What I learnt from Beirut in between my relocation: (drops mic..)

As you may recall, last year I travelled back to Canada in order to get a feel of the country that was going to adopt me a second time round.  After three months of stress-free bliss and peace of mind, I went back to Beirut, determined and eager to pack my bags and move out. Little did I know that i’ll be stuck another ten months before setting foot in Toronto again.

Beirut, the city that everyone is in awe with. The city at which expats reminisce their good old days.

Beirut, the city everyone longs to visit for the wrong reasons and any Lebanese living abroad thinks would come to the glorious state they left it behind.

Beirut, the city that turned open minded adults into bigots and sank most of them to their lowest level in order to survive among the majority of the liars & cheats.

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Who runs Lebanon? The liar, the cheater, the whore & the money launderer.

Who succeeds in Lebanon? The hypocrite, the mistress and the corrupt.

Who suffers from the above mentioned? The law abiding citizen & the one who fears God only.

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I faced all the above mentioned entities my entire adult life in Lebanon, however within the bracket-ed ten months in & out Lebanon, I felt a level of frustration towards society itself that compelled me to share it with you all. Hell, I am NOT going to be seeing any of you soon (nor ever, even when i’ll be obliged to come for a visit) top to that, the whole society that is slowly sinking itself to its own expiration, I wish you hit rock bottom quickly.

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Ten months in Lebanon made me realize how much people changed. Maybe it’s the fact that I was surrounded by genuine people and a helping community back in Toronto, that its lack in Beirut shocked me even further.

Let me develop my point in this order:

About the prospect of work >> Do you know how many times I heard people wanting to genuinely help me ground myself in Beirut by promising me introductory meetings with X & Y for a job, a freelance project? And I will leave you guessing at how many of those people followed up on their promises. If I wanted to re-enter the corporate world I would have done it easily. I have the qualifications and I know the right people within that sector.  But setting foot in the tight knit world of blogosphere? Thankfully, I soon realized that I did not want to be part of a virtually pathetic hypocritical circle whatsoever when I can write and voice my thoughts far away from the influencers and their blind minions. I am more than happy to interact with people that relate to my content and me as a person. You don’t like what I am saying just now? Please go and Instagram caption your whiny remarks. I just love seeing people adopt two different personalities, one for the real world and one for the virtual one, different from each other as black & white. The virtual world in Lebanon? A pathetic scene in which every influencer badmouths the other yet comments lovey dovey remarks under each others picture.  Alas this world is attracting the next generation of 13 year olds (I do not want to imagine the future of such society..).

Let’s proceed.

How about liberal workers >> Lawyers, doctors and contract workers have stooped to a despicable level. You want to reach an agreement with one or close a deal with the other, then you will need to lie and make promises up to your teeth to reach a quarter of your (legal) demands and come out a sore (loser) winner. And then everyone wonders why court dates take decades to be resolved and infrastructural projects years to finish. Where are the workers that used to put their conscience first and ahead of their selfish gains? None existent. Dead. Literally.

Now my favorite >> Friends. Let’s just say that I no longer trust anyone I felt at some point in time close to and friendly with. You see, some people might think that because I am quiet I do not realize that I am being conned out of something and/or into something (depending on the situation). But I do realize the unfairness of being used out of my kindness. And I shut up. Why? Because I am better than that; that being fighting in settling a fair friendship with anyone that is not worth my time and kindness. Anymore.

No wait this is my favorite >> your ex want to become a part of that life of yours. Haha! Now that’s a funny turn of events. After being broken up for 5-7 years, the ex return with force trying to sweep you off your feet. Seriously? I am going to give up my future in a decent powerful country to stay in Lebanon and end up marrying you for all the wrong reasons that I can think of? I am not even going to answer that…. 

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Seriously, look around you, who is happy and living la Dolce Vita in Lebanon?

The lying and conniving businessmen (mind you, we have no clue what import/export or business consultant implies here…) and his possy

The dolled up thirty year old who is the proud owner of the latest Range Rover and condo in the downtown area (Mmmm..)

The proud mama smiling and obliging to everyone at face value yet bickering at those same persons behind their backs

The peoples’ pet  who trot their behind everywhere trying to please just anyone so as to be included in some sort of superficial circle and claim they made it (doing what? I think they themselves never figured that one out)

Those who put themselves first and the rest (every single person they know) later

and every single fearless Godless cheat in the city.

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How about us law-abiding respectful citizens of Lebanon?

