Disclaimer: This post is my ever frank opinion of what I have left behind in Lebanon. An honest direct post I did not intend to write in a politically correct tone, for once.
It is no secret that I am not fond of Lebanon. No wait let me start again. It is no secret that I hate Lebanon and everything that is related to its population and way of life. Ever since we moved back to Beirut in 1993 (from Montreal) my relationship with this Middle eastern country went from hectic to down right estrangement. Earlier this year, I decided that it was high time to leave everything and everyone behind and move back to my adoptive country. A very tough decision, tough not because I am going to leave everyone behind (those who know me know that I don’t give a flying fuck about anyone) tough because it is a huge irrevocable step once you set foot abroad, as I have a few days ago.
For the 23 years I lived in Beirut, rare are the memories that I cherish and hang on to. Why did it take me 23 years to take my decision to go back to Canada? personal matters. Now that I am settling back, I want to share with you few of the points that I am sure many of you relate to and that led me move back and enjoy North America very much these last couple of days. The points that I am about to share are more related to a human level than any of the usual rants people direct towards politics.
1- It’s mind blowing how every single Lebanese thinks he/she is God sent on earth. I have never seen a snobbish society as a whole. Its as if every single person became amnesic all of a sudden and woke up with a silver spoon in his/her mouth (in his/her mid twenties+). We tend to notice clones of women at any given event, at the mall (yeah plastic surgeons have all graduated from the same medical establishment abroad) yet at a closer look, we realize that their personalities is much worse defective than their face. Have you ever seen a Lebanese smiling at one another? Even in front of their cameras their (siliconed) lips are pouting and their faces ever so bored and high mighty. To be honest, I so many times wanted to bitch slap (verbally) snobbish friends back to their village, reminding them of their farming ancestors every time they tended to act superior when in public. I mean, fuck you bitch, if it weren’t for your dad slaving away in Saudi Arabia, and sending you a monthly salary (age 30+) you wouldn’t have dreamt eating at newly opened fine dining restaurants and mocking/yelling out orders to the staff and rolling your eyes at a passerby. And let’s not start with the employee with a 1000$ salary (tops) behaving as if she made 3000$+ parading & glowing with her signature outfit & attitude.
2- Let’s shift to the employment sector. It is simple, if you don’t have a “wasta” (its funny how that word auto-corrects itself to ‘waste’ whenever I type it) you are a nobody and you will never achieve your potential in Lebanon. And if you are under valued, all you need to do is master the open split and you will get to places. Higher places. Yes why are you looking at me like this? I have always said that among the people that easily succeed in Lebanon is the whore. The Lebanese whore is the all of a sudden successful female thrown in society and very much respected by her peers (for her position..). Men wanna fuck her (which she will hand fully pick depending on her future ambition) and women wanna befriend her (for the new alliances and doors she will be opening to them). The worse part of all this scenario is that the ambition and status of this woman is shallow and irrelevant to the big picture which is life. Many of these people find solace in social media with thousands of fake followers to give them the much needed boost to their fragile self confidence and ugly stature and personality. You wanna know what is pitiful for employees with wasta? Some mothers go to the extreme of whoring themselves or make big donations so as to ensure their children’s future at X and Y organizations. (true story).
3-Friends? What friends? this terminology is over-rated. Alliances yes. Friendship no. Over the years, I realized that I was surrounded by shallow hypocrites who secretly awaited my downfall in work as well as my relationship status. Hence the drastic cut of my ‘friends’ list. From one day to the other, best friends became strangers. I look around me and rare are the relationships that I define as friendship among the people that I know. Everyone is in constant competition with one another. Gatherings are occurred so as to fill social media pages with (fake) fun and a bubbly way of life. Of course, everyone is a hedonist whether they can afford the lifestyle or not (thank you Lebanese banks for the loans). Conversations are superficial and revolve solely around the fashion designers to be, the events that were launched, the dresses that were worn and the ‘celebrities’ that are popping like chicken pox. If you do not relate to this ever growing shallow society, then you tend to find yourself the odd one out and castrated. I do not tend to make an effort to anything that does not interest me nor would be an added value to my life. And by being that person, I, thankfully, realized who is the real friend that stood by me and I continued to genuinely enjoy his/her presence in my everyday life. Those that lingered away so as to establish themselves within this fake surrounding (knowingly aware of my adamant stand against) granted me the gift of discovering the meaning of true friendship. Here I take a moment to thank Meena, Angie and Rony for being the best friends one can ever wish for. The rest of you can go fuck yourselves.
4- The clash between life abroad and in Lebanon, I discovered when I went to pursue my studies in London. There I met genuine, caring and interesting people. People from around the world, from different culture and upbringing that further assured me of one important thing; my non-belongingness to the Middle East. Men respect their women when out and about. They are cultured and interested by you and not only your boobs and loubs. They are fine gentlemen. The women have intellectual discussions and gatherings revolve in open spaces, museums, walking, canoeing and taking pictures in which one can witness the big smile on their faces. Dates are respected and not cancelled at the last moment, or worse dismissed without any advance notice. To those who continue giving a self important image of themselves by not notifying a cancellation in appointment, I do not wanna say anything to them; their pitiful stand is more than enough.
Unfortunately, Lebanon proved to me a haven for the hypocrite, the fake, the whore, the loser and the self proclaimed celebrity.
In Lebanon, I did not find myself. I only found jealousy mastered at a professional level. I only found myself being judged and labelled. I found myself in professional situations where my family name played a role leading me in handing my resignation letter. The honest hard working person is not appreciated. The liar and the whore is King/Queen.
I am thankful that as a Canadian citizen I am going to be able to fulfill my dreams with my own potential and certificates at hand. I am thankful that Canada is far away from the Middle East. And I am thankful that I have my family and best friends next to me forever no matter the distance.