Mleeta Resistance Tourist Landmark - Lebanon

Dina, Batoul and the Canary

By: Deeb Mohammad Hashim

The sunlight tickled the leaves of the sleeping flowers at the edges of the hills…
At early dawn, two butterflies sang and whispered to nature and the eyelashes of the fields…
One said to the other:
"Tell me a story about Batoul… Sing to me the canary song, which it sang for us before the departure of the moon…"
The other butterfly said as she gestured her wings to the spacious atmosphere:
"O wind that blows like spirits among the curves of the trees, do not break the majesty of silence. Listen to the running tears that flow from within the sad stories…
Yesterday sister, the family slept between these two mountains…
Yesterday, two children walked along these prairies…
Yesterday, love resided among the daisies that grew at the feet of the open window…
Yesterday, four candles melted down… Image of innocence danced at the doorsteps of the childhood that dreamt of roses… The eyes of Dina gazed at the far horizon… The odor of flowers breezed with dewdrops.
Yesterday, on her fourth birthday, the mother gave her a canary bird with a kiss as a present…
She said to her: "Feed it, my dear Dina, with seeds of wheat grain. Nourish its spirit with a warm love."
Dina and the canary strolled by the gardens and rivulets with Batoul walking behind them… The tamed bird now shares a story with the two sisters…
The bird became the storage of the secrets of a happy childhood… The two sisters fed the bird seeds of joy using their pure fists… And it sipped from their hands the tears of clouds. On their shoulders, the bird slept in the calmness of the late afternoon between the edges of the mountains… It sang for them the creation of the creator, the best of songs, and the walls of the valleys echoed its anthems like a captivating magic…
The bird can no longer sleep at night unless it listens to the stories of Dina and Batoul…
And both sisters can no longer wakeup unless it sang to them the psalms of the morning gentle breeze…
The second butterfly dusted off its wings and said:
"Tell me sister about the last farewell… How did that dreaming company ended into a farewell…"
The first butterfly said:
"On that springy day that was rich with the odor of soil, Batoul told her mother that she saw what seemed like a vision at early dawn. She saw the angels hovering around her bed, wearing snow white clothes. They began spreading around the beds of the sleepers a magical perfume, spraying from their wings spectacular phantoms…
She saw the crying candles of Christmas… Batoul said she could not understand why the candles cried. And the Canary bird gazed at the angels and started singing songs that were mixed with all colors of joy and all colors of sadness. Hence, its songs changed into sanguineous blood that flew richly and mixed with the phantoms of the angels and the tears of the candles.
On that very day, Dina and Batoul continued their final journey supervised by the butterflies…
The two sisters drank the nectar of flowers until satisfaction… They sang to freedom, to life, to the bird of the prairies, whereas the leaves of the trees were chanted… At sunset, they kissed what appeared to be like the last farewell of a light that rayed from the forehead of the fading sun…
When the night stretched its scarf and the family reposed, Dina felt the breeze which seeped through the vines that hang by the window. She stood up to embrace the canary bird and placed it beside her. She covered it with her gown and began wiping its feathers with her soft and warm fingers. She told it about the arriving spring, the swings of the holiday, the school outfit, the drawing book, and the coloring pencils. She promised that she will draw a nest that would embrace the wind above the branches of the carob tree that rose at the cliff of the mountain… The canary closed its sleepy eyes, unlocked the ties of the vision after going into a deep and peaceful sleep, and began dreaming of the next morning…
However, the morning never came on that very day… It was a morningless day… The night was endlessly pitch-black…
On that day, the canary bird did not see the sunlight and did not wave its soft feathers under the warmth of its rays.
Nonetheless, it could feel the dust all over the region. The thunder was roaring a sound that deafened the ears. The bird saw a rising flame that was engulfing everything… The walls started caving in on top of the sleeping bodies… The formidable and awful scorching flames arrived to burn the bed of Dina and Batoul as well as the bed of the parents…
The family was facing what seemed like a dream before the eyes of the sad bird turned into four candles and began melting in pain with tears and blood… Images of sadness and joy mixed in front of the eyes of the dazzled bird.
On her birthday yesterday, Dina unlit four candles… Who was going to unlit her candle today as she cries out her departure?
Batoul said in a dimmed voice: "I am burning O mother like a flame at the national alter of my absent homeland and sleeping parents… Hold me to your chest and let your tenderness distinguish the flames of my suffering. Dress my bleeding wounds because my desire for life continues to exist."
Dina reached out for her mother's hands using what is left of her fading strength and kissed them with her dusty lips pleading, begging, and yelling: "It is I your little coddled child O mother… I ask you for a last gentle touch before my departure… Mother, your touches have forever been the shelter of your two children who escaped from the darkness and fear of the night. What is wrong with your fingers? They seem to be full of wounds. What is wrong with your hands? They do not seem to be able to reach out for me and wipe the traveling dust off my face..."
When the father heard the screams of the two children from behind the aches and the flowing blood, and when he sensed the silence of the mother, he called after them using the remaining strength of his spirit that was seeping out of his veins: "Oh Dina…. Oh Batoul… Come to me my little ones and distinguish your fire through my mortal body. Sip from its parts the remains of the age of youth… Take from my eyes their humanity… One for Batoul and the other for Dina… Through them, continue your long journey and plant it with my eyelids to grow into flowers… O bride and groom, don't you think it is time for your wedding dresses to be dusted with soil? O flowers, don't you think it is time for the garden to lose you?"
Next, the father closed his eyes… The ghost of sleepiness dallied with the two children… The awesomeness of silence overwhelmed the ruins of the place… Nothing could disturb it but the emanating hissing of the fire snakes…
The bird sat with its broken wings over the shattered coloring pencils wanting to launch from its throat a call for help… However, the overflowing tears were stronger than the singing throats. Hence, it succumbed to crying… As soon as it felt the dryness of the eyes, it squeezed out of them two tears, which it gave to its two companions and squeezed two other tears for the parents…
When the four coffins were carried above the shoulders, the people forgot the lonely canary. It wanted to cry out for them to beg them take it along… It wanted to remind them that it was a part of the residents of these lifted coffins and that it was an inseparable piece of them. However, no one listened to its flimsy and wordy cries. Hence, it flapped its bloody wings hoping they will help it fly and catch up with the procession of the loved ones… But the burden of the injuries was stronger than wishes and overpowered the bereaved bird to suppress its will for flying… It started rolling over the rocks and spikes, moaning and grieving. It ended at the trunk of the carob tree that rose at the cliff of the mountain. From there, it began observing the funeral procession that was disappearing behind the foggy clouds and the trees that rose up to the skies, where Dina had promised him on that very night that she was going to draw for him a nest that will be shaded by the sprouts.
The sad bird sat still at the tree trunk for three consecutive nights and would not leave until it breathed its last breath while gazed at the distant horizon, where the loved ones disappeared at sunrise.
The butterfly stopped talking and wiped a tear that shined its eyes. The two butterflies started covering the bird's corpse with tree leaves and fruits. Besides, they offered to his grave a sprout that they brought from a leafy plant, hoping it will shade with its flourishing leaves the graves of Dina and Batoul.


Dina and Batoul are two children from the village of "Jibsheet", south Lebanon. They were martyred with their parents after their house was raided by an Israeli warplane.

This tourist landmark is run by the Lebanese Association for Tourism & Tradition

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