Lebanon, Summer 2015
I've been struggling to write a post about Lebanon because the trip was filled with such mixed emotions. I, of course, loved spending time with my family. I don't see them enough, and this trip seemed so short. After the first week though, I started to get bored and miss home. When you spend a lot of time in my town you start to hear a lot of things that get kind of annoying.
It's no secret that the middle east has it's fair share of issues and the whole conversation about middle eastern religion and politics makes me roll my eyes. I've always experienced firsthand, the senseless hatred among the different religions but never really thought about in depth until recently.
One night in Lebanon, during an Islamic call to prayer, I overhear someone talking about how much they hate the fact that there is a mosque in our town and that they broadcast the call to prayer so publicly. I personally don't mind the call to prayer at all. It is very beautiful and calming, and the messages can resinate with a lot of religions. My family is Druze and growing up I knew that we thought we were better than Islam but whenever I asked what Druze was really about it was usually brushed off and I was hypocritically told, "it's pretty much like Islam, expect we don't pray or fast or do any other those ridiculous things.
So on this night when the prayer sounded and I was listening to some elders slandering the mosque, and the religion itself, I had a sort of "ah-ha" moment and scribbled my thoughts into a journal. This is what I wrote and I thought I'd share it because it was just spontaneous thought.
Druze people think they're so much better than the Islamic people but at least Muslims know about their own faith. we claim to be Druze and want our children to be Druze and marry Druze and we have no idea what that means. a quick Google search will teach you all that you need to know but even asking my parents and family members, they are unsure what it even means. we beeline in God but is it not the same God? we speak the same language and call him Allah but become racist and ignorant with the labels of who belongs to which religion. this is the real reason the Middle East will never move past its unstable climate. I watch my Islamic friends be so invested in their religion and work so hard to educate themselves in the Quran and I am envious because the Druze don't even want to teach us the meaning of our own religion. yet children are born filled with ideas of hate that their parents feed them without even understanding the people themselves or given a chance to learn and then form their own opinions.
I also picked up on this trait that they waste so much food at restaurants. we were invited to one evening. After having this sort of epiphany that the restaurant was not being generous, they were just trying to show off and impress it's guests. At a lot of restaurants in Lebanon you don't necessarily order and individual meal. the meals are what we could call "family style" in America. they just bring out large portions of different foods whether you order it or not. and there are no exceptions. you're a vegetarian? it's okay, they are a number of different salads they will bring but they will also bring out plate upon plate of meats, whether you want to eat it or not. they just want you to see that they can afford to serve it.
not to mention that at this time Lebanon was (still is) going through a trash crisis. No one was picking up the trash and it was starting to flood the streets, and everyone laughed at me when I talked about how they waste to much food and it all correlates, but they'll figure it out eventually (probably not).
Anyways, I probably sound very cynical but I had a really great time. I took a lot of photos. These were some of my favorites.
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