Let’s sit while Lebanon turns to rust.

Visiting Mar Mkhayel’s abandoned train station as well as others around Lebanon for my play “Aya Se3a Byousal El Tren?” (When Will the Train be Here?) (For more information about the play, click here) was a thrill for I learned so much about our history, our past… But it also filled me with dread and anxiety.

It’s all rusted.

NOW Lebanon couldn’t have said it better: “The abandoned train station in Mar Mikhael is a decaying testament to a long-gone era in Lebanon; a romantic remnant of a past increasingly overrun by sanitized conceptions of the future.” (for the full article, click here)

I don’t know when it all happened. When some of the best things that happened to this country started getting rusty. Trains, a way of transportation that could’ve saved us from so much traffic and pollution, are rotting in abandoned lots. The “toot toot 3a Beirut” has been silenced. When did we become so careless about things that characterized us as Lebanese?

“Sorry, my Arabic is a bit rusty”… WHAT?! We’ve been living right here, why are we speaking, or more importantly, why are we, why am I, writing in another language? When I was researching comparative literature programs abroad, Arabic was cited as a dead language. If only they knew what was happening to it in Lebanon.

Our own history is going down the drain. Some of us graduated from college and we still don’t know when our civil war started. Most of us become silent after the second verse of our national anthem because we forgot the words or never even bothered to learn them. How many of us were killed during our wars? We seem to develop the memory of a gold fish when it comes to our own history.


I love the times I spend with my parents around our dinner table when they would tell us stories of when they were younger. They’re my source of history, my fountain of memories that will disappear if they remain unrecorded.

What’s in your fountain of memories? What would you like to see revived here in Lebanon?

Photos taken by Dima Matta.

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About dimamatta

There is not much to tell... but everything to discover. *says I with a total lack of seriousness* I am a 22 year old English Literature BA holder, teaching English in Lebanon, at the Louaizeh Evangelical School. I mainly spend my time reading, writing, watching and acting in plays. View all posts by dimamatta

3 responses to “Let’s sit while Lebanon turns to rust.

  • Adel

    Dima….

    very nice post…. the pictures are amazing too…

    I could not agree more to what you have said, I ask myself the question of Why am I writing in another language too? I feel ashamed and this is why I try to write in Arabic sometimes, but the thing is you have to reach out for the biggest number of readers, and English is the universal language…..

    as for the national Anthem, this is the most disgraceful fact ever…
    They do not even play it all..
    Why did the authors and the composers even bother writing three verses…
    This is one thing that I admired about scouts and always made sure it got applied, every scout has to memorize the whole anthem and not only the first verse….

    Thank you for this post….

    Good luck for your play ( I hope it will be around Christmas time so I can attend)

    • dimamatta

      Thanks Adel, I really appreciate your well-thought comment and I’m glad to see that you agree (I also have great admiration for scouts!). Our current situation is indeed a sad one, and I’m hoping to find ways, even if small, to make it better.
      Unfortunately, the play won’t be still showing during Christmas, for many reasons but mainly because it’s set outdoors, and winter would not be an ideal time to perform. I wish I had a video available online, but we do have pictures and articles and a small LBC news reportage (all available on the event page). Hopefully, by the time you come over to Beirut, I would have acquired my own dvd and I’ll lend it to you 🙂
      Thanks again! I always enjoy your comments 🙂

  • Adel

    I just realized now that it is a show and not a play….
    Any means of viewing online?

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