LEBANON: Roses, Ruins, Renewal, Reciprocity, Reflections
Just back from a (too) quick few days in Lebanon to do some Research & Development -- and see if/how One Light Global might spread some love & LIGHT in this beautiful country by the sea… there were so many unexpected changes to plans that I ended up spending most of the few days with amazing friends old and new! What a treat! The Lebanese are some of the most hospitable and generous people I've ever met! Lebanon, located right next to Syria, is hosting 1-2 million refugees from the Syrian war. It's a small country, so that's equivalent to about a quarter of the pre-war population (um, cough, hear that eu?) It’s population is almost equally divided between Christian and Muslim, and historic mosques and churches are interspersed throughout the winding streets of every city, peeking through the palm fronds and tropical fruit trees.
The refugee situation there is an interesting turn of events -- Lebanon and Syria have a challenging history. When Lebanon allowed Palestinian refugees safety from Israel, Israel invaded and bombed Lebanon. The Syrian army helped Lebanon to stop the bombings from Israel, but then overstayed their welcome (by about 30 years) and became an oppressive occupier in their own right until they finally left in 2000 when Bashar al-Assad came to power. So there are definitely mixed feelings & tensions between the two nationalities politically...
The Palestinians who escaped to Lebanon are still living in camps, and part of my trip was visiting a camp that has been occupied for more than 60 years, and is now beginning to host Syrian refugees as well. One of my dear friends Bilal is working with a lovely organization to fix infrastructure problems there – the electric wires hang like so many snakes in an Amazonian jungle waiting to strike - and starting an artistic creative movement with the youth.
A recent study says the average time spent in a refugee camp is 17 years. There are about 60 million refugees in camps globally. I have several new friends who grew up in camps. This is a systemic global issue that needs our love, compassion, attention, creativity, innovation, and to be looked at with the eyes of equality and interdependence.
I didn’t make my trip to Lebanon public as I had mixed reviews of the safety there and didn’t want anyone to worry. In fact, while I was there an explosion occurred near my friends house. So close he could smell it. However it wasn't as bad as the one in Turkey just the week before not so far from our house. Neither of which were as bad as Orlando. All of which make my heart ache for all those who live in war zones and under threat of open fire daily. I long for us all to be in safety.
This trip has taken me deeper down the winding roads of many inquiries…
Where/what is safe and unsafe? How much can we let it shape our decisions and the shape of our lives? Exactly how big is this fish our hook has latched into? Are we ready to be subsumed in the waters with it? So many other hooks – who shall we collaborate with and how? How can beauty, pain, intimacy and hatred be interwoven so intricately? What is the design? Is there a pattern? Some spiritual fractal? What is suffering – what is wholeness? – what is healing? What is ours to heal through initiative and ours to leave to faithful trust? How can we help our human family with dignity and unity rather than pity and separation? Shall we focus our energy more on long term or short term solutions? Water bottles and sandwiches or education and industry? Personal, global, local, foreign, present, future? A man unfriended me the other day for helping muslim women and children rather than Americans at home... Can we divorce political action and ideas from humanitarian action? Is there a point at which ignoring politics becomes inhumane? What is the new paradigm emerging for for-love (non profit) organizations? Can we untangle the threads in the ever-changing and symbiotic relationship between self care and service? Where does one end and the other begin? What is the best ecosystem for thriving physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually in varied circumstances and how do they balance? Where is the river flowing? How do we best listen?
WHAT WOULD LOVE DO?
In it all with you, with infinite love always, Zoë <3 #livethequestions #oneworld #onefamily #onelove #onelight