Editorial | Feb/Mar 2013 | If Lebanon was not my country, I would have chosen Lebanon to be my country

In every country wherever it is located, the Lebanese becomes a sincere citizen of that country.

“If Lebanon was not my country, I would have chosen Lebanon to be my country,” said Gibran Khalil Gibran.

The more I travel the world to meet my compatriots, the more I realize the commitment that they have to their motherland, to the point that I consider every Lebanese living outside Lebanon is a true ambassador of his/her country.

While the Lebanese are extremely attached to their land; culturally, socially, and emotionally, their adaptability is unusual.

They maintain wisely their special charisma that is recognized from a distance, the Lebanese people become genuine and sincere citizens to their adopted country; they speak its language, and make contributions to its culture, economy, and politics.

Since the times of the Phoenicians, the Lebanese explored the world and from each country they obtained the best of its civilization. At the crossroads between the East and West, the Lebanese were able to benefit from the exquisite culture of both worlds, so different, to the point that they feel at home wherever they are.

Recently, I went on a trip to Venezuela and I met the vibrant Lebanese Community there who generated capital gain which is highly valued by the Venezuelan native people

In Caracas, the capital, I had the pleasure of inaugurating an exceptional place, financed by our community and dedicated to our great Gibran Khalil Gibran: A library and public garden remarkably entwined between culture and nature. The innovative spirit of the Lebanese has no limit…

The Inauguration was attended by the World Lebanese Cultural Union “WLCU” delegates who came from the four corners of the globe to share the happiness of our emigrants who wanted to prove that Lebanon, who rubbed a large number of civilizations, is a synonym of enjoyment of life, not war or conflicts.

The country of Jacques Cartier is a vivid testimony: Since the outbreak of the 1975 war, Canada was a major host country for the Lebanese in search of peacefulness. Our grateful community has contributed to the development of this country culturally, economically, and socially.

During the troubled times facing our region, Lebanon remained, against all odds, a haven of peace and democracy. It continued to be, as always, a country of refuge for the persecuted or those willing to make their voice heard. Perhaps, it may often made wrong, but it helped a little in its own way by contributing to the cultural, political expression, and social development in the Middle East.

Gaby Layoun

Minister of Culture

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