Guest Post: The Silent Protagonists
A sigh of despair is being felt among many Lebanese, young and old, after seeing what’s going on in Tripoli and more disturbingly, the children with guns, a sight reminiscent of virginal rape, ugly, powerful.
There were those that felt despair at the thought of the country’s future. The future, literally, was a faceless child ready to kill. Others felt a more crippling kind of despair, a helpless feeling of being incapacitated by circumstances larger than all of us, larger than our tweets and cries and tears.
What can we possibly do to make a difference? How can we possibly save ourselves from ourselves? The sheer enormity, complexity and difficulty of our problems in Lebanon can’t help but cause despair in even the most optimistic among us. But despair wouldn’t exist without hope, and those who feel the most despair are usually the ones with the most hope, the young, the passionate, those whose dreams are still too large to fit in 9-5 cubicles, in small family dinners, in baby cribs and saturday nights-in. But large dreams wouldn’t exist without nightmares either, the nightmares of ceasing to feel, to care, to exist and to be alive. How could we possibly cope with such intense and contradictory feelings? How do we keep hope alive when it is constantly being suffocated by violent despair?
We could disengage, live in denial and cynically convince ourselves that we can’t do anything, and regardless of our value judgment, this approach would be effective.
On the other end, we could take on the burdens of the world, be truly aware of all the wrongs of life, of every injustice, stand-up for every inhumane act, dedicate our entire lives to the pursuit of revolution, to changing the system, to saving the world. A noble endeavor, yet one that, in order to be free of hypocrisy and selfish motives, to be more than just struggling poetry, requires a Saint-like capacity, dedication and mostly, courage, to face the very likely possibility that all our efforts will go in vain, that we may never live to see our impact, that we will never live to see ourselves immortalized, that maybe, just maybe, humanity is an accident not worth saving, that life is not worth dying for.
But there is, for the milder in nature, a third less volatile option, one which nevertheless, in my opinion, requires the most courage. What if we dropped the self-indulgence of disengagement and apathy and excuses? What if we dropped the self-indulgence of lusting after immortalization and hero-dom and inflated dreams? What if we decided to dedicate our passions, our compassion, our hopes, our tears to love? What if we practiced patience and kindness in our everyday unimpressive lives? What if we gave without asking? What if we loved our neighbors even when they were selfish? What if we listened to our friends even when they were annoying? What if we forgave our parents even if they messed us up? What if we loved our children and taught them to love? What if we traveled the less exciting, harder, but most rewarding path?
To the parents who raise their children with love and patience, to the people taking care of the sick and dying, the orphans and homeless, to the neighbors whose homes are always open, to those who give without asking, to those who fill the veins of a nation perpetually on its deathbed with opiates of hope, I salute you, you are the silent protagonists who keep the story of our country from turning into a tragedy.
Written by: Guest, who wishes to remain anonymous.