Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Retold Story of Y

I don't know if any of you remembers the story of Y. Six months have passed since Y set foot on american soil and covered his back with the rugged and dark cloak of loneliness and exile.

When he first came, he wanted nothing of America but the science and the skill, nothing of its dull and soulless life but the hand that kept pulling him and his memory back to his shaky balcony, the dried up tree behind his half-century old house and the brown humid sand of his childhood playground.

Yesterday, he was back in Nashville after spending ten days in a tormented, grief-stricken land. And for the first time in his life, the sacrilegious thought of living and working in America found itself a small nest in a dark corner of his mind.

"The air was thick with despair, Fouad. People have lost hope. Lebanon is in deep deep mourning. It was different when I left for the first time. My mother had me swear on the holy book that I would immediately come back after a year and a half. This time, she told me to stay in the states if I thought it would guarantee me a better career. That's my mother, who would do anything to have me by her side. I just don't know what to think or how to feel ya Fouad. I do love Lebanon. I will still love Lebanon in spite of everything a thousand times more than anywhere else in the world. But after what I've seen, it might just be better for me not to go back. At least for now."

I wanted to tell Y to stop the nonsense, to stick to his guns, the ones he held when he first unearthed the map to the new world, when he saw the sad truth behind the hollow and utterly meaningless american dream, when he fell more in love with his country than he ever did taking a huge leep away from its borders and its soil.

I wanted to. But I couldn't. In front of me was a man in love with a grain of sand, a cup of dark coffee, a strong handshake, a proud villager on a mountaintop, a thousand year old cedar, an off-shore fotress, and thousands of years of running after a dream that keeps slipping away, and away and away, just like it's supposed to. In front of me was a man in love, painfully opening his eyes to reality.

I could not tell him to close back his eyes only because I refuse to open mine. It would not be fair to drag him down a path of almost inevitable defeat.

Still, on the far-thrown path to my lebanese dream, the same dream Y is probably going to let go of, I choose to follow and abide. Because without it I won't be who I truly am, and to that, I might as well stick a knife in my chest and disappear.


Blogger Delirious said...


5:42 AM  
Blogger AM said...

... this is so strange, I like what you wrote but I don't know what to say or think ...

6:07 AM  
Anonymous ghassan said...

There is a relatively new dynamic in the world. Like most such ideas it is not widely recognized yet. Individuals, the world over, are increasingly voting with their feet. The old traditional idea of nationalism is losing its hold as individuals conclude that they are above everything else citizens of the world. They will live, prosper and contribute wherever they are well treated and where their dignity is respected. States that persist on mistreating their citizens and abusing individual liberty will continue to pay dearly for their misbehaviour. Cosmopolitanism values the indivdual above everything else and thus the story of Y is being repeated millions, hundreds of millions of times all over the world.

8:05 AM  
Blogger Lazarus said...

that is a dilemma we all go through, and i don't think it will ever be answered. the story of Y is the story of all.

9:12 AM  
Blogger Joumana said...

Oh for heaven's sake. All we have, each and every one of us, is our dreams. When we let go of them for the sake of "safety" or a "future" we are giving up our soul and killing the very thing we whine "was just a dream". I'd like to grab by the collar every man and woman who decided to "wake up to reality" and tell them "The only reason the dream is dying is because you didn't have the guts to stand by something larger than yourself. The one thing that would have made you value yourself, you traded it for a higher salary or peace of mind, as if that weren't an even bigger illusion. Welcome to the faceless crowd of those that just didn't dare."
Defeat is not an exterior circumstance. Should the dream indeed shatter, those who stood firm till the end could still stand proud – and they will never taste regret.

10:28 AM  
Anonymous ghassan said...

Joumana, "Oh for heaven's sake" right back at you:-)

Rationality does not ask you to waste your life chasing a dream because a dream is a mirage. Working for an attainable objective is a completely different matter. Get of your high horse and stop delluding yourself through the use of purely emotional phrases that have no grounding in facts. Nationalism is an accidental fiction but what is not controvertible is global humanism. Those who built the new world plua Australia and New Zealand were looking for a better life. They had enough of discrimination , hatred and abuse. They were able to actualize their ideal in a different geographical setting and I am glad that they had the courage to do so instead of accepting abuse heaoed on them by allowing a dream, a mirage, an unreality to sustain them. Their success has been two fold. They created a more tolerant environment in the new territories and the new societies that they established became a beacon that shone light on the old world and thus helped transform it.

