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Beirut, Lebanon from my POV

Updated: May 5, 2023



After experiencing one of the largest non-nuclear explosions ever recorded, a devastating bank crisis, rampant inflation, and massive emigration, I longed to return to Beirut. I needed to recharge, and I was wondering if the city would be the same after everything that had happened. Did they manage to make her lose her beauty, her charm, and her livelihood? Did my feelings towards her change throughout the years?

In April 2023, I landed at Beirut airport and from the second I stepped out I felt I’m where I belong. What is it about Beirut that keeps pulling me back after all these years like a spell I couldn’t break. Or was it some kind of black magic, that makes me dream about it, and long for its beauty and chaos, because even its chaos, I love.

The billboards on the drive from the airport to my sister's house, the arguments in the car, and the sight of the Mediterranean all gave me a sense of comfort and familiarity, inner peace and happiness. It felt like I had never left. It always feels like I never left. I was there yesterday, right? Or was it 6 months ago, or a year? I can’t remember! It all feels so familiar. To my delight, everything was still there! Her heart and soul are still there, her energy, her life, her uniqueness are unchanged.

Then there’s the sea, the Mediterranean, accompanying me everywhere I go, whether travelling from south to north or riding back from one of the many mountains. There it lies with its majesty and its breathtaking sunsets. My eyes, yes my eyes crave the sight of the sea, and I seek it out wherever I go. Without it, they lose their light and sparkle. Even my hair and skin came back to life and recovered their glow. Buildings can be destroyed and rebuilt, money can come and go, but Beirut’s heart and soul cannot be torn apart.

As a good friend once told me, Beirut is like a toxic ex that you can't seem to let go of. Despite all the pain and hardship, you keep coming back for more.

For Beirut is not just a place, it is a feeling, a state of mind. It is the warmth of the sun on your face, the sound of laughter in the air, and the taste of Lebanese food on your lips. It is a city that embraces all who come to its shores, a city that is both ancient and new, both broken and whole.

Beirut is a city of paradoxes, where the old and the new meet in a delicate dance. Its ancient ruins whisper tales of the past, while modern high-rises tower above them, reaching for the sky. The city bears the scars of a tumultuous history, but its people are resilient, constantly rising above the rubble to rebuild their beloved city.

The people of Lebanon are a reflection of the city's spirit, a melting pot of cultures and traditions that have shaped its character. They are a people of passion, who celebrate life in all its forms. They find joy in the simplest things, be it a cup of coffee with friends or a stroll along the Corniche, or a lazy long Sunday lunch with family and friends, or partying all night long on rooftops and nightclubs.

But amidst the beauty and joy, Lebanon has also known and still knows pain and suffering. It has been torn apart by war and conflict, its people forced to flee their homes and seek refuge in foreign lands. Yet, just like me, they have never lost their hope or their love for their country. Just like me, they have not stopped dreaming of the day they will go back and settle in its arms again.

In the words of Kahlil Gibran, "You have your Lebanon and its dilemma. I have my Lebanon and its beauty." Lebanon may be a country of paradoxes, but it is also a place of breathtaking beauty, a place that captures the hearts of all who encounter it. It leaves an imprint on the souls of those who visit, a memory that lingers long after they depart.

Every time I must leave Lebanon, I cannot help but carry a piece of it with me always, and leave a piece of me there, a testament to the enduring power of its beauty and its people.


Nayla



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