Reflections and Introspection

When concocting our previous theme of “loss,” we expected an array of definitions and subjects to arise. Accordingly, we found that some tackled death and the futility of existence. Others explored what the act of leaving looked like: from heartbreak to immigration. Then, some introspected and reflected on past versions of themselves, including what they hope to become. Also, we gathered Lebanese youths’ voice confessions about recurring questions they’ve had since the August 4 Port Explosion. The emotions evoked by these confessions were brilliantly captured in Melina Mouzannar’s illustrations, which we were home to. I had collected the voice confessions from friends and friends of friends. The project helped me understand my emotions about the explosion better, and Melinda’s illustrations were the soothing balm to any leftover feelings of confusion or loss. Seeing what I felt being shared amongst people and being visualized helped create space for my frustrations.

Onwards, though, I realized that the tragedy isn’t separate from the relationship I have with my country. Nowadays, I mostly feel unsafe in my country and incapable of creating fond memories about Lebanon itself. I keep thinking: what makes Lebanon up, and how can I get away from all of that? What makes a country? Some would say people make up a country, but I know my people do not represent the trauma and disappointment I feel for Lebanon presently.

I have been avoidant of nature, of the motherland, assuming that is what makes up my country. The port explosion was not the only tragedy that drove me away from Lebanon’s arms. Although incomparable, the sea’s pollution, the lack of public spaces, and the government’s constant neglect have all pushed me out.

I resent my country. Lebanon is my abusive mother. It doesn’t give birth to me; it pushes me out of its womb.

But just as I am predisposed to form love for my parents, the same fabric used to weave Lebanon’s flag is embroidered into my skin. I know I will continue to attach to/in/with Lebanon, as long as I am still living here.

Sovereignty is a complex theme that paves the way to multidirectional probing. My relationship with my country is more sentimental, while others might venture into the subject culturally or politically. Documented Experiences wants to provide space for various ideas to make up one wholesome exploration into the Theme of Sovereignty.

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