BY DAVIDMURRAYLAW@GMAIL.COM

Photo of the Port of Beirut, taken by Ibrahim Mater, June 2021

 

 

 

I ate frog legs for the first time

 

at a restaurant in the Port of Beirut in 1969

 

when the country was a half-decade away

 

from its descent into civil war.

 

 

Paris of the East

 

you were my home

 

for a while at least

 

at a time when the region knew no other Rome.

 

 

I am reminded of the frogs leg dish

 

(legs slathered in cilantro and garlic)

 

consumed at a juncture when one could reasonably wish

 

that all the world would like

 

this place for its tolerance and diversity.

 

 

Four decades on, the Lebanese have been witness

 

to an explosion

 

of historical proportion

 

in the Port of Beirut

 

a tragic metaphor for the corrosion

 

to which this small but great country

 

has succumbed.

 

 

Lebanon is a case-study

 

of how a place

 

adorned with beauty, harmony and grace

 

can lose its face

 

to the demons of groupism.

 

 

Where, my belonging,  

 

who I am

 

Is more important

 

than what I am

 

and how I am

 

and what I want to be.

 

 

Where one’s identity

 

Is a registry

 

for entitlement

 

and employment

 

and ill-begotten riches.

 

 

In Lebanon, the politics of identity

 

have endangered the viability

 

of its nation

 

putting at peril

 

all that people hold dear.

 

 

That Lebanon’s plight

 

be not lost in the night,

 

that the country may

 

again find its way

 

and show others how they also can.

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Frog Legs

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