We are scattered worldwide making a life for ourselves in a country that respects its citizens and a society that embraces and puts one another at a pedestal we would have never imagined coming from our closest friends back home. 

We have crossed out Lebanon from our mind and heart, its corruption, its people and the jungle way of doing things because being successful without crossing a dark passage leads 3/4 of the time to failure.

We succeed without our last name, our family ties and monetary influences. And most importantly we succeed and are recognized for our own merit not bedroom escapades.

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You can raise hell and object to every single thing I mentioned above, but deep inside you know that I am right. What I just wrote is thought by almost everyone, except you, living in La la land, I mean Lebanon.

Tough Luck with that!

Cya

ps: my deepest and outmost respect to the couple of people still believing in their Lebanon and striving against all odds to make it through bad and badder. Respect to you and keep on writing and voicing yourself (for your countrymen).

Bourj Hammoud; Safe haven for the survivors of the Armenian Genocide

Disclaimer: “Go ahead, destroy Armenia. See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a new Armenia.” William Saroyan

Today we mourn the death of 1.5 million Armenians, 950,000 Greeks and 750,000 Assyrians under the directives of the Ottoman Empire rulers. This extermination policy led Armenians to flee (warned by their Kurdish neighbors) to neighboring countries in what is known as the death march. Many settled in Der el-Zor (Syria) and more reached the coastal city of Beirut (Lebanon).

You can read my blog post on on the centennial commemoration of the Genocide by clicking on the link below; https://patylsperspective.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/the-story-of-an-armenian-genocide-survivor-my-grandmother/ 

Today I wanted to share with you all a glimpse of the safe haven Armenians built in Beirut city known as Little Armenia to some and Bourj Hammoud to most of you. This neighborhood, built out of a swamp, turned into an industrial and residential area for Armenians and other ethnic minorities over the years.

This past month I have visited Bourj Hammoud more than I have in the two decades I have lived in Lebanon. Many errands kept me going back and forth but it is mostly the genuine, cozy interaction with its residents, the real-feel of intimacy from its narrow streets and that old/vintage vibe that kept me going up to more than three times a week.

The infrastructure of Bourj Hammoud is an interesting one. Unlike its neighboring district, houses are built three/four stories high and the buildings stack up one next to the other each being polished its own unique way. The survivors of the first genocide of the 20th century did not despair about their fate. They took matters into their own hand and started building their future in this welcoming unknown territory. Most of them got employed just so to put aside some money in order to feed their families and eventually open their own businesses.

When strolling through the streets of B.Hammoud you will instantly notice that Armenians are handymen i-e they excel in the craft of art. They are known to be famous jewelers hence the stretch of jewelry shops on its main road. Furthermore when you enter the streets parallel to the famous Arax street, you will come to notice small shops selling dried food, spices and unimaginable artifacts (sometimes all sold under one roof).

The streets are narrow and permit one car to pass through (very slowly). Pedestrians walk in the middle of the road as well as on the pavement when permitted since most items from shops overflow onto the pavement. Although it is a busy street, you do not feel overwhelmed. People are lively, interactive and very much happy. If you have not heard Armenian before, be prepared to be drawn by its hubbub. Clothing shops tend to compete with each other and if you look closely you will notice that most of them sell to an extend the same products. I don’t know what you have heard but it is not easy to bargain with an Armenian. But you will most probably have heard before (and many times) that they are the most honest businessmen and their work speaks for itself.

How many of you have gone out of your way to buy in bulk from an Armenian vendor in Bourj Hammoud?

How many of you go first to an Armenian jeweler for an honest opinion about the price of a stone?

How many of you fashion designers have settled a deal with an Armenian clothing manufacturer to produce your collection pieces?

and again I’m going to ask you

How many of you swear by the work of Sako, Ara and Garo?

There you got it.

We might have been persecuted a century ago. We might have fled our home country. We might have spread worldwide. But we maintained our integrity, our faith and our trust in God that no matter where and no matter the circumstances we are going to remain and fight against all odds thrown our way.

I encourage you to visit Bourj Hammoud, take unique pictures, mingle with its residents and have a bite of some delicious Armenian food.

Trust me, the experience is one of a kind.

 

 

 

Open mindedness & disrespect; women draw that line.

Disclaimer: In no way this post is intended to a specific person. So if you feel targeted, take a chill pill sweetheart and ask yourself, why you do feel I’m addressing you? Thank you! 

