First, who is Mr. Georges Abu Araj?
He is simply a good friend of Bambi whom she loves dearly, beyond words. Below you can read his story and appreciate his talent.
Mr. Abu Araj is an integral part of Bambi’s childhood memories in Beirut (Lebanon).
Each time she visits her parents in Beirut, and literally as soon as she steps out of the car (after a 10-minute ride from the airport), she stops quickly at his “L’Objet” store to to ask about him or to wave at him through the glass window 😊.
L’Objet is not just a store where we find the most beautiful purses https://www.facebook.com/lobjetlebanon/!)! L’Objet is literally a monument of this residential neighbourhood that was established in 1967 (the father of Bambi established his store a few miles away, around that time in 1961, imagine! One day, Bambi will write about her dad’s inspiring story, as entrepreneur).
To come back to L’Objet, Bambi has beautiful childhood memories of this store, of playing in front of it, of walking by it, or simply of daily seeing it from her parents’ balcony 😊.
One memory is literally like a miracle to her. L’Objet (or was it God through L’Objet?) saved Bambi’s life, so to speak… and, most importantly to her then, it saved her cousin’s life (she was under her responsibility). Indeed, Valérie (cousin) was sleeping over. It was Roula’s birthday (sister). Bambi (14 or 15 then?) was determined to offer her sister a book. Valérie and her went to a bookstore, just one street away. As soon as they arrived, Bambi felt the urge to leave the place, telling her cousin: “Let’s go purchase something from L’Objet!” They waked to L’Objet (a 0.5-minute walk). Upon their arrival, a HUGE explosion took place, just across from that bookstore! Bambi will never forget the scene of her mom screaming her name from the balcony. She could not walk to her balcony as her knees were shaking (fear). It is Mr. Abu Araj who kindly run outside to reassure Bambi’s mom. Bless his kindness. The explosion killed two kids whilst injuring citizens. The siblings’ names were Élie and Suzanne. Even in middle age, Bambi keeps praying for them in her heart.
Sorry for this graphic story about war… To come back to Mr. Abu Araj, he lived in Lebanon throughout civil war, like Bambi’s family. Like them, he also immigrated to Québec (Canada). Like Bambi’s family he returned back to his birth country (at the end of war) when Lebanon’s days were brighter than today.
Once again, like her own family, Mr. Abu Araja is attached to both Lebanon and Canada.
To use his own words, “Even if Lebanon is my homeland, Canada competes with it because between Canada and myself, there is a continuous love story”.
Mr. Abu Araj’s words take their full meaning when we know how genuine he is. No wonder he remains grateful and faithful to his love of Canada.
In addition to being a skilled merchant, he is a cultivated man who loves literature and arts.
Right now, like many Lebanese citizens (especially those of his age), he is deeply sad to see his country diving into hell like that. The covid-19 pandemic finished Lebanon, literally pushing it into famine… but make no mistake. This is not the fault of a tiny deadly mean virus. This is rather due to the metastases of decades of systemic corruption by Lebanon’s political leaders. It may also be due to mismanagement, regardless of the intentions ☹.
Inspired by Mr. Boris Vian’s poem entitled The Deserter (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boris_Vian), Mr. Abu Araj wrote verses about Lebanon’s sad reality. Bambi is eager to share her friend’s talent below!
To borrow Mr. Abu Araj’s own words again, “Mr. Vian conceived his poem, called the Deserter, in suffering and in the revolt against a war he did not conceive. This may be the same feeling that made me scream my pain and desperation of seeing what is happening to a unique country in the world. I knowingly say the latter without wanting to denigrate or hurt anyone”.
Before concluding this post with Mr. Abu-Araj’s poem that moved Bambi’s heart today, she will start by sharing the original poem (turned into a song). Second, you will see a link with the English lyrics. Third, you can read a screenshot of Bambi’s phone with Mr. Abu Araj’s verses (in French). Finally, Bambi will provide a quick English translation of those moving verses. She will do so, urging Dearest Georges to forgive her as she will surely not succeed in keeping the beauty of his words and their rhyme intact.
May this dark cloud over Lebanon know how to move away. May the sun rise again. May a new Lebanon finally see the light… Until then, as we say in French, “bon courage”. Please hang on, Mr. Abu Araj!
Last but not least, many thanks for sharing your talent, honouring Bambi with your trust!
“Gentlemen perched up there
I am writing you this letter
That you might read
If you ogle lower
Since you are enthroned
We have seen the misery
Touching all our brothers
And laugh in our face
Since you are enthroned
The strings are chained
Over the poor wretched
Who are on the pavement,
And not even a plot of land,
To bury them,
Our accounts are razed,
Our horizons blocked,
Our saucy lives,
Only bankers show off
Gentlemen perched up there
Think about those who put you
In the position you hold
Think about all these fates
That you bullied
Think about this country where you were born
And who might see you waste away and disappear”