Lebanon: a country that feels like home, without a single paper or travel document that associates me to it, only the blood I inherited from my mother’s side. By the end of the day, our sense of belonging is something that we acquire, and it’s never granted to us by a system or given to us by blood.

I can’t think of any other place that would get me as confused while going through my phone book and asking myself, “Who do I call first? Who’s closer to the location? What if Maya or Fady were in their office? Does Mario still live in that waterfront apartment? Is Mira at the boutique? What happened to Smallville? Chaker? Sophie?” and many other questions that crossed my mind in a matter of seconds.

On the 4th of August, 2020, at my gym in Abu Dhabi, I was sitting on my training mat and randomly calling people in Lebanon after reading the breaking and heartbreaking news and seeing the videos of the world’s 4th largest explosion.

The 4th of August explosion might be the most apparent crime committed by a rotten, corrupt system that uses the religious context to brainwash its people for political and financial wins. Still, it’s just another one of everyday crimes against the Lebanese people. Those people who constantly try to cope with the lack of the basics in a country they called “Switzerland of the orient” back in the days.

Throughout my experience in Lebanon, from spending summers as a kid to tourism, work, and medical treatments, I’ve dealt with entrepreneurs, bankers, doctors, journalists, fashion designers, artists, teachers… etc., with a set of qualities in common: loyalty, creativity, brightness, ethics, and love of life. Any differences like sects and religions didn’t matter. Their political views are very similar; they want the best for their country to the extent that they didn’t care about politics anymore and navigated through their day-to-day life against all odds.

My people in this wasted country might be a small sample of the population. Still, they’re the proof that this country deserves better and can do better and that its people deserve to live a life that’s full of dignity and opportunities.

Resilience is essential, but when it’s taken for granted and dealt with as the norm, reform becomes overdue, one that follows a bottom-up approach and starts with the people by reversing all the brainwashing imposed by political and religious organizations.

It’s a lot of work, energy, and persistence, and we all know they all are existent by only observing how the Lebanese are excelling in all industries across all geographies.

A year has passed, and whenever we reach the “it couldn’t get worse” point, it gets much worse. I don’t know what tipping point will make Lebanon the country we all aspire for, but let’s hope it comes soon.

For the love of Lebanon, for the love of those who genuinely love Lebanon!