N for Nasrani

During a trip to Jordan in 2008, I visited the site where it is believed that Jesus Christ was baptized. As I headed to the banks of the Jordan River, a group of women solemnly made their way back from the pilgrimage. They were clearly Christian, given the particular headscarf they wore and prayers they whispered. They prayed in silence but with a passion and fervor that was hard not to notice. Continue reading “N for Nasrani”

Will he Stay or Will he Go?

Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai isn’t one to shy away from controversy. Even before becoming patriarch, he set the bar very high, once threatening anybody who criticized or slandered the church and its leadership with excommunication. With the recent announcement, and his own personal confirmation, that he would accompany Pope Francis during his upcoming visit to Jerusalem and the occupied Palestinian territories, Rai is back in the headlines. Continue reading “Will he Stay or Will he Go?”

Remembering the Armenian Genocide

“Go ahead, destroy Armenia. See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.”                                  – William Saroyan, Armenian-American dramatist and writer

April 24 is considered by Armenians worldwide as the day in which Ottoman authorities unleashed what would become the first genocide of the 20th century. 99 years later, Turkey refuses to recognize the genocide. While 99 year later, Armenians refuse to forget it. Continue reading “Remembering the Armenian Genocide”

Lebanon: A Gloomy Look Ahead

Sometimes, I think it would be easier to just re-post my thoughts and frustrations on Lebanon, again and again, in view of the current situation. I am not inclined to write a “Beirut Yet Again and Again” after the latest explosion in Beirut’s southern suburbs on January 2, after having written “Beirut, Yet Again” (بيروت ايضا و ايضا)  following the explosion in Downtown Beirut on December 27. The nature of the explosives may have differed and the location slightly shifted, yet nothing else has changed on the ground. Continue reading “Lebanon: A Gloomy Look Ahead”

Beirut, Yet Again

Yesterday’s explosion in Beirut – killing former Finance Minister Mohammad Chatah among around seven others who remain to be identified –  is a sad way to end a year already painted blood-red. With the ongoing violence and bombings in Tripoli, Dahiyeh, and the recurrent attacks on Lebanon’s border with Syria, 2013 was a tragic year, but in true Lebanese style, it could have always been much worse… Continue reading “Beirut, Yet Again”

Honoring Mandela

The best way to honor Nelson Mandela isn’t by sharing his words, but by believing in them and breathing life into them. Madiba’s words were loud but his deeds were louder, and this is what made the difference he was prepared to die for…[1]

It is always hard to see great people depart. Part of it has to do with the feeling that they will take something away with them, what made them sources of inspiration and models to emulate. This, despite the fact that what makes them great in the first place is that their impact has already transcended their grasp and can hardly stop its course even after they are gone. Continue reading “Honoring Mandela”