Bhebbak Ya Lebnan

Yesterday, I prepared a Lebanese night in Fribourg, with a women's association.
Every month they host a country & invite people to eat while the host presents her country.

This night was really magical for me, 40 people I don't know subscribed for the Lebanese night! Can you imagine? 40 people I don't know!
It was a success. With the help of some friends and Jack, we prepared 10 "kebbé bel saniyé" platters and a huge "taboulé". Were also present, the "hummus" and a bowl of "laban w khiar" (yogurt with cucumber and dried mint).

We served "arak" of course and for dessert I bought some "ghreibé", "maamoul" and "halawa", since didn't have time to prepare a proper dessert.

People were very interested by everything, asking questions, asking me why I have blue eyes, how come my hair is blond, why I ended up here, and if it's safe to go to Lebanon...

Then it was dinner time, everyone was excited to try the food, and everyone was shocked by the huge amount of parsley in the "taboulé".
Down here in the supermarkets, "taboulé" is a "mutant" mix of "bourghol" or sometimes even "couscous", peas, ham etc... and they dare to call it "taboulé"!

Everyone loved the food, they started clapping hands for me, and thanking me for this wonderful dinner, and I was thinking that if these people are that happy with only "kebbé" and "hummus", what if they went to Lebanon & saw our large buffets and 40 "mezzé" platters.

After that I presented Lebanon, I prepared a very nice presentation about my beloved country, beautiful pictures, I showed all the good things, and then came the slide with Feyrouz and the music started.
I started shaking, I swear, I presented Byblos (the 2nd love of my life), Beirut, Baalbek, it was normal, but when I heard Feyrouz's voice and I saw the Lebanese flag on the wall, I had tears in my eyes, and I said to myself: "don't be a fool and cry now...".

So I held my tears and continued my last slide:
"... whether we are in Lebanon, Switzerland or Brazil, we Lebanese are generous, helpful and friendly. We will invite you to sleep over, even if we don't know you and found you lost on the streets. We prefer having a house full of friends than a pocket filled with money. We are the Italians of the Middle East, or should I say the Italians are the Lebanese of Europe!".

I was on a cloud, happy that I shared all of this with these friendly strangers all smiling, and I didn't hear everyone clapping, I was transported to Lebanon, and the only thing I was hearing was: "Bhebbak ya Lebnan, ya watani bhebbak...".

Finally as everyone was leaving, they all kissed me (yes all the Swiss people!) and they told me that their next vacation will surely be in Lebanon.
It was a great night, I was so proud to be Lebanese. I was so happy to show the good side of Lebanon.

For all of you back there, try sharing on your blogs the nice side of our country, and believe me there is a lot to talk about.

We all know that it's hard to live in Lebanon and getting harder by the minute, but do you think you can survive somewhere else?


  1. Thank you. Please stay the lebanese you are. Lebanon is proud of u and me to ya binti :)

  2. very touching! :) :) :)

  3. It is Sad to find someone else sinking in denial.
    Even the Italians say about themselves that they are superficial and shallow and all they care about is having the newest phones and show off around even if they do not have a penny in their pockets.

    I believe that the whole lebanese population is going through the 5 stages of loss and grief and somehow they are all stuck in the first stage of the process: DENIAL.

    True we appear to be generous and friendly, but if you take it a bit further, most of the lebanese are wanting something from you at the end. are aiming for your vote, your money...and most importantly your affection.

    I love lebanon, We love lebanon, but that pure definition of "more than a country" lives only in our hearts and minds and is beeing raped every day on that piece of land... :(

  4. I do not see how did this genuine "love-confession" and emotion-sharing turn into denial for you "Anonymous".

    I guess that the most important place to achieve the country we all want is by preserving "that pure definition of "more than a country" [that] lives only in our hearts and minds".

    Yes it is raped every day by a rotting society, but I think there are some hope-spots, some spaces for life to bloom naturally and grow into a future Lebanon, the same as the definition that lives in our hearts, minds and souls.

    I witness everyday the mutilation of Lebanon in all its aspects and when once I revolted rather negatively and declared myself hopeless of Lebanon, I am today sure that if we work to have the country we want, we'll have it or at least part of it.

