THE WLCU – A Sailing Ship for the 12 Million Lebanese Who Live Abroad (By Charbell Letef)

THE WLCU – A Sailing Ship for the 12 Million Lebanese Who Live Abroad

History with its twisted directions has taken its heavy toll on the Lebanese people and on the Lebanese nation and it is now up to the Lebanese Diaspora at large to collectively unite under one bond to save Lebanon. The bond is none other than the pure love of a country that proudly gives its citizens the sacred privilege of being “Lebanese”. 

True Lebanese émigrés never leave Lebanon with their souls even though they chose or more accurately were forced to leave their original homeland country and to immigrate abroad to another welcoming country. They simply left Lebanon in body alone seeking their God given rights to live free, happy and prosperous which they could not exercise and ascertain in their home country.  After all how can one love a country and leave it with all the capacities of the heart and the soul?

There has to be a compromise whereby the soul always gravitates towards that love, towards that country and towards that nation. The alternative is the absence of that love and therefore no associated feelings towards any gravitation whatsoever.  There really is no point in nurturing what is not there in the first place: it is either you love Lebanon or you don’t.  That said then this is not only an appeal to those who believe in the Lebanese identity but more importantly to those who love their chosen Lebanese communities.

Loving a country with perfect action reflects the genuine nationalistic feeling of a citizen whether patriotic or not.  Only with that kind of love, that person merits the title of a true citizen.

Some may call this appeal a refined nostalgia or living in the past but the reality remains that if you love someone you will do your best to make that person happy. And if you love your land, then you will do your best to protect that land. And if you love your Lebanon, then you will do your best to protect your Lebanon.  For what else is there beyond Love?

Those who understand the Bible should know this.  Even after 2000 years philosophizing, the world constantly reminds us of our Lord’s and Shepherd’s divine and timeless message with the utmost clarity: His message of love.  For when you have love, everything else follows be it actions, charity, generosity, leadership, patriotism, protection, resistance, sacrifice, thoughts, zeal …etc.

What then does the love of Lebanon has to do with a sailing ship called The World Lebanese Cultural Union (WLCU).

We have established that a true Lebanese title is earned by the person who truly loves Lebanon.  By that we also mean the love of the Lebanese nation and the Lebanese land and the Lebanese communities. A true Lebanese consequently cannot forget his Lebanese origin. And that person does not have to even be born in Lebanon to warrant that kind of love. Such patriotic love is often inherited.  Much like a person is capable of loving both parents, he or she is capable of loving two countries: the country of the parents or forefathers and the native country.  That sailing ship is none other than a voyaging vehicle to gather and carry the love in action of true Lebanese from their present local communities to their Lebanese homeland communities.

It is up to all Lebanese abroad to keep Lebanon as the community of choice and help the nation of their ancestors stay afloat and become a genuine democratic and sovereign nation.  The peoples of the nation form the nation and only then can there be a functional democratic system and elected genuine leaders that would allow the nation to flourish and nurture patriotism.

You see we all have a common goal regardless of any affiliations or beliefs or religions or ideologies.  We are all interested in the pursuit of happiness perhaps because the inner soul of our being is bestowed with perpetual happiness from our loving Heavenly Father.  The Lord’s Prayer reminds us of that.   

Ask yourself why do I do what I wholeheartedly do for my spouse or my kids or my parents or my community or my work?  The simple answer to all these important questions is because you love those people and you love your community and your work.  In fact, the purest or possibly the most comprehensive definition of loving a person is to simply make that person happy.

And because love gives and not takes, it returns happiness to the giver which ultimately brings us closer to that common yet significant goal of pursuing happiness.

What else truly matters beyond that point?  True happiness matters to you and you can only reach it or genuinely pursue it in a threefold balanced approach: you have to be happy at home, happy at work, and happy in the community to truthfully reach that happiness.

In that context, we work, enhance, and do well in our communities because we simply love our chosen communities.  And for true Lebanese, Lebanon always exists in these communities.

It follows that the role for the WLCU ship is to pick up all the fragmented work in these communities, harness them, unite them and carry them from the high seas to the shores of Lebanon carrying its flag on its tall sail for the present and many future Lebanese generations. 

Let us then establish why the WLCU and not other organization is the right vehicle and how you, the true Lebanese, can help and show your patriotic love in perfect action.

WLCU is well positioned to take on this role because primarily by its own bylaws and regulations it represents the long awaited United Lebanese Lobby.  Before we can target, harness, and harvest this positive energy towards patriotic use, let us first understand why we have fragmentations among the Lebanese communities.  And let us afterwards resolve to unite our efforts and benefit from history lessons. 

