Wednesday, August 02, 2006

To Speak Faerlie

In a post a few days ago, I suggested that you read an excellent article written by an American living in Lebanon that refused to evacuate despite the violence.

Now meet the author, Faerlie Wilson.

Sitting in Starbucks waiting for her to show up (she loves to walk everywhere, admittedly not Beiruti-like), I expected to have a cup of coffee with a wide-eyed tree-hugging bundle of excitement that in some misguided effort to express her love for the Beirut she barely knew had bitten off more than she could chew. Sure her words were really touching, but would she still feel the same way when the war caught up with her? When the reality of what she signed on for made her doubt the wisdom of an impulsive decision?

I was very mistaken.

She is certainly a stubbornly optimistic person, but not naive in the least. She definitely decided to stay because she felt compelled to, but it was a decision she made with reason and forethought, not on impulse. Listening to her speak of Lebanon, the conflict, her concerns and her anguish at what was happening, you would never for a moment think she were anything but Lebanese, born and raised. When she says "we", she means us Lebanese. She didn't end up here by chance. Everything about her stay here is deliberate and intentional. Once you realize that, it makes perfect sense that she would stay.

At several points in the conversation, I would feel as if I were the foreign inquisitor feeling for the pulse of a local Lebanese. It is then that I would suspect she may even love this place more than I do. She asked why all the Lebanese flags paraded so proudly in the past year are conspicuously absent. I had no answer. I felt ashamed.

You just know she will be there with a flag in hand when this violence is finally over.

Smart, ambitious and passionate, Faerlie is disarmingly charming, with a genuine love for this country and its people.

She is however gravely mistaken in her article when she says: "I'm not crazy, and I harbor no death wish."
Faerlie, you're just as crazy as the rest of us.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I became Lebanese about 20 years ago and Ilove Lebanon.....starting when I came to Beruit in '87 to get married. it was love at first sight as dawn broke and the ship docked in Jounieh I fell head over heels in love with Lebanon, Its natural beauty, the open people and huge unending welcome into my huge loving new family, the unbeleivable taste of food, the love of life.......I have returned many times and always feel I am home on the side of the mountain overloooking the sea. Now as the horror of a few seconds rolls into days and weeks I feel the pangs of saddness watching the punishment you are all enduring. I can not stand the pain. I pray that it ends War is never the answer. Peace Love Sheri

7:13 AM, August 04, 2006  
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