Wednesday, October 16, 2019

No, I do not have anything to say about the fires in Lebanon.

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly
No, I do not have anything to say about the fires in Lebanon. There, I said it. Anyone who is anyone posted something or the other online about them. As Crisis Relief Singapore said in their ad "liking isn't helping". I saw a  teenager putting (badly cropped) photos online and an academic sharing a widely circulating comic (about the cedar in the flag burning) and then he privately messaged me an image of him in Miami by the sea. Do note, I am not debating if the teenager or the academic were not concerned, naturally, yes they are.
But in the grand scheme of things, I do not see how their concern brought more water to the firefighters, I do not see how that man who tried to do "creative" ads about what happened when what is needed is canned food or asthma medicine. But you might say, "Oh shut up Tarek, did you deliver any canned food or asthma medicine yourself?" or worse "did you do "creative" ads about it?" - I did neither, and no I am not bragging, I am being a realist.
What realism is that when the country is burning?
"Il faut cultiver notre jardin" (we must cultivate our garden) said Voltaire at the end of Candide. No better, he said "Oui, mais il faut cultiver notre jardin" (yes, but we must cultivate our garden) in reply to Pangloss demagogic statements.
So whereas I was not helping quell fires (that technically I had no ability to quell to begin with), I was not making online sensations, or making matters worse, or spreading some meaningless hashtag (am sure #prayforlebanon was trending). I was simply trying to pass the most fruitful, logical day I can making sure my house is being readied for winter (because, and no this is not a Game Of Thrones parody - winter is coming!), attending to what my mother needs, removing dirt from the roof to allow better circulation of water canals and other mundane non-fire related things.
Do I feel for people who lost their houses, belongings, or to the loved ones of the man and woman who lost his lives? Yes, I certainly do. But one thing I am sure of, expressing this on social media will not give my mother her night medicines.
So excuse me, I was cultiving my garden.