The Lebanese people are proud to be resilient in the face of adversity. Tripoli may be all up in flames but Hamra would still be partying the night away like nobody cared. Dahye might be mourning its bombing victims but concerts and movies would still be underway in the same city. Achrafieh’s buildings and people may be bruised but nearby Gemmayze would still be visited by its goers to drink their woes away.
Then life goes on. The following day, people make it their business to prove that they are above those bombs, the destruction and death. They make it their duty to show they don’t care about those cowards unleashing their hate and wrath here and there. Life goes on, yes. But it goes on exactly as it had the day before the bomb. Is that resiliency or ignorance?
A few days after the Dahye bomb, a couple made it to national headlines, not that it’s difficult to do so, by getting married where the bomb hit. Their ceremony quickly became a sensational topic of discussion: look at the life springing up amid the rubble, look at how gorgeous they look, behold how many ways the Arabic language can describe a wedding.
As I looked at the happily married couple standing defiantly in the midst of the location of a national tragedy, I couldn’t help but wonder: is that act of marriage, innocent as it may be, truly the best thing we could be doing at that point, only a few days after the death of 30 people by an act of terror?
That act of marriage – a mark of resiliency as we like to call it – is telling the politicians that are fast bringing our country to where it is today that what they’re doing is okay. That couple is telling Hezbollah that its current policies are acceptable no matter what happens. That couple is telling everyone they don’t really care why the bomb happened. They’re saying we don’t care if our national policies are weakening the country so much for Israel to be able to infiltrate Hezbollah’s stronghold. They’re saying we don’t care if the bomb is planted by some Syrian group responding to Hezbollah’s increasing involvement in the Syrian war. They’re saying we don’t care about all of that as long as we make it known that we are here and that life goes on and that we are here to stay.
Is it acceptable to give blind support even in the face of such adversity, to ask no questions and pretend nothing happened?
Today, regular folk trying to access their homes in Beirut’s Southern suburb are met with long waits due to the increased security measures to enter the area. I found this out through some acquaintances who figured ending their monologue about spending two hours in their car with “labbayka Nasrallah” would make it all better. They don’t care that they are wasting two hours of their day, every day, before going home simply because they believe it’s a mark of support for their politician of choice.
And it’s not just the people of Lebanon’s Southern suburb. Across the country, people are asking less and less questions and becoming more subdued by how things are, believing this is how it ought to be, finding solace in what they find familiar: whoever politician they had chosen to follow.
This is not the time to question, you’d hear people saying. But I have to wonder, if this is not the time then when is it?
When is the time for us to tell our politicians that them leading the country while taking all our lives for granted is not acceptable? When is the time to tell all our politicians that this sheer recklessness and utter disregard to the entire well being of the nation is not acceptable?
When it is the time to truly ask if that person we are apparently wired to follow is leading us off a cliff? When is the time for each and every one of us to say that no, my life and my time are not “fida” anyone?
I’d like to think the sense of resiliency when used politically involves some form of learning. A whole civil war (or two), several dozens bombings and assassinations later, what have we, as the Lebanese population, learned? I guess this isn’t the time to draw conclusions.