Monday, 31 December 2012


New year’s eve and most people are writing their resolutions.
I am one of these people with a bucket list, but I am also one of these people who end up losing and forgetting that list. Then, out of nowhere, I stumble on it and realize that I have accomplished most of the things on it.
It was never planned and it didn’t feel that I have had a life of accomplishments.
New year’s eve to me is a time to look back more than look forward.
A time to introspect, to analyze and conclude (we don’t have to do that simply on new year’s eve).
I have accomplished a lot.
I have managed to overcome most of the things from my childhood that held my growth back.
I have managed to become a closer image of the ideal person that I want to be, a more patient, empathetic, balanced and alive person.
I have lost people, barely stayed in contact with even the closed ones, but I have made such great peace with my philosophy of “for each his/her own”.
I do not want this philosophy to be misinterpreted as not seeing the other.
It is important to help one another, but it is also important to grow as “individuals” and depend on ourselves for growth. 
I have met people with whom i shared meaningful experiences that i will always cherish.
This year was the first year of actions, all the thoughts and dreams and ideas turned into practice.
The explosion in achrafiye made me furious, and I learned how to transfer my anger into actions to help.
I wanted to listen and comfort people, so I did with the free huggers.
I have always wanted to work in a hospital and I have finally accomplished that.

I can write pages to express how much growth happened in the past years but I would like to leave it for the people to see for themselves.

2013, will be a year of actions and not just words.
A new attempt to create a way, to have a voice, to help and build, to inspire and educate, to touch and initiate.
I joined the “Take Back Parliament”, even though people have told me that my place does not belong in politics, that I am wasting my time and efforts, that it is not going anywhere.
I smile and I understand fully what they are attempting to say and I don’t disagree, but I have a different perspective. I have nothing to lose and a lot to gain, I have a long road of lessons and I am not afraid of failing, I have so much to fight for and years of frustrations to transfer into actions.
I have met fighters, not only through the movement, but also as friends and strangers struggling to get by, I want them to see what we could accomplish if we dare. I don’t simply want to challenge the system, I want to create a better system, even though I might not know better, I am willing to learn to create better and know better. I want to grow and share the growth.
I am tired of keeping my mouth shut, I am helping a person in need for a day knowing tomorrow he will be in need again, I want to provide the new generation with better options.
I will not despair. 

Sunday, 16 December 2012

a not so random sunday

I woke up at 8 am. My body seemed to have get used to waking up early.
Too lazy to leave the warm bed, I opened my laptop to update myself.
I made myself a cup of tea and jumped in the bed near dad, discussing with him the problems we are facing in the country and the solutions available.
We start arguing about a solution and I get surprised to see how patient he stays with me.
I shower and dress up then decide to go meet a friend for coffee. On my way to take a cab I stumble on a man pulling over to throw some garbage bags in the garbage can, Then he jumps back into his car and apparently his partner forgot to throw few things and as they were pulling over again, I rushed towards them and offered to throw it for them.
They thank me and for my surprise, ask to give me a ride, which I accept.

I meet my friend in the coffee shop and he tells me how much I am changing, I insist on knowing how I am changing but the answers were vague “you’re tiring yourself, you need to forget these causes, you need to focus on stopped being as fun…”
I tried hard to explain how important this is to me and that all my life I have wanted to accomplish something similar and that It is a high priority in my life, I can't close ignore it and continue with my day without trying.
I end up in tears, chocking on words, unable to express myself to him.
He comforts me and says “I don’t know”.

I had a discussing the night before with another friend that went in a similar way, everyone who knew me said “you do not belong in politics”.

I went over grandma and started talking with my cousin, and out of nowhere she said “Reine, why don’t we have a secular country?”
She, being highly religious and usually never interested in such things, shocked me.
I asked her if she knew what it meant and she said that she did, and she understands how hard it is to ever accomplish it but we must try.

I went with her and another friend to a public garden to spend some time and I observed children rolling on the ground and skipping around, playing on the swings and singing out loud. Their laugher was so contagious, so was their happiness.

After that, We went to marina to watch the sunset, and I climbed on a rock and called a friend.

 I tried hard to express what I had to express, the line kept breaking off and when it did the last time, I broke down in tears again.
But then he sent me a message telling me that he understood, and a sense of relief overwhelmed me.

I do not belong in politics, their corrupted politics, but as khaled said everything we do is political because it challenges the system.
The right people in the wrong place could make a difference.

We have nothing to lose, but possibly a lot to gain.

Thank you khaled, Nath, Antoine, the children, and my cousin Lea for today.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Charcter in a book

You told me you will be back once you are ready.
Days passed by.
Weeks passed by.
Months passed by.
I tried to stop waiting; I didn’t know how to stop.
How do you stop waiting?
I lived my life, without revolving it around you.
I tried.
I still choke up and tear up whenever I think of you, I miss you.
I terribly miss you.
I want your voice.
I want to see you, I never got to see you.
My blue.
I love you, my character in a book.
I have to write, forgive me, but I have to create my closure:
the end

Ps: you will always be a part of me.

