Few months ago I went to the Lebanese film festival in Berlin with Jim, it was about remembering the Lebanese war. I thought I was going to be angry and remember all the political struggles accompanied with violent wars that I lived during my childhood all the way to my early 30s. But it was not the case. The Lebanese movies portrayed a different Lebanon than the one I knew. It suddenly hit me that it has been more than 20 years since the war was over, and the Lebanon I once knew doesn’t exist anymore. My enemies and my allies have vanished! the truth told in the films is absolutely not what it was back then or at least in my memory. I suddenly realized that I should move on, move beyond my fears, beyond my old theories, of who was the enemy and who was the ally and try to get a new sense of history much more mature.
I saw myself in the mirror when an old german lady on the bus yesterday told me that she lived all her life in West Berlin and no way she would go to East Berlin, even now. Yes now! The Berlin wall fell in 1989 and this woman still have it up in her mind. Her fears and demons are still building a virtual wall making her incapable of going beyond Friedreich strasse.
I realized that when I bring up the past I sound like my old grandma who use to talk about the World Wars as if they happened yesterday.
What is striking is that when we speak about our personal experience that happened sometime back in history, we tell it as if we own the truth, we say: “this is what really happened”, “this is what the consequences were”, “this is how I am going to feel about it for the rest of my life.”
But what if we live a hundred years? Should we keep the memories of our own history alive? Should we be stiff but loyal to what we strongly believe to be the truth?
Whether one would argue yes or no, I tell you that it was a relief to know that I really don’t need to fight anything anymore, it happened so long ago it doesn’t matter anymore. I can let go now. History is history and it will not make any difference if we hold on to it.
My biggest fear is not to evolve with the world around me, to be stuck in time and to be carrying one weight after the other, accumulating unnecessary emotional burdens which makes my scars and wounds even deeper. I want to be free; no judgment, no prejudice, no preconceived ideas, then I will start again like a new soul enjoying a second chance. The chance to be living in a free world, free of wars and hatred. Then I will start again building up a new history for the second half of my life.