Lebanese Food and Culinary Traditions

Lebanese Food and Culinary Traditions
Spring time always inspires me...

Thursday, May 8, 2014

My Lebanon

The situation in Lebanon is getting harder and harder... As I struggle to keep an image of what Khalil Gibran wrote at the beginning of the century and yet still applies today ... This image is fading from my memory quickly. What can I do to keep it alive, to continue dreaming, to keep faith? I feel helpless struggling to ignore the corruption, the disrespect of nature and men, the chaos.

" You have your Lebanon and I have mine. You have your Lebanon with her problems, and I have my Lebanon with her beauty. You have your Lebanon with all her prejudices and struggles, and I have my Lebanon with all her dreams and securities. Your Lebanon is a political knot, a national dilemma, a place of conflict and deception. My Lebanon, is a place of beauty and dreams of enchanting valleys and splendid mountains. Your Lebanon is inhabited by functionaries, officers, politicians, committees, and factions. My Lebanon is for peasants, shepherds, young boys and girls, parents and poets. Your Lebanon is empty and fleeting, whereas My Lebanon will endure forever."

As these positive words resonate in my inner conscience... They are fading away quickly. We have not learned from the past. We keep repeating the same mistakes, over and over again. We destroy the bounty of our land - nature, our most important heritage for quick money to be able to live in a society where one is judged by how much worldly goods one has. Let's not kid ourselves, finally it's all about money - the god of our century (not only in Lebanon but everywhere in the world).

What can be done to make a difference? How will we safeguard our country for the next generation? Will our children all become eligible for immigration? Will they become orphans in new territories where hope still lies?

It's becoming harder to stay positive. 

6 comments:

Bocas said...

Hello Barbara,

I'm a Mexican of Lebanese ancestry currently living in Canada. Sadly, the current state of things in Mexico is very similar to the one in Lebanon.

Having not read Khalil Gibran's poem, I wrote these few lines not long ago. I felt identified with what you wrote and decided to share it with you. I hope that knowing that there are people that think and feel just like you will revive your hope.

The land I left behind

My country is not a corrupt president
It is not a TV station
My country is not social status
Neither racism among brothers
My country is not a street in decay
It is not a bunch of neurotic motorists
My country is not forgotten people
Neither poverty on the streets
My country is not a cartel
Nor an armed group
My country is not hiding behind a mask
Nor behind a banner
My country is over six thousand years of history behind me
My country is fresh corn dough that smells of the earth
My country is maize, beans, tomatoes and chili
My country is land, air, water and fire
My country is Mexico

The original version in Spanish:

La tierra que dejé atrás.

Mi país no es un presidente corrupto
Ni una estación de televisión
Mi país no es estatus social
Ni racismo entre hermanos
Mi país no es una calle en mal estado
Ni un montón de automovilistas neuróticos
Mi país no es la gente olvidada
Ni la pobreza en las calles
Mi país no es un cártel
Ni tampoco un grupo armado
Mi país no se esconde tras una máscara
Ni detrás de una bandera
Mi país es el paso de seis mil años de historia a mis espaldas
Mi país es masa fresca con olor a tierra
Mi país es maíz, frijol, tomate y chile
Mi país es tierra, aire, agua y fuego
Mi país es México

Barbara Abdeni Massaad said...

Thank you for sharing. I visited Mexico twice and fell in love with the country. I felt right at home because of the pain and also because of the glory...the food is exceptional, the people wonderful, the arts breathtaking... Poor our countries who are being destroyed of their beauty by man's greed. What a shame.

Jordan said...

It's a lovely poem. My family left Venezuela and we are also of Lebanese descent. We are living in the United States but we do carry nostalgia of the good life in the past in Venezuela. We just carry on our family traditions and keep memories alive - traditions passed on from our Lebanese roots and Venezuelan environs that we love. We still learn new things about forgotten age-old culinary traditions from people like you. Thank you for exposing them to us from abroad. We love Lebanon and still have hopes of it becoming a great country in the Middle East. Especially one of religious inclusion, which doesn't exist anywhere else in that particular region.

Nadine said...

I feel your pain. I left Lebanon 7 years ago, my sister left it 8 years and my brother left it 9 years ago. It has always been a difficult country, but now it reaches the point of no return. How can we raise our kids in such a corrupt environment (corrupt on so many levels). Stay strong. The sad news is that the grass is always greener. Every place has its own problems, what matters is how we deal with them.

HupernikaoGirl said...

Barbara, I'm an elementary school librarian in Asheville, NC, USA who visited Lebanon last August for the wedding of my stepdaughter into the Hanna family. No man made wonders compared to the beauty of the people, the country's natural and historical wonders and the nourishing, delicious figs, cherries, lemons, grapes, etc. As an elementary school librarian, I am continuously educating, encouraging and training the children to enjoy healthy fresh local produce and foods. Upon returning home, I immediately began searching to learn if someone was doing the same in Lebanon. WOW...you are the connection I discovered. Your efforts are much larger than mine but I rejoice that we both are doing what we can. While in Lebanon, we visited the Khalil Gibran museum. It was so inspiring and the picture on my Facebook page is of me standing in front of the entrance. It is a joy to share with our students about the Lebanon where you live. I would be honored to meet you if there is ever the opportunity. Thank you for all the lovely pictures and information about your beloved Lebanon. Love using them to share with our students about your homeland. Appreciate your passion and every effort!

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