Michael Totten

Too Perfect for This World

Lebanese blogger Ramzi posts a letter from a reader and his response:

hi ramzi:
I have been in the united states for 30 years. every year i think about going to visit Lebanon. but always something happens. this year my 18 year old daughter who was born in the USA graduated from high school and I had promised her 3 years ago that I will take her to Lebanon for a visit. but circumstances were that she had to go with my 20 year old son alone.
and now she cries that she does not want to leave even though she is scheduled to evacuate tomorrow on 7-20-2006. she keeps telling me but mom I did not see the cedars yet! and that tears my heart up.
sincerely,
(the reader)
Hey (the reader),
That story made me hang my head in sadness. But also in shame. In shame because we the Lebanese have failed Lebanon and failed your daughter. I too was like your daughter, at love with a country I have seen very little of. And when I returned after the war, I was on a constant quest to see, hear, smell Lebanon. To make up for years I could never have had anyway because of the war but still felt I owed.
And now, I have lived here enough to see what I observed rebuilt slowly and day by day destroyed in a single blow. I remember every construction site, every road diversion, every ditch. I remember taking a ride on every one of those bridges when they were fist built. And the innocent children killed were not even born when I first came here.
So, what can I say to you? nothing other than to let Lebanon always be in her heart and in her imagination. Let her fall in love with a Lebanon that neither exists nor could ever exist because it is too perfect for this world. And then let her return here when things are calmer, and let her search for that Lebanon in this Lebanon. She will not find it, but she will fall in love with the next best thing.
Ramzi