Over the course of history, Lebanese notoriously excelled in individualism and took their own Lebanon in their hearts as they emigrated around the world.  The passion that kept lighting their hearts was to return someday to Lebanon and to join their efforts and fortunes with compatriots for building a sound Lebanese nation for their children and for future generations. 

Recent events have driven Lebanon into extreme and difficult living conditions while ancient history at kind times invited noble citizens to lead the country into prosperity, nationalization and patriotism.  The Lebanese have witnessed many twists of history.  It can be kind if the Lebanese ‘once and for all’ become Lebanese and start uniting to building a better future for Lebanon.  Or it can be ruthless if selfish officials are elected, and corruption is promoted.

Because of its geographical location and the plurality of its cultures, in recent and ancient history Lebanon became the center of trade and commerce and the leader in the region in practically all fields.  International trades, banking, tourism, religions, languages, education, and missionaries to list a few all flourished.

In recent years however war was fuelled among its inhabitants and in all its aspects and the schemed corrupting plan of the others worked on Lebanese soils.  Post war economical tactics nurtured depression and sadly immigration. Strategies by foreign politics to divide, disperse and to dissipate the Lebanese were skillfully practiced.

The Lebanese paid a heavy toll for that regional leadership and the toll of payment continue to become unbearable.  An unprecedented challenge was born; the challenge of sustaining the Lebanese nation, the Lebanese homeland and the Lebanese identity. 

Stripped with earned privileges from regional politics, Lebanon continues to loudly plea the helping hand of its international citizens.  Priority for the Lebanese residents is now to survive.  The world’s Lilliputian is literally carrying the agony of the whole world. 

Regional politics continue to be practiced like a wild jungle with an aim to make Lebanon the easiest prey.  And the predators are continuously planning, teaming and savaging.  The consequences have miserably become devastating on the welfare of the Lebanese. 

As year after year passes, Lebanon continues to face harder challenges.  The economic hardship fuelled by the consequences of the war and the infringement of foreign politics with the collaboration of visionless and selfish leaders are crippling the country and are forcing any so called lucky Lebanese to emigrate for no return.  The times have changed for the worse. 

In previous era, the populous Lebanese emigrants left their country in temporary measures in search for better future overseas, only to return and to share their new fortune with family and community members.  While abroad, they also helped themselves and those who are left behind.  Nowadays, the trend is to eagerly immigrate the country with no return, and leaving has become fashionably associated with fortuned people.

For the caring Lebanese Diasporas around the world, the nostalgia of their Lebanon has risen stronger and stronger. The same objective is slowly recovering but in various directions.  The energy placed onto this subject is immense and powerful when harvested and yet very fragile and fruitless when dispersed in various venues as it is in the present conditions.  To this day such harvest does not exist and for a good reason I might add. 

No recent or ancient government of the land was for the people of the land.  Promoting patriotism was never on political agendas.  Rightfully, history has bitterly taught the Lebanese to excel in Individualism.  Therefore, there exists no synergy among the many unions, organizations, philanthropic, cultural and political associations that are working so hard probably for the same appeal yet alone their wings and masts are stretched so thin to block the destructing winds of evil, to survive and thus be fruitful.  Whereas combining and consolidating these efforts in a rightful and organized fashion would accrue positive results. 

True Lebanese never leaves Lebanon. Emigration is re-defined possibly for the Lebanese émigrés – one of the first humans who commercialized emigration – that they leave Lebanon by body.  Their souls and their hearts are still living in Lebanon and as such Lebanon will always live in them and in the souls of their lucky and future generations.  We take for granted the providence to say how lucky we are born of Lebanese origin!

Should there be a will of the Lebanese émigrés and emigrants, there will always be a way.  The time has come for the twelve million Lebanese to commence this crusade.  The time has come for the Lebanese émigrés, emigrants and members of the International Lebanese Communities to unite and consolidate their efforts for this objective. 

The World Lebanese Cultural Union (WLCU) has the venues and the means to place this positive energy of the international Lebanese lobby towards good use but the will is needed. The will to allow the love of a country gives its course.

Isn’t enough for lies and fake promises to be made to nurture a constant misery?  Democracy in Lebanon is falsely advertised and traditionally mistaken for sectarianism or totalitarianism. Everything is foolishly politicized from regions, areas, associations, jobs, religion, resources, speeches, freedom, walls, water and worries. Breathing air in Lebanon is not yet politicized but it will be if we let evil continues its ruinous voyage on Lebanese soil and at that time will we all regret our doing nothing.  The 18th century English philosopher Edmund Burke reminds us of the articulated power of evil in his famous quote “All it takes for evil to thrive is for good men to do nothing”.  

