“Tout homme a le droit de partir, c’est son pays qui doit le persuader de rester”
Amin MAALOUF, Les Désorientés.
“Every man has the right to leave, its his country that should convince him to stay.”
Amin MAALOUF, The Disoriented.
To leave or not to leave? That is the question on the minds of many (if not most) Lebanese who struggle to find a convincing answer every day.
I was born in 1981, in the middle of the Lebanese civil war, grown up during the post-war era, got my education here, built my carrier, got married and built a family here. Leaving the country never crossed my mind even during the dark moments of Lebanon’s history. I was always PROUD of being Lebanese, always HOPING & DREAMING in a better future…..until 2005.
The country was finally liberated from foreign occupations and it was up to the Lebanese people to build a new Lebanon…..and that is when the DEGRADATION began at all levels: political, social, cultural, environmental, …. and what we ended up with is a shadow of a country that no longer exists except in our dreams and far distant memories.
Today, with responsibility of a family, leaving is a serious and rational option to consider for my future and the future of my children. That makes the struggle in my mind between leaving and staying even more difficult:
REASONS TO LEAVE
- The frightening prospect for the country’s future: environmental degradation, cultural degradation, insolvable chaos & chronic insecurity.
- The loss of my sense of pride in belonging to a nation that no longer represents my values.
- The loss of a common identity and shared principles with 95% of my fellow countrymen who seem to have given up their personal dignity, freedom of mind and morality to a failed regime that is the reason of their constant misery.
- The constant threat of a calamitous war that could erupt at anytime.
REASONS TO STAY
- The fact that I lived through Lebanon’s hardest times and ended up having a good education, a good job and a good life, makes it easier for me to believe that my kids will be blessed with the same fate.
- The fact that, as a child, I lived the atrocities of the civil war makes me – in that perspective – see my kids living now in “heaven”.
- The fact that my wider family still lives in Lebanon, makes it harder emotionally to leave them behind and not be on their side when they need me most as time goes by.
- The fact that I managed to build a “successful” career with great opportunities ahead makes it hard to leave all this behind and start almost from scratch abroad.
I have convinced myself that there is too much to lose by leaving and therefore decided to stay. As I approach middle age, the chances of leaving become narrower and my only hope as the years go by shall be that I never regret the decision I made and never ask myself: what if…?
Yvonne El Hachem | Rah Fel | Official Music Video
Yvonne El Hachem | Ana Metlak | Official Lyrics Video
Amin MAALOUF, Les Désorientés.
*Picture from Joe Mathews’ article, “Why we all need to leave this country after this election”. November 10, 2016. Zocalo Public Square http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2016/11/10/need-leave-country-election/ideas/connecting-california/