Thursday, May 16, 2013

A First Kiss

            I decided to ignore the warnings, the stories and the rumors.
            I kissed him goodnight, in the middle of downtown Beirut.
            Everything I expected from a first kiss was there: the pounding heart, the butterflies, the thrill, and the joy… But one unexpected thing happened.
            When we opened our eyes, we saw a policeman calling us.  We just ignored it and walked away, until he started screaming.
We ran. We acted like we were guilty of something, like what we did was wrong, like we were criminals, caught red-handed.
            Luckily we both got home safely. Stripped of all dignity, humiliated, scared, annoyed, confused, but safe.

            Today, whenever I pass by downtown Beirut, whenever I think about him, hear his name, whenever someone ask me about my first kiss, I do not remember touching his lips, running my hand through his curly hairs or trying to control my pounding heart.
No. I just remember the angry and disgusted voice of a policeman, the awkward looks we got while running in the crowded street and our awkward laugh while saying goodbye like what just happened was the most normal thing in the world.

            I think about how no one should ever have to face such humiliation. But then the Dekwaneh abuse happens, and what I thought was the worst kind of humiliation possible, an incident I have been afraid to share for a year now, seems stupid and ridiculous.

            I open my diary, read what I wrote that night, one year ago, and try to put myself in their shoes, multiply this page on a diary by a hundred, by a thousand.
But I can’t.

            Instead, I just do what I would have done if I had to face a similar situation. I write. And today, I am sharing what I wrote, to everyone who has ever been humiliated, by a person, by a city, by a country.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Ink

Because the first time I really felt free was that day spent at Brighton while seagulls were peacefully gliding above the pier.
Because Elphaba didn’t let anyone pull her down, she flew away when everyone told her she couldn’t even if she is always seen as wicked.
Because Jonathan Livingston reached the highest skies by leaving his flock, flying alone and reaching every limit.

On a finger that will stay ringless as long as I’m in my country, the seagull will forever stay. 

I have had this dream of flying away for 4 years and when it finally hit me, I started having doubts about it. Why would I ever leave home? It did not make sense.
And then, thanks to Mr. Chakhtoura and Marwan Charbel, I came back to my senses.
I want to leave the country I have learned to understand, the city I have grown to love, the people with whom I have spent my life because of them.

I think that fighting back can change something but how absurd is it? To fight for a justice that is given to me elsewhere? To fight for rights that are as basic as the ones we are fighting for?
At the end of the day, I am just checking another box on my calendar, another number on my countdown.

“The Motherland don’t love you. The Fatherland don’t love you. So why love anything?” (Vampire Weekend – Ya Hey)

But then I read this:
“Think about the experiences of marginalization, oppression, and violence you may have lived though, and learn about the ones you haven’t. Take your time to realize what kind of world you’re living in. In whatever way you can, learn to fight back”

            Discrimination only fuels your power to stand up for what you believe in. The world we live in is far from being even close to perfect and for an Idealist like me, it is every man’s duty to help it reach this utopia.
            Fight, fight back, in whatever way you can.