If you visit Lebanon, you will instantly feel that no government is ruling the land but corruption and decadence are.  The welfare of the Lebanese is not a priority.  No solution is proposed unless it benefits most of the regional and local officials at first and regional politics second. 

The average Lebanese citizen who lives in Lebanon is totally immersed in a survival mode and continuously rebelling evolving evil destroying schemes and economical doldrums.  His hope comes not from his forced weakness rather from his belief in his country and his countrymen the true Lebanese who live abroad.

Only those linked politically seem to have privileged prerogatives.  Regional politics continue to interfere and it is perpetually driving the Lebanese nation into the miserable abyss!  The issue is not to always point at the wicked and wrong doings because regrettably they are abundant or imposed abundantly. 

The issue is to exercise active love, optimism and not pessimism and to be proactive not passive. The list is too long to mention and it is not the primary objective of this appeal to comprehensively address each issue; the focus should be on “Isn’t enough to wait!  Would you not agree it is about time to act!

We need visionary citizens, who know how to distinguish between right and wrong for a nation and for generations of peoples. We need true Lebanese who love Lebanon.

Call it upon yourself to hold your strength with WLCU and support with your might the sail of this ship. Share with the rest of the crew your input, your vision and particularly your leadership. 

Here are few “starting point” suggestions:

  • Contact WLCU and establish your local chapter. You may also find that such experience could be socially rewarding. 

  • Become a member with WLCU.

  • Volunteer your time and services to assist in WLCU activities and goals. Share your opinions, your thoughts and your suggestions.

  • Advertise the WLCU and its goodwill message throughout the world and in your region. Establish a chapter in your community and help unite the voice of its members. 

  • Donate to help pay off the costs of the activities sponsored by the Union.

  • Own a piece of property in our homeland and keep it for generations to come.  Not for sale should be the motto for Lebanese land ownership.  If you cannot do anything to help, at least do not ignore this suggestion.

  • Avail your services and resources to help launch the WLCU connections with the media, the politicians of your resident country and the members of the Lebanese International Communities.

  • Attend and participate in the WLCU conventions. 

  • Promote the Lebanese culture and its language to the community and to future generations. 

  • Contact the WLCU via the website or the listed phone numbers and offer your patriotic love in action.

Lebanon needs people like you.  Don’t be misled with false propaganda.  Be the best you can be, a proud and active citizen.  Join your efforts in whatever capacity you may have with those of WLCU.  It is time to lobby for a loud declaration that Lebanon is above all, the cause of Lebanese citizenship is above all, and the welfare of the Lebanese nation and the Lebanese at large is above all. Great nations write their own history while the Lebanese have occasionally and often regrettably had others to interfere.  Time to repel these interferences!  It is time to invite again the kind history!

I submit the sail of this ship should and must remain tall in the sky for eternity.  It should fold not while you and the twelve million cultured Lebanese abroad have the love and the vision for a glorious Lebanon.

There shall be no doubt when we all collaborate towards this noble cause, democratic citizenship will flourish again, merit and harmony will return to Lebanon.

Only then we can hear the happy voices of the land and receive its blessings.  Only then we can happily hand over to future generations the green Lebanon, the land of our ancestors and forefathers, the land of explorers, peace-lovers and prosperors, the land of prophets, poets and writers, the land of emissaries and missionaries, the land of artists, musicians and tradesmen, the land of the green Cedars, the land authenticated with holiness by God himself  ”… The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly, the Cedars of the Lebanon which He planted ”.  Only then will our souls, minds and hearts be at ease as we chant Psalm 104, and thank God for being Lebanese. 

A sailing ship seeks the unknown, dare the danger of the seas yet provides hope and rewards when it reaches its targeted destination. Like our early forefathers of Lebanon, the Phoenicians navigated the seas, explored the unknowns, colonized countries, introduced peace and commerce, and spread the ‘olaph and bet’ which later the Greeks adopted as “alpha” and “beta” to originate the word “alphabet”.  It was then when Lebanon earned its greatness and the privileges of the country of peace lovers, explorers and missionaries.  

The time has come for the greater greatness of Lebanon. Lebanese around the world ought to join their love in action to steer the WLCU ship and hold its sail high towards its ultimate destination: the shores of the Lebanese communities for present and future generations,  the shores of Lebanese Lebanon.

By Charbell Letef

P.Eng. Charbell Letef, Co-founder of the WLCU-BC Council

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