In Lebanon, every woman considers herself from the highly esteemed ‘haute société’ however forgets to behave as such in society. We have said it many times, ‘l’habit ne fait pas le moine’ (the cloths do not make the man) but alas such expression reaches the deaf ears of Miss Louboutin, Mrs GuccixRandomLebaneseFashionDesigner and the lot of them.

However I am not here to judge your cloths, they are gorgeous, but your attitude? Nay Nay/ Abort. Who am I to judge? Well I am a very concerned citizen (and yes I come from a highly respected family-the real deal B), a woman who is alarmed by the high rise of disrespectful, vulgar and ugly women inside and out elevating in social circles and being given credit and respected for doing nothing at all. Well technically, not nothing at all, #BlessedForSugarDaddy’s helping wallet in accessing the right circles…

On the other hand, let’s forget the aesthetic and focus on personality.

I personally believe that any form of (well brought up/good family *hint hint) personality overshadows materialistic cloth. I will give you credit. Ok. Fine. However, surprise surprise. I wish I left you at Prada and never let you open your mouth. Looks like being liberal and open minded has led you to another complete stratosphere.

I have come to notice that, as of late, women are being tacky and petty in the name of ‘being liberals and open minded’. I have nothing against these two features, however etiquette should be brought into the equation. A well brought up woman (so she says whenever she wants to address her family roots in public) should not turn into a loud mouth babbler whenever she wants to make a public statement. Ranting is good. Being moderate is even better. However ranting on anything and everything is just not making a point. It is being a vulgar psycho socially. Take a chill pill babe.

For crying out loud, what happened to women being poise in society? What happened to brilliant minds? All I see is them being overshadowed by loud mouths? What happened to tackling a problem or making a point in a polite way? Diplomacy anyone?

What happened to Lebanese women raising the standard high? Yes there are very successful women out there. And yes many of them come from neat background, however shouldn’t we start giving credit and elevating these successful minds up the bar instead of those trolls parading on and offline?

Again I am not against the concept of being liberal and open minded, however I am for tact and a woman behaving like one.

Draw that line. Please.

xo

 

Mleeta; The Resistance Tourist Landmark (and Me).

This past week has been overwhelming. I visited (yesterday included) four historical places in Lebanon that I intend on sharing with you all. My first post was of the city of Tripoli which you can read all about over here https://patylsperspective.wordpress.com/2017/03/02/tripoli-city-of-wonders/ (and let me know what you think of it) and the rest three of different and interesting landmarks taken from the history of Lebanon which will follow shortly.

Today I will be taking you to another era of different space and time. A one of a kind discovery, a natural museum surrounded with mountains and greenery. A place where the Mujahideen (freedom fighters) lived and fought against the occupying enemy. Today I will be taking you to Mleeta. Mleeta offers a unique experience to tourists in immersing them into their lifestyle during the occupation of Beirut in 1982 and truth be told I felt a fighter myself.

First, a bit of history.

The south has always been a controversial area which witnessed a lot of turmoil between the 1980s and 2000. The name of this landmark originates from the mountain where freedom fighters garrisoned during the war against the Israeli occupiers from 1982 until 2000, the year of the liberation. The landmark has been preserved to give tourists a glimpse of the mujahideen’s life during the occupation.

And now my take on the road trip.

We arrived at Mleeta around noon. The entrance is imposing and it was unusually quiet. The guide that welcomed us at the entrance gave us each a pamphlet (one in arabic and one in english) and directed us to the Hall to a watch a 15min documentary introducing us to Mleeta and the origins of the Israeli-Lebanese war of he 80s. During the whole seance I was dumbfounded. I remembered the 2006 war in which me and my siblings lived through by ourselves in our home in Beirut. I teared up a few many times and came out of the room silent. The guide waiting for us instantly knew that I had witnessed the 2006 ordeal.

We started our walk by the ‘Abyss’, a circular shaped pathway where military equipment stranded by the enemy were left as they are. At the center of the abyss is the famous Merkava Tank 4, the pride of the Israeli military sank in dirt.

Further more we started walking downwards along a bushy pathway. A trail that is filled with human sized mujahideen look a like reliving the combat scenes of the war.

That is where I noticed we were being followed. Anyone who knows me, knows how paranoid I am (maybe it is due to the many conspiracy theory and murder investigative documentaries I watch on ID) and after turning one two many times, the person who turned out to be one of the guides securing the perimeter explained to us that he isn’t following us (yeah I was that obvious) but  just wanting to unlock the door taking us into the bunker.

