Travel Log Part 6

After more than two months here, I leave my Lebanese home for Jordan on Wednesday. Most of the kids in my program have gone and most of the full time AUB students have left as well since summer classes are out. My squadron of Abdullah, Abdal Aziz (Azooz), and Amanj are still here. Outside of class, I’ve spent most of my summer with these guys. We’ve spent hours playing basketball and cards, watching movies (The Dark Knight, The Prestige, Risky Business, Green Street Hooligans, Get Smart), talking politics, going to the beach, eating zatar, tawough wraps, and crepe, and practicing Arabic (Azooz has sort of been like a private Arabic tutor). Abdallah, Azooz, and a couple others have taught me how to play likha. It is by far the hardest card game I’ve ever tried to learn but definitely the most strategic and fun. My friends tell me that it’s more a Levantine card game so I’m wondering if any of my Arab friends back at home know how to play.

Anyway, Azooz is from Saudi, Abdallah from Iraq, and Amanj is from Iraqi Kurdistan. Yesterday, Azooz and I went to the southern Lebanese city of Sour (Tyre) and had a ball under the sun. Today, however, Azooz departs for Saudi for a short summer vacation and I’m wondering if I’ll ever see these guys again. I hope so. It is these guys and not the political slogans, the ancient Roman ruins, or the Lebanese party scene that came to define my summer and my Lebanese experience.

We live worlds apart, but this summer, a Saudi, an Iranian from the US, and two Iraqis, one from Baghdad and one from Kurdistan, lived as brothers in Lebanon of all places, where ethnic, religious, and national divisions destroy lives.

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