throats open. What’s left for later?
I think my mind is becoming overloaded with polluted thoughts and my ears are ringing. One look at an old Jounieh bay picture gives me heartache, I believe we are bidding goodbye to Lebanon and welcoming the desert and the ever-moving dunes, so might as well make the best of it.