The bunker, now that is a treat of another kind. We entered the bunker (I, forgetting totally that am entering the mountain). The path was semi-lit and we followed its trail. I was shocked. So this was one of the famous undercover places the freedom fighters used to  move around shy from enemy’s scrutiny. The cave was dug by more than 1000 fighters over the span of three years. Being 200 meters deep it has garrisoned more than 7000 fighters. There are several rooms linked with to a water supply and equipped with electricity, ventilation and supplies.

The tunnel led to an opening space named ‘The lookout’ that overlooks the villages of Iqlim el Touffah region, Zahrani, Nabatiyeh and Saida. The view is mesmerizing. I was completely in awe at the view before my eyes. We could see small villages spread here and there made of cute little houses. This is the area that was liberated by the freedom fighters in 1985 from Israeli occupation. Of course we could not stop snapping pictures and trying a selfie (a fail) before resuming our walk back the hill.

It was at that moment that reality hit me; I walked the path of the many freedom fighters who gave their lives to free their land from the oppressor. I witnessed the hardship these fighters went through armed most importantly of their faith and belief that one day Lebanon in its whole will be back in the hands of the Lebanese.

When the south was liberated in the year 2000, I was far from interested in what was happening in the Middle East, although majoring in political science at that time. My trip to Mleeta re-opened in me the wounds of the 2006 war, a sort of patriotism arose as well.

I was happy to have overcome my fear of heights and reached Mleeta.

For anyone who has not yet visited this landmark, please do.

Trust me, it is a one of a kind experience.

Safe trip!

 

You can visit their website by clicking the link below; 

http://mleeta.com/mleeta/eng/definition2.html

 

 

 

Tripoli; City of Wonders

A couple of days ago, my sister, friend and I decided to have a road trip towards the northern part of Lebanon. We all agreed that it was high time we discovered the city of Tripoli. We woke up at 8 am and were on the road at 9 already. Our excitement could not be tamed, to the point that I forgot my wallet at Starbucks Verdun and did not even realize it if it were not for the customer service of the bank notifying me of the loss. Thank you for Bilal for taking the initiative in finding out the owner of that black purse left by itself on the counter. The good side? I was going to be invited for breakfast, and lunch and anything in between 😉

9.30 > we were already in Jbeil having each a mankouche at Zaatar w Zeit (my first free meal of the day)

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10.20 > back into the car, it took us exactly 25 min to reach Tripoli. Of course along the ride, I had to goof around and take a video of us three singing to some 80s song

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11 > we parked right in front of the municipality, asked for directions and started heading towards the old souks.

I had no clue what to expect but I was not expecting to literally enter the narrow roads of an old souk. You are literally transported to another era, another century, another altogether space and time. Each narrow road opens up to two or three adjacent roads. Each road is packed with people wandering, buying goodies, food and cloths. Motorcycles passing by through opposite directions and men welcoming you to enter their shops. It was a beautiful calming chaos. I know this last statement might have left you perplexed yet you will feel it once you wander through the old souks.

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Our first stop was the famous “Khan el Saboun”

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Located in the caravanserai of Tripoli, a local guide explained to us how sea travelers (merchants mostly) used to come and rest on the second floor of the caravanserai while their belongings were locked within a space baring the same room number.

Thanks to some online research I gathered further information about this building:

Khan Essaboun “was built at the beginning of the seventeenth century by Yusuf al-Saifi, pasha of Tripoli . Originally it was intended to serve as a military barracks to garrison Ottoman troops and it was purposely built in the center of the city to enable the pasha to control any uprising. It is a large imposing rectangular structure with two story arcaded corridors running around a fountain courtyard. The outer walls had a number of loopholes and arrow slits for defense purposes. In front of the building was an arched portal, flanked by stone benches for the pasha’s guards. A white marble plaque commemorates the building of this splendid military barracks of Tripoli. During the battle of Anjar, Yusuf Pasha was taken prisoner. When Tripoli fell to Fakhr-ed-Din, the Ottoman garrison fled to join his routed forces in Syria. The army of Fakhr-ed-Din occupied the barracks briefly but in the years that followed the building stood empty and useless. To the inhabitants of Tripoli this seemed to be a great waste so a petition was sent to Deir al-Qamar, the residence of Fakhr-ed-Din, with the request to turn the building into a soap factory and warehouse. From that day until the present time the Ottoman barracks have served as Tripoli’s flourishing Soap Khan or Khãn as-Sáboun.” (wikipedia)

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Our guide turned out to be an employee of one of the soap shops within the Khan. Not only did he give us a tour of the caravanserai, he also explained to us the products sold at the shop. This is when I started noticing how welcoming the locals are.

