Wandering Thought # 96

In a dictatorship or a totalitarian regime the election is only formal, and serves the purpose of giving popular legitimacy to the system in place without allowing any fundamental change to the policies and forces of governance. A people’s belief in the election would actually hinder any real change, and only preserve the status quo and power balance of the system. In Lebanon, any election will be ineffectual in bringing any real change, since the country is governed by an oligarchy of sects, and the actual power is concentrated not in the parliament and not in the cabinet of ministers but in around six sectarian men, with each having his own external alliances and his own internal agenda. The oligarchy is as powerful as the central government is weak and ineffectual. The current political system incubates corruption as a way to survive and to proliferate itself. The current political system recognizes no citizenship and no sovereign individuals, but only subjects who must be used as fuel for war among themselves. In Lebanon there are no left and right parties, but only a form of tribalism that calls itself a democracy. So long as people believe in the illusion and do not stand in solidarity with each other around a shared ideal, change will be impossible.

Wandering Thought # 94

Words, they are the geological forces of the soul, pushing against the toughest and most deeply imbedded boundaries and structures, with great patience eroding, stretching, pulling, transforming, and giving us the tools to control ourselves, to rise above ourselves and overcome ourselves, and shape our own destinies.

Haibun # 3

A crow flies below the crescent moon at twilight as the first star appears in the darkening sky. The sound of running water from a nearby stream mixes with the voices of the dying day. Something from the deep is sounding, but for who?—and what does it all mean?

With a thread of fragrance
I tie my poem
to the sail of the moon

Avec un fil de parfum
j’attache mon poème
au voile de la lune

Wandering Thought # 44

Change sets in and our first reaction is one of resistance; we fear the pull into the unknown, and the way it forcefully pushes itself into our lives without care for our feelings. So we resist, yet simultaneously and reluctantly react, as we must, since change will not disappear simply because we wish it. Yet down the river and as its waters pull us further and further from the shore where we felt safe, we notice how we are no longer looking back; we have accustomed ourselves now to the motion, the waterfalls, and the eddies of the water, have grown perhaps the suitable set of muscles to swim these particular curves, and are now coming to a new shore we were not previously aware of its existence. Our resistance ceases, and our fear drops away. The water throws us upon this new shore, and, looking back, we feel a subtle gratefulness in our hearts as we become aware of just what it is we gained by being thus hurled out of our safety into an unknown and something not common to us. Surely, we have gained a new set of skills we previously lacked, skills we are now eager to practice and show off and perform, skills enabling a better grasp upon our life, a better navigation through life. We also laugh at our resistance, and deem it a bit infantile from our part, that we resist precisely where we should embrace and be daring. We understand that change will come again, and that as it comes we will still fall upon our age old emotional mechanism and resist; but, we hope, time after time our resistance will lessen as in contrast our sense of daring will gain the upper hand; we hope that, one day, we will become seafarers and daredevils, daring the widest ocean and the most unsettling experience to come our way.