Posted by: G-AZZI | November 3, 2010

Beirut

It makes sense that the first thing to write about is Beirut my hometown and beloved city, a lot has been said about Beirut  but my favorite description was in the guardian ” Beirut is the Elisabeth Taylor of the middle east ” and this is exactly what i love about it. I repeatedly said that Lebanon is a psychophrenic country, it is conservative , it is liberal , it is beautiful and ugly at the same time , it is fun and it is boring….

There isn’t a single day where i don’t hear someone complaining about the country , the political and economical situation, the constant threat of civil war  etc …. These complaints are legitimate and the dream of many young men and women is to travel abroad and live in the western “Eldorado”.

Travelling abroad is an amazing experience , living in Paris for 5 years did change my life and the way i look at the world but it also changed my perception of Lebanon.

Living in the cosmopolitan city of Paris got me exposed to a big diversity of people that I did not have the chance to live growing up in the Christian and homogeneous neighborhood of achrafieh in Beirut especially during the civil war.

Many reasons, however, pushed me to come back to Beirut, the most important one is the fact that no matter how long you live in a foreign country , you will still be a foreigner, you will never completely feel that you belong there , small details in your daily life and people’s comment will always remind you that this is not your home.  Don’t get me wrong , I love Paris and i loved every single moment i lived there and every single believer in human rights I met, but i always wished that i could do something in Beirut a place that I know very well and knows me very well, when i was offered the possibility to be one of the founders of Helem, it was a dream come true and i realized it is time for me to come back.

Beirut and its spirit are growing organically: activism, cultural scene , night life , restaurants …. Everything in Beirut was made by its own people for its own people. Beirut seems to me like a blank page where everyone has something to write on, Beirut belongs to every single one of us , this sense of belonging and ownership is very specific to Beirut.

Of course Beirut is a mess, of course many things go wrong, of course we are never sure when the next war will start, but I accepted that as part of Beirut’s reality, a reality that never stopped us from doing the work  we want to do. Lebanon in general and Beirut specifically is a series of bubbles standing next to each other , you choose your bubble and you live in it ,none of the bubbles is completely independent , but that is the case anywhere in the world.

The biggest challenge is to move from a bubble to another , when i moved back to Beirut, it was clear for me that I will never go back to my previous life , same circles of people , same values i was living in before going to Paris. The process was hard and lost a lot of friends back then, but i do not regret it at all! Yes I was the first one in my family to come out as a gay person and move out from my parents house … I even lived in west Beirut for while , YES with the Muslims ( I am still not sure which was more shocking to my extended family , not my parents, being gay or living in west Beirut …. anyway). Now I consider myself a lucky person surrounded by amazing friends, who think like me and who share the same values like me …. I love my new bubble and I love Beirut

 

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Responses

  1. How touching is this?
    isn’t the contradictions of Beirut which makes it amazing? the mystery behind everynight and day? The unknown we rush to every single moment?

  2. I never knew if I love Beirut or I don’t… but your blog made me think…I should come up with an answer 😀

  3. Very well written!


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