(I bought a rose scented soap acting as a make up remover = my second freebie of the day!)

12.15 > Next we went and visited a Hammam (Turkish baths). For a mere 1000 LBP (0.60$) (free again!!) the employee of the Hammam took us for a quick tour (some customers were warned of our presence and hid in another room – the time to pass through the space). Further more, we were clothed into silk garments to experience the aftermath of the hammam which is smoking shisha and drinking tea. The whole experience was surreal and very thoughtful on behalf of the employees just for us to take pictures. Below my sister very happy with her new style!!

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The old souk is very tricky to wander in and out for newcomers. There are so many roads to wander in. And sometimes you get confused as to which road you have already taken or not. We were very privileged to have had many locals guide us on where to go and what to see. I am positive they would have done the same for any tourist visiting.

Every one was caring and happy to see ‘foreigners’ taking pictures. Many times children asked me to take their pictures. I even noticed many men changing their posture (strike a pause-like) when the lens was directed in their direction. They were respectful. To be very frank, I was positively surprised. I was not expecting this much of love and warmth.

It is in Tripoli that I understood and saw first hand what being respectful to each other is and towards women in particular. It is in Tripoli that I witnessed people fearing God and acting upon it by respecting women and children. The behavior of the whole inhabitants of this city was homogenous. The 4 hours that we spent there, I felt safe. Something that I don’t feel in Beirut most of the times.

13.30 > We ended our road trip walking along the Mina where on any given Sunday, families take a stroll; the men and women walking side by side, the children on bikes or running around playing, laughing or eating ice cream. The family dynamic is strong. I kinda envied that. I loved how tight family members are to one another. How care free and happy, whether walking or sitting by the sea. Conversing loudly, happily while smiling at passerby.

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I have overall taken 237 pictures of Tripoli, its habitants, its streets and its beautiful sceneries. Unfortunately I cannot share them all with you. However what I can advise you is to go and see this city by yourself. Experience it on your own. I challenge anyone who would contradict me on the hospitality of Tripolitans. I dare you!

While you are there, do try the Kaak of Tripoli 😉 You’re not going to regret it!!img_2725

ps: One last thing that I learnt about this trip: Don’t listen to gossip and fear mongers. Tripoli is a safe city. To hell with anyone trying to tarnish its image, especially mainstream media.

An open letter to my boss; I’m out!

Dear Sir, 

Let me be frank & direct and ask you the following; who the fuck do you think you are treating your employees like their life has stopped the moment they were employed in your establishment? 

Who do you think you are, confined in your glass walled office, to yell at me and abuse me verbally for not conforming to your last minute demands? Who permits you to threaten me if I do not comply by your demands? And most importantly, who the hell granted you the mighty power to suggest I pack my bags and leave if I am not comfortable with my ‘altered’ job description?

I have my rights even though they were thrown out of the window the moment I went out of my way to work longer hours.

I have my dignity even when I sat silent in front of disgruntled and disrespectful customers because of the establishment’s motto “the client is always right”. 

I have my self respect even when my colleagues seem to have sold it for less for their end of the month meagre paycheck.  

I am an accomplished woman who takes her job very seriously but to a certain point. Don’t walk all over me, that’s what I am going to say.

My bad for not listening to my friend’s advice about my choice of employment. I have always stooped to bureaucratic jobs below my league. 

A job is a job regardless of your social status, I believed. However when your rights are null and you are taken for granted and disrespected, that’s where I draw the line. 

I am leaving.

So long bureaucratic slavery. So long arrogant employers. So long ungrateful colleagues.

I am leaving. 

Because I am worthy of respect, of gratitude and acknowledgment. Because I am not as much in need of this job as you are of an employee. Because I believe that receiving merely a paycheck above the SMIG is not worth the abuse, workload and ungratefulness of everyone present.

I wish you nothing at all. 

Sincerely not yours, 

The one with her self- respect intact, who left.

(NB: To those in the same position as the above mentioned woman, just leave because you are worth better elsewhere).