The truth is not black and white.

In between there is pain, a burning sensation in my chest, rage, disappointments and emptiness, a yearning, warmth, serenity and a person who will wait till i cease to exist.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Little Philosophers

they say that children are little philosophers, not yet used to this world, they tackle everything with a sense of awe and wonder.

A collection of children's portrait that i took.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Abuse and Parenthood

All parents fight, arguing happens in all type of relationships. How you fight though is what matters.
They tell you “don’t fight in front of the kids”
I tell you “Fight, but fight well”
Because in my opinion kids will most likely adopt your fighting techniques as they grow.
Argue with your partner but keep the tone of your voice down and try to avoid name calling and accusations and assumptions, and if you ever felt as if you are close to losing control, take a time out and calm yourself down before you let your anger controls you. That is a small example.

Parents need to decided when it comes to their children what is more important: Protecting an image of the perfect family (they could be doing it for their reputation and out of fear of what people might think, or for the sake of their children, or both) OR protecting the emotional and at times physical as well as mental state of their kids.
I would like to note that protecting the image of the family could be more damaging for the kids than the parents think. On the long run it could cause a lot of disappointments or feeling as failures for not being able to attain and make this “prefect family” or from having irrational high expectations to how a family it should be and expect too much from their partners and themselves to attain this image.
Parents have an obligation to protect their kids and give them a voice when they can’t have it on their own.

When you bear the abuse, you teach your kids that it is okay to be abused.
You teach them that they are not worthy or capable of seeking something better, that they should be ashamed or settle down for what they chose out of fear of what others might say about them or think of them.
They might feel guilty, if they felt that you are sticking in an abusive relationship for their sake.
Trust me, kids have a huge ability to feel guilty even when they are not responsible, this might make them feel worse instead of better.
Don’t lie to kids, they are often more aware about things than you might think, and clarify and answer their questions with honesty to help ease their minds and not let them live a life based on assumptions.

Little tips I learned from spending times with my little cousins:
-Don’t stand tall and look down at the child if you want to discuss something, don’t also yell. If you do so, the kid would feel vulnerable and would see you as an authority figure and will most likely rebel. Lower yourself to his/her height and make eye contact and keep your tone of voice low but serious.
-When the kid does something wrong (and you already made it clear to him or her in the past that it is wrong) do not tell him/her what he/she did, let him/her discover it for himself/herself. Put the kid in the time out zone and tell him/her that once you are back to talking to him/her, they must tell you what they did wrong and apologize for it.

Last but not least, spend some quality time with the kids for strawberry’s sake.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Tell me your story

Our dearest Noor

Thank you Bilal for the signs
This is how it started with few signs in arabic, english and armenian which say "tell me your story".
Location, Hamra main street, on the stairs in front of a bank, time, 5 pm.
It was our first time that we attempt such an initiative, I expected it to fail miserably.
When we all sat down, Sandy turned and asked me "what do we tell people when they ask us why?"
I told her "I don't know, why are you here? Why are YOU doing this?"
And this is how it started, We wanted to listen, we also wanted to encourage people to share.
When people share with one another with no expectations, it brings them close, and it can create a sense of a bond in the community, others wanted to do it to provide to people a chance to vent or take away some of the weight on their shoulder, help them feel better.
We told the people asking us what to share, to share anything they would like, we didn't limit them, it could be a happy story, or a sad one, personal or not, a joke or an advice... anything they wanted.
The stories opened up, from this person who fought cancer, to this woman who had a family member kidnapped the 80s, the refugees from syria who some had their home destroyed and some were still going in and out of syria regardless of the situation, to people from Baghdad who advised us not to vote...
One man who has been traveling for years told us how he is often viewed as crazy because of his life style, but he was happy and you could see it. He would volunteer from a work to another just to walk in people's shoes and have better understanding of their perspective... He was divorced with a 2 years son who he considered "my only friend". When we asked which was your favorite country, he said "Lebanon" and then explained "there are still some goodness in the people here, it is fading but it is there."
 He sat with us throughout the event and listened to other stories and before he left he asked me "I think people are only coming here because they see beautiful girls sitting, i don't think anyone would come if they were just males".
-"I think you are wrong"
-"why would you think that?"
-"would you have came here if they were only males?"
-"well yes it is a great idea"
and we started laughing.
This evening didn't end without reminding me of what really matters, acting towards making this world a better place when we have the opportunity to do it. Listening is good but acting too when can.
A man came to us for help, requesting food and medication and telling us his story.
I usually don't believe people who are asking for money, I also don't give money to ones not working and choosing to be beg in the streets. Though when this person asked me for food, I realized that he might really need it and it is the least that i could do.