When I gaze into my crystal ball I see a world with weakened nation states, a world unified by its humanity, one that is capable of transcending nationalism and tribalism.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Joumana said...

Actually I speak from a much "real-er" reality than yours, Ghassan, which I am not surprised you mistake for emotionality. Nor do I care... You're setting your own limits. You deal with them.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Lazarus said...

hmmm ... people, it is possible to have more than one dream. Keep that in mind. In the end it comes down to which dream is more important; and of equal of importance, which one is more realizable.

12:44 PM  
Anonymous ghassan said...

The following quote by Kwame Anthony Appiah, one of the leading philosophers in the world and a major authority on "Cosmopolitanism" is appropriate to Fouad's original post. Cosmopolitanism is a revival of a Grek philosophy of the 4th century BC that teaches that the individual is a citizen of the world.

"The cosmopolitan imagines a world in which not everyone will find it best to stay in their natal patria, so that the circulation of people among different localities will involve not only cultural tourism but migration, nomadism, diaspora. In the past, these processes have too often been the result of forces that we should deplore. But what can be hateful, if coerced, can be celebrated when it flows from the free decisions of individuals or of groups"

I am convinved that the Y's of the world are transforming the global society as to create a better world for all of us.

4:22 PM  
Blogger Fouad said...

joumana and ghassan, I really believe you're both humming the same melody but in two different keys. Which is why the whole thing is sounding a little off tune. You ghassan are defending cosmopolitanism, but what you're doing is exactly what joumana said. You're standing by your dream. So there's really no need to argue. Different dreams don't necessarily cancel each other, and only time will tell which one will eventually materialize. What's more important here, and I agree with joumana, is to find yourself a purpose and surround yourself with hope, be it for a united Lebanon or a united Earth, as long as the end point is noble and serves the common good.

11:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you guys depressed me. I've been living abroad for almost a year now and due to all the shit -excuse my language- I went thru, I've decided to resign and go back home. Now all his is making me feel "what kind of a home would I be going back to?".
Fouad, u sure it was that bad?
Encourage me u guys, PLZ


3:25 AM  
Blogger Fouad said...

to Y it was, f. To me it wasn't bad, it was amazing. I realized on my last trip how much I loved Lebanon at a time when there was, by many people's standards, very little about it to be loved. And I brought it back with me in pictures most of which i've already posted, and in stories most of which are still brewing in my head. That was the Lebanon I rediscovered and can and will never abandon.

8:40 AM  
Blogger Joumana said...

I'm really amused anyone can pretend to teach ME anything about being a citizen of the world... To believe that it is mutually exclusive with love of and belief in one's country betrays a narrow mind indeed.

11:12 AM  
Anonymous ghassan said...

The straw man fallacy does often lead to misunderstanding and confusion. Note that your response to the suggestion that there is nothing wrong with cosmopolitanism was to dismiss the right of individuals to move about in the world and to denirate their choice as being motivated by "a higher salary or a peace of mind" which you go on to suggest is a result of a character flaw.

As for a quote by Dr. Appiah in which he praises cosmopolitanism you you respond by interpreting it to mean that love of country and cosmopolitanism are mutually exclusive. To the contrary, my freind, cosmopolitanism does not in any way shape or form speak of exclusivityof ties to a place. It only teaches and celebrates respect for individual choices in all fields including the place of residence.

The Y's of the world should never feel guilty by seeking locations that afford them the ability to seek self actualization and fulfilment.

2:17 PM  
Blogger Joumana said...

Ghassan, you neither understand my words nor are consistent with yourself. It is pathetic of you to believe that the Ys of the world are acting out of choice, or perhaps, what's more pathetic, is that you're just one of them trying to justify yoursef by any means possible. Just like the victims of 9/11 suddenly all became heroes just by virtue of havign died on that day, you are turning all expats into valiant citizens of the world whose reason for leaving is self-fulfillment – clearly you don't even know the meaning of the word. At least the Y in the story didn't have this self-dishonesty. Enjoy your delusion. I have no patience for your sort.

11:56 PM  
Blogger beyondthebeginning said...

One day we can just call our dream "Earth". Or we can use your languages if that would work out better, but I'm not any good at it. :/
This is a great story of Y.

1:18 PM  

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