When I met Joudi – The young Syrian refugee in Beirut

I am going to start this post by sharing a status I wrote on Facebook on the 6th of January, and it goes like this

06/01/2017 Where is Humanity?
Today worldwide the Orthodox community is celebrating christmas. Merry Christmas to all my fellow Armenians and Russians (etc…).
I want to take a moment to express my thoughts to what has humanity come to these last few years, especially in the Middle East, and in Lebanon in particular.
First of all I have to admit that I was never one to nurture such feelings before, but recently something in me changed, I was moved.
The Middle East is in turmoil, the Syrian war has had a lot of effect on neighboring countries yes. ISIS has spread and conducted many many horrific crimes in the name of Islam, yes. This led to a deeper schism between communities, yes.
I witnessed a lot of anger and hatred. The latter not being directed to the right source.
Educated people have been accusing one another and generalizing one’s religion to the actions of a specific community, country. I have read horrific hate comments, curses and intolerable words under statuses.
In Lebanon, I have witnessed how people behave towards refugees.
Let’s be blunt and admit that we think we are above everyone and anything that breathes. Thats the Lebanese complex.
However, by no means that permits a human being to curse, trash and make the life of a refugee a living hell.
These people are trying their best to make a living from the hell everyone is putting them through because of their race and nationality. We cannot generalize a nation. We tend to forget that vice is human and not related to a specific nation and religion.
I had a 30 min walk today and in my pockets were the change of 5000 lira. I passed by a woman with two children sitting on the ground and my heart moved, a mere 1000 lira made that small child of 2 smile. The gratitude in the mother’s eyes were enough to make me feel great. Two more refugees, an old man sick on the ground and an old woman with a child accepted the 1000 lira each and smiled back.
I want to stress on the fact that we should stop looking at people as where do they come from? What is their religion? I have heard so many things on Islam. Islam is not my religion. I do not know what it is about, honestly. All I know is that I doubt God’s message is about hatred, wars and Jihad. I am fed up from hearing such and such being said and written in the holy book. Please instead of babbling such obscenities and generalities you have picked up from a close minded older generation, show me a written statement. Because I have come to see people as they are. HUMANS! And as a human, we need to be there to one another and most importantly RESPECT one another.
A few days back I heard a conversation of a newly wed who had decided not to bring a child in this world. A world she has come to despise. Well for one, I do not agree. I SAY bring a child to the world and educate him to love everyone, give him the values that you were brought in, to embrace humanity, hoping that one day we will all unite to make the world a better place.
And stop spreading hatred. Just stop. Because in the end, that says a lot about you as a person than the message you are trying to spread.
Good Friday everyone.”

A few days back I was walking home, listening to my iPod, minding my own business when a young girl approached me. She couldn’t have been more than 13. She was wandering the streets selling Bic. I dismissed her with a sign that I am not interested in what she is selling. Rather than walk away, I asked her “Do you need anything else?”. She asked me if I could get her some water from the neighboring market. How can I say no to a child? We entered the supermarket and she chose a 1L bottle of water. I was moved. She was purchasing the bottle, her family in mind. I asked her if she wanted anything else. She is a child and I am certain that it is not everyday she has the opportunity to choose. Despite the cold weather she said she wanted ice cream. One she would share with her brother. I was moved. I reminded her of the cold breeze. Her voice was plaintive. For a split second, I felt like a mother and caved in. She went to chose from the wide selection of ice creams. When I told her to chose one of the three in the first fridge, she looked at me and said “no, these are expensive, let me get one of those” (+1$). She startled me, “None sense” I answered back and bought her the strawberry flavored one. For her age and her current situation she was aware of the price tags merely by looking at the packaging. It is only while paying that I noticed the people around me looking at us and smiling. They were smiling at this happy little girl. They were happy because this young child was happy. They were grateful. I was happy. Most of all, I was happy because an 11 year old was being her age again. I had given humanity hope. And most importantly, I had given a child hope. We walked back and took a selfie. Her name is Joudi. She is from Syria. We couldn’t talk much as she was excited to go back to her parents with the bottle of water and share the strawberry ice cream with her young brother.

What would it take for you to open your heart to a child in need? What would it take for you not to label people as terrorists because of their religion? What would it take for you to differentiate between the victims of terror & war from the governmental agencies, of those same countries, behind these wars? What would it take for you not to generalize these well brought up children because of a few badly mannered ones?

Stop being selfish and rotten. Stop living on a pedestal you ungrateful whiny adults brats and reach out to those in need.

Be HUMAN!