Walid's Wanderings

Reflections on life, good-and-evil, family, humanity, and anything else that occurs to me, usually when I travel. Right now I am on a 6-year trip through Lebanon, the homeland I had never really lived in before.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

A poem inspired by the "Valentine's Day Massacre" of 2005:

My mom is dead, and father cries "For shame"
"If you should leave this house, you are disowned"
I know his temper and the way he blames.
But leave I must, and little can he know,
as I recall the same words yesterday,
directed at the grand and loving dame,
that neither point of view that cries out "shame"
when someone dares protest, nor fear of pain
that halts the human soul from crying foul,
have any grip on me now she is dead.

For no one who once questioned mother's worth
could have a clue what shame and honor were,
and no one with a stick can now inflict
a pain that equals what I know exists
from loss of one so full of love and care.

Did father kill my mom? The point it moot!
When he decried her yesterday, she lived,
and I ignored.
But with her gone I know
he surely lied.
And when he tries
to scare me with old words,
I know what's left to lose
is nothing next to what was lost before.

So father, let me leave, and go unblamed.
And sister, see his power lose its words.
And brother, too, recall that life inside
the house in which she died is not a life,
and death in leaving it is valued more.

Re: Syrian Ambassador's Letter Feb. 22 Re. "Hit Job in Beirut" Feb 15th

Another letter to the New York Times:

To the Editor,
I appreciate Ambassador Moustapha's attempt (published on February 22nd) to rally the faithful behind the Syrian point of view. I note, however, that those protesting Syria's as yet unacknowledged interference in Lebanese affairs include more than long-time opponents who reluctantly toed the party line but whose anger has now eclipsed their fear. Many others had sincerely believed the party line that national honor and popular aspirations justified any behavior by the champions of these values. Seeing that someone of Hariri's stature, power, and selfless dedication may have had something to fear from those champions has turned many old believers. If Arab National Socialism carried the banner of the greater good, Hariri served the greater good, lived the greater good and exemplified the greater good. When the sun comes up, a malfunctioning street lamp can still splutter, but no one will pay it any attention.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Superman died last week. Here in Lebanon, it feels as if we have lost more than a philanthropist, leader and economical miracle worker. We have lost a superhero. We have lost someone who had powers that we neither understood nor believed existed. Someone who, because of his powers, chose to suffer burdens for the good of all that no combination of us could hope to bear. All of last week we have mourned him, and now it is time for us to band together to avenge him.

When I wrote something along these lines on the BBC "Have your say" web form, they called me to be the first caller on the February 20th "Talking Point".

While I was thinking about what to say on wordwide radio and TV, I decided that I had a lot to say, so I am now re-activating "Walid's Wanderings."