Monday, February 25, 2008

Lubnan Lebanon Libanus

Lebanon has disappeared among the sum of its parts. A mosaic that could, and should, bring us pride, lies today in a shambles, with no particular cohesive design. The dynamism of shifting parts has borne nothing but fuzzy, distorted, Picasso-like portraits that can only be understood by the artist, and frequently imbue drastically different meanings to the observer.

Something as simple as our national anthem, I feel, is often lost in translation. What is reciting it supposed to mean exactly? For some obscure reason, singing it always brings tears to my eyes. It also makes me feel guilty, as if I had fulfilled some national duty by its mere recital when there is so much real work to be done.

A trite American TV show kicks off with “Good Morning America”, and I think – that would never work here. An announcement like “Good Morning Lebanon” would certainly draw attention… as something odd and slightly alien. I mean, who do they mean exactly and what Lebanon do they speak of? And our conspiracy theory infested minds would wonder what political rhetoric the announcement fit into, or was trying to create. Couldn’t possibly be a call for a united identity, not after all the years where every political leader drilled into our heads that our versions of Lebanon are diametrically opposed and mutually exclusive.

It takes us a while to realize that there is no art or creativity in monochoromed canvases. Even if the palette consists of only one colour, the painting only becomes one if there is some variety in shades or textures. The little people, like you and me, realize this as we stare at paintings searching for ourselves. Sadly, those holding the paintbrushes remain stoically unimaginative, moving across any striking patches like a censor’s ugly black marker, because they cannot control what they do not understand.

I am holding onto my Lebanon, as I hope we all do, so that I am prepared when we finally get a turn to step up to the canvas.