by Janelle Chalouhi (almost 4 years ago)
An Open Letter to All of the Politicians of Lebanon:
Maybe the best way to start this letter is with a thank you, for in the words of our beloved Khalil Gibran:
“I have learnt silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to these teachers.”
Throughout our weeks of revolting, we haven’t paused to thank you for teaching us how not to be. The lessons we have learned from each of you have only made us better and stronger.
Days of deliberation have led to this moment, but upon reflection I thought, “if not now, then when?”. I won’t in any way insinuate that I’m writing this letter on behalf of the Lebanese Diaspora living abroad, but with confidence, I can note that I am definitely not alone. The simple meaning of diaspora is jolting, “the dispersion of any people from their original homeland”. Very few of us would have ever wanted to part with Lebanon, our beautiful, historic and vivacious country, much less the family and friends we’ve left behind. We are displaced and we constantly hear the calling to come home.
My question to each of you is, are you the only ones who believe that Lebanon and our most beautiful people are without potential? We deserve to compete with the best simply because we are among them. You have stunted our growth for over 40 years now. I’m willing to believe that decades ago you actually thought your decisions were the right ones for Lebanon and our people. However, the reasons for decisions in the past are no longer viable, which is why it is evident that your time has come to an end.
For years we have been suspicious about what has been happening behind the proverbial curtain, but we sat and waited, because you asked us to. Naturally we thought it was all a part of a bigger plan to bring Lebanon back. We trusted you, because you asked us to. We followed your guidance, because you asked us to. Over and over reoccurring patterns. Yet we supported you even if it meant that it divided us as a nation under multiple flags and religions. The time has come and it’s our turn to make an ask of you...we’re going to need you to step aside now and let us take over from here.
Today we are a people who revolt with peace, candles, prayer, music, food, cleanups and human chains not with war, blood and greed. We are a people whose ancestors were innovators known as “the rulers of the sea”, yet increasingly we can’t afford to educate our children in Lebanon. Today, so many of us have been forced to leave due to political and economic strife, mostly inflicted by you, all of you, causing millions of us to be so far away from our motherland.
I can’t imagine that you’re looking around without some semblance of pride at what’s happening in our country. The Lebanese youth have such spirit and drive that not many can measure up to. Our women are the beacons of hope and peace, protecting our people and I personally have never been prouder to be counted among them. Our men have come together to break down all the barriers that have divided us for so many years by setting aside their differences. Best of all, we have come together under one flag. As you can see, things have changed, and with change comes evolution. It’s now our time to evolve.
Look at us with pride and not distaste for we are setting an example for the entire world to follow. It’s time to give us our country back, I think we can all agree that you owe us that much. Once you do, we can finally answer our calling to come home.
One of way too many.