    "Anonymous" it is sad to see you sinking in hopelessness through your ":(".

    Have you had some toom-extra lately?

  5. Please do not misunderstand me "Mr. Nutcocktail"
    Do not mix confessions of love with states of DENIAL, at the end, the process that i am describing is nothing but the product of an "emotional cocktail" that mostly every lebanese is going through.

    I am not hopeless and my ":(" is nothing more than the same heartache that you "Toomers" are expressing in here.

    Denial? it is not just that, it is more like a social sickness here are some examples:

    WE LEBANESE (and i am included) Care about believing that we are the best, the chosen ones, a unique creation of GOD almighty.

    we are proud of breaking many records: the biggest hommous plate, kibbe, tabboule.. the longest bar.
    (Cool what about the record of plastic surgery?)

    in lebanon??!? hah ya man you can swim and ski on the same day!!

    (guys, it is not even snowing these days in our dear country)

    Stop voting for Geita to be one of the 7 wonders of the world…

    (Haven't you seen the bridge in the middle of the highway it has by far more chances!)

    stop pretending to be Phoenicians… we are nothing but a primitive version of homosapiens, who use fire to burn things down instead of lighting each other’s ways, and use stones to throw them at others instead of building temples to unite our race!

    Stop pretending things that you are not, and knowledge that you do not have.
    Stop lying and giving lies colors to justify your dishonesty.
    Stop going to churches to see what this and that are wearing, stop cheating, Stop being hypnotized by puppets in suits.

    Dear lebanese, wake up! wake up and smell the sewage!
    And please when you go abroad,do not deny that you are Arabs, and do not be proud that you belong to a certain religion or creed and that you speak 3 languages and are open minded...

    all this does not matter! just be good people, and spread this goodness everywhere you go as the smell of Toom makes its way to the darkest corners!

  6. Thank you for you elaboration on the subject.
    However, I still can't find how what you have to say, relates with what Rana wrote.
    You want to express your point of view -which we clearly have in common- so be it, please write an article and we'll post it for you.
    The only problem I have is with misplaced comments/ideas.
    Rana is clearly a genuine and proud Arab-Lebanese-Christian what's the problem with that or what she wrote?
    For further debate on "denial", please contact me directly through toomextra@gmail.com or my personal e-mail.

  7. Hello Anonymous,

    I don't know if you'll read this comment, but anyway i'll share it.

    I am the writer of the post, first I wrote this post, because i was happy about a personal achievement.

    Second i wrote this post because i had a message and that message was to spread the positive things we have in lebanon, i don't know where do you live anonymous but where i live all i see in the media are bad stuff about lebanon, i don't deny, i know all this crap exist, i know the society is corrupted, but i also know we have things to be proud of.

    I am not saying that lebanon is the most beautiful country in the world, its bullshit, pepole saying that surely never traveled, but there are still some nice places to see.

    I am not saying we are phoenicians, actually i mock people saying that , iraqian surely dont say they are mesopotamian, nor the french that they are Gaul, I am an Arab, and i always say it out loud.

    I speak 6 languages sorry not 3 and yes i am proud of it ! Because i took me a lot of time and hard work to learn, while most of the europeans and americans speak only one language, this is something YES we can be proud of. Speaking 3 languages is a very important thing.

    We are the first people in toom extra who are not in denial and criticizing for ex : the Guinness book records Lebanon is trying to achieve, you can read it here : http://toomextra.blogspot.com/2010/11/blog-post_02.html

    And we are also the one criticizing every negative aspect of Lebanon : http://toomextra.blogspot.com/2011/01/al-tahbil.html or http://toomextra.blogspot.com/2011/03/le3yet.html

    But we also love to share good news and to encourage good behavior.

    I don’t know how you understood that I am not a good person in this post, you don’t know me, and every person have a different point of view on how to be good.

    If you would like to talk more don’t hesitate to come at our book signing on December 1st we can meet and discuss more.

    I am not in Denial, I am just realistic.



  8. ta3a chouf l ma7abbe l wataninye bayn l lebneniye bel congo - kinshasa ...


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