A pink taxi

A pink taxi

February 19, 2012

House of Stone

I tried to cut and paste and shorten and send. It just didn't work on twitter. I think twitter is an amazing forum for sharing and discussing. Many had suggested I move from blogging to twitting.

Twitter is for headlines, snapshots, quick impressions. I tweet about my fitness and diet plan, about the music titles I love, about the events I attend, about the quick thoughts I have. "I tweet therefore I am" has surely been pronounced.

But there is no poetry in twitter unless it is a single lyric, a simple quote, a clear picture.

Today, I wanted to share a powerful paragraph by Anthony Shadid (R.I.P). I tried to cut it in three tweets. Even that didn't pass the mandatory short number of characters. I therefore have elected my blog as a more appropriate place to post his splendid words:

"In Arabic, the word "bayt" translates literally as house, but its connotations resonate beyond rooms and walls, summoning longings gathered about family and home. In the Middle East, bayt is sacred. Empires fall. Nations topple. Borders may shift. Old loyalties may dissolve or, without warning, be altered. Home, whether it be structure or familiar ground, is finally the identity that does not fade."
Anthony Shadid, House of Stone, New York Times, February 19, 2012.

This paragraph is about identity, bond, strength. Its described in rich language. With "resonating connotations", "summoned longings" and "non fading identities".

We live in a day and age of abbreviations, of rapid connections, of nuclear families. Yet, for most of us, the Middle Eastern thinkers of today, ranging between the age of twenty and seventy, we belong to Homes, to sub-tribes, where we have grown and been nurtured.

In my attempt to reclaim my identity, in my voyages to the fatherland, I have looked for my heritage, my family stories and memories. Only recently I bbmed a friend describing myself neither as Lebanese nor as Iranian, but I hyphenated my paternal- maternal family names and appended it to my identity. Indeed, Houses of Stone offer tradition, history, culture.

The Spirit of the House may get diluted with inter-marriage, each new generation cultivating a paternal-maternal unique nuclear spirit, carrying with it the power of novel experiences and vanguard steps.

The Lebanese in me permits me to blend into the environment I live in, be it American, European or GulfArab. Yet, at the core, I have the preceding inhabitants of the House to look at, the politicians, thinkers, workers, artists, sportsmen, entrepreneurs, mothers, and pioneers.

This is the spirit I abbreviate in a nutshell, when I headline the ideas of a day, in a twitter message.

photo by Nadine Kanso

1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to reading Shadid's "House of Stone"'after reading Kamal Salibi's "House with Many Mansions".Both books ill describe the irreperable state in Lebanon and Syria,or Bilad Al Sham.These two Christian Lebanese writers and historians were honorable representatives of the Christians of the Middle East,who proudly depicted the dilemma of living with the majority.
    Unfortunately,the situation in Syria today,as it was in Lebanon in the past century;is a case of "Prison Break",where the various factions are prisoners of their rigid beliefs,putting fire to their mattresses,hoping to flee their status quo.