What independence day means in Lebanon

Reporting to you again from my usual couch, listening to the national anthem playing on almost every lebanese station with a waving flag spread across the TV screen. At 9:30am, the anchor debuts the news with the common phrase “It’s not such a happy independence day for the lebanese, as we are in fact, missing a president and an effective army to march down our streets”. The long-necked news lady is interrupted as the TV shuts off, not because my grandmother had decided she’d heard enough, but because the power went out, at 9:30 in the morning of today. The power hasn’t been back since. I am now “running on reserve battery power” as my laptop constantly reminds me every two to three minutes, so I’ve decided to use the last drops of energy offered to me wisely.

When I was back in school in Dubai, we would await every November 22nd wholeheartedly because we would then be able to draw down our flags on our faces with bright markers without having to answer any questions. We would get flags with us to school just to show how much we loved our homes and how much we respected and missed where we came from, while about 65% of the rest of the school was everything but lebanese. Flash forward to today morning, no flags spread across any homes or cars, everyone wants to go through the day numb, as this year will be first to pass without the march of our army, because we have no president, or electricity, or good water systems, or good internet, or good phone calls that don’t cut during the first 10 minutes, or good people, or good vibes. 10 452 km2 of disappointment and ongoing-neverending-history repeating issues of a little land and a population of around four million and a half that can’t seem to figure out its own problems. Bigger fatter countries and cities have less headaches, but Lebanon is like this couple responding to everything with “it’s complicated”.

why are there no lights on your streets? “It’s complicated”

why aren’t the homes being renovated every couple of years instead of being crushed down to the ground? “It’s complicated”

why isn’t there a president today? “It compli-” Cut them off. Because this clearly shows you just how toxic this relationship is, they should break up for all the right reasons.

I shan’t go on any further as my battery is flashing cautionary red.

I wish happier independence days for the years to come.

SLS

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