I got it all wrong. All damn wrong. Being so wrong should be commended for. If there were a Nobel Prize for this sort of things, I should definitely get one.
When I was a child, I believed that justice would always prevail. No matter what. Ok, so I watched too much TV. Steve Austin and whatnot. But a child is made of dreams. And these dreams would eventually come to pass. Over time.
Well, in my case, they didn’t.
Many years later, while the Syrian boot was crushing Lebanon, I was convinced that the world would come to our rescue. That it would never abandon us. Never abandon a people fighting for its freedom and independence. Not France, the birthplace of human rights. Not the United States, land of the free and the Six Million Dollar Man. Impossible. Unthinkable.
Indeed, they loaded their tanks, chartered their planes, geared their boys and boldly went to free… Kuwait.
As for Lebanon, it was given to Hafez el-Assad. Perhaps as a reward for bombing and killing a people that did nothing to him. That never broke a vase in his living room, never damaged Mrs. Assad dishes, never pulled Bashar and Maher’s adolescent moustaches. Then, for fifteen years, they told us that military occupation was for our own good. That torture softens the skin and muzzles improve dental hygiene.
But one day, a miracle happened. The little fairy of human rights woke up the sleepers of this world, blowing in their nostrils the twinkling dust of righteousness. Drum roll. The community of nations stepped up. Hooray, we were going to finally have our freedom.
I believed that after the Syrians were kicked out, collaborators would suffer the fate of collaborators. Those who shamelessly licked the syrian boot and passionately looted Lebanon would be prosecuted, vilified and hung by their feet. But a strange thing happened: not only they were not bothered, they were given a change of clothes, a new hairdo and were presented to us as liberators, slayers of tyrants, and everyone who used to loathe them started to applaud them. And cheer their names.
Strange how people are always ready to believe the nonsense they’re told. And how eager they are to make it their own, then repeat it with uncanny certainty.
Good old dreamer me believed that all this could change. Through education. And culture. When people will go to schools and universities, when they'll read books, when they’ll travel, see new horizons, live other experiences, meet other beliefs, they’ll grow smarter, more critical, less gullible. Wrong again. I realize today that the most educated are oddly the most gullible. So gullible in fact, that when I talk to them, I sometimes feel lost in the maze of a Kafka novel.
So I started wondering. Maybe it was me. Maybe I was the problem.
Maybe I have to finally wake up and accept the obvious. The hard cruel fact that it’s perfectly natural for lies to become truths and for truths to become lies. Perfectly natural to hail someone on Monday then hate him on Sunday. Then hail him again a few days later. Never abiding by any of the principles we preach.
Damn you Steve Austin.
© Claude El Khal, 2015