The Promise of Tomorrow
It’s been four months, and I still can’t shake the frog in my throat, nor the feeling that went through me on the dawn of August 5th when I set foot in what once was my office, in what once was Beirut. The memories of the life that once was, the dreams that once were, raw and bleeding.
It’s been four months, and still Beirut lurks in the darkness. The explosion that claimed the lives of hundreds of victims, injuring thousands, and leaving over 300,000 people homeless, has left a gaping wound that refuses to heal. And I can’t help but wonder: will it ever?
If this is what apocalypse looks like, what does a post-apocalyptic world look like?
BEGINNINGS, ENDINGS AND GUARDIAN ANGELS
Last time I connected, I said “new beginnings were nigh, I could feel it”.
Needless to say the “beginnings” I was referring to do not exist in the parallel universe that is 2020. As I try to wrap my head around the trauma, as I try to wrap my heart around our new normal, the scar tissue starts forming, slowly but surely. But we must never forgive, we must never forget.
For every Yin its Yang however, and darkness was met with light. In the face of such senseless violence and injustice, the outpour of love and solidarity has been instantaneous, and overwhelming. For that, I will be forever grateful.
Me and my sister Jinane, shot by Elie Khoury
MY GUARDIAN ANGELS
First and foremost, my fellow Lebanese citizens, warriors disguised as civilians. They came knocking on my door that day, armed with brooms and undying resolve. Hearts of gold. What felt like an impossible task took barely an hour - an hour that I will remember forever.
Elie, Myriam, Mohammad, Tarek, Dina, Rita, Dany, Rafic, Mona, Fatima, Hassan. Thank you for making the rubble lighter, the shards of glass less trenchant.
My sister, a mother, a doctor, and my personal hero. The days following the explosion were dark, but the longer aftermath was darker. As the spotlight faded, and media coverage died down, the danger of spiralling into a bottomless abyss became very real… and very tempting.
Jinane, I am so thankful for your presence in my darkest hour. Thank you for pulling me back into the light, I love you.
Last but not least, the amazing global community of creatives, my amazing fellow designers. I am in awe of your generosity and solidarity. Jules designed a stunning earring in her studio in New York and donated the proceeds of the sale. Jackie kick-started a beautiful initiative with designers in the USA and Brazil who donated pieces and created a raffle. Roni initiated a conversation between the Super Fund, Saradar Bank and the Starch Foundation. Funds were gathered from all over the world to help creatives rebuild their workspaces. I was one of the many benefactor of such heart warming initiatives.
Jules, Jackie, and Roni, thank you for helping to rebuild and sharing our story.
Shot by Diana Mehrez
THE PROMISE OF TOMORROW
I can’t claim to know what the experience was like for others. 2020 has been universally humbling, and crushing. But people are unique in their experiences and coping mechanisms vary.
Coming back from the events of August has been hard. Finding the light in so much darkness is not an easy feat. And I am certainly not there yet. But I am allowing the process to take its course. I have had to allow myself to take the time I need to heal. Take the time I need to feel joy again, to recognise glimmers of hope, and learn to cultivate a love for life.
I have also had to learn to let go. Letting go does not come easy but is a necessary part of embracing change. How can you look forward if you’re facing backward?
My path is paved with doubts, some ups, lots of downs, but it’s been rich with love and support. Whatever your path and your experience, I hope you are able to find your way forward from 2020. Asking for help is not always easy, but the support and outreach I have experienced have exceeded all expectation. It could (and will) surprise you too. Just leave the door ajar. Just wide enough to let the light shine through.
2020 has been the epitome of uncertainty. But we will get through this if we stick together. Of that I am certain.
HELPING YOU GET THERE
🎗 Idraak, mental health NGO working on research, awareness, community interventions & treatment, offering free consultations for the people suffering from the Beirut explosion aftermath.
🍞 Masa Madre, an artisan sourdough goodness made with a touch of cheekiness and a whole lot of love, made in Batroun with delivery service.
💬 Beirut Institute Summit Circle 18, a conversion hosted by Raghida Dergham on how the millennials are challenging the status-quo today.
🍆 Nic Warner, a coach for men’s sexual enhancement, to help empower driven men peel back the layers of culturally sanctioned, socially permeated models of behaviors and conditioning.
🎥 We Are Champions, chronicles of the most unusual competitions around the world, celebrating weirdness, finding beauty in idiosyncrasies, and demonstrating what it really takes to rise to the top. Available on Netflix.
🎨 Dear Nostalgia, a contemporary collage artist inspired by the Golden days of Beirut, in contrast with the current facts of today.
🍭 Jouissance Club, une cartographie du plaisir, a book by Jüne Plã on sex tips for creative lovers.
🏚 Beirut Heritage Initiative, an independent inclusive collective striving to restore Beirut’s architectural and cultural heritage, founded by Fadlallah Dagher.
Till we connect again, I’ll be sharing with you some of my new works really soon on my social channels.
I know hope is just one inspiration away; may we find it in each other.
From Batroun with Love,