Mleeta Resistance Tourist Landmark - Lebanon

Yellow Dianthus

By: Hussein Mansour

Um Ali has been alone since one month or more without any companion. This is because she prefers to stay at home and would not follow the displaced members of her family. She stayed behind to witness the hardships, to continue plowing the land and extract means of subsistence, and to stay alive and witness the events…
What are you waiting O Um Ali? I am wondering about what is going to happen. I know they asked you to call your husband and children in order to return to the village. I know they gave you their word that they will be safe as long as they collaborated with them or else…
Um Ali's grieve worsens each time she speaks to herself in this manner and during the very moments when she retires at the outside courtyard in front of her house. She wishes she could practice to use the rifle or even possess one like her husband used to advise her.
Whenever she heard news about the resistance operations, she obtained strength and courage and was filled with hope. She felt that a mountain burdened her shoulders. Hence, she sat by her indulged yellow dianthus to rest with her face shining like a full moon.
While resting, she heard a roaring sound coming from a distance! She knew that sound and stood upright like a spear! She felt the moist of the field, which stretched by "al Naqaa" area, cooling her face. She was able to sense some of its odor. However, her eyes focused on the main road, where a military jeep stopped followed by a civilian car. Two soldiers exited the first vehicle while other three "from the others" exited the other car. Therefore, Um Ali snarled and gloomed with her face signaling anger.
They came towards her carrying their machine guns. One of them approached her and said meanly: "Obviously you did not comply with our demands. It looks like you do not want to cooperate with us." Um Ali lit up and stood tall, disdainfully watching them. She would not respond. What was there to bargain for? She was not going to bargain for their futile dreams or weak power? She will never accept to live under their reign!
- Aren't you going to say anything? This is your last chance.
- I guess conversation with you is useless. I have nothing else to add.
Another one said meanly and harshly:
- If you maintain this attitude we will not let you stay here. Go to hell and pay the price for this silence of yours and lose everything.
Next, he pushed her towards the car and she quickly stooped towards the yellow dianthus. She managed to touch her and pick up a fistful of soil that she kept. She was finally forced depart her home. Later, she arrived one of the coastal orchards where her displaced family lived.
Abu Ali stood up after having his breakfast and said to her: I will return when I finish watering the trees at the western side of the orchard.
- Go with God's speed Abu Ali.
The chance that she has been waiting to face her son Qassim after the house became vacant from her husband has come. She was worried thinking that she was going to hear his same old answers. Qassim noticed from his mother's glances that a storm of questions was going to begin, as if the police department assigned his mother with a mission. Therefore, he was readying to flee the room. But she was quicker and grabbed him by the arm.
- Come here, she said.
- You have been absent for three days. Where have you been O light of my eyes?
- I was in the neighboring village at my friend Bassim, studying together for the exams. Don't you want me to pass? This is my chance to win a great life. I have the great will to do this! Don't be afraid or worried. Make it easy for yourself mother.
Her son's words seemed mysterious! She wondered and continued questioning him gently using a light tone:
- Of course, I want to be happy for you my child! I expect you to succeed. This is good for all of us. However, my heart is telling me something else. Tell me the truth. Where do you go and what do you do? Suspicion is eating me alive. I fear for you from bad companions. They are numerous nowadays.
- These are illusions mother. I am not one of those whom you are thinking about!
- Do you know what I am thinking? Alternatively, do you fear this thinking of mine? Your father took this path before you. Nevertheless, I do not know why he became frustrated after the Zionist enemy entered our village. He continues to suffer a strong shock. This is why he keeps asking me to disallow you from sleeping outside our house. Do you understand?
Qassim kept his secret. He was aware of his mother's puzzlement. He initiated saying:
- I believe displacement must have affected you and him.
Um Ali was moved for hearing those words. She recalled some warm memories that took her to the outside courtyard. She could almost hear the sounds that she left behind and see things that moved towards her. She felt some contraction in her chest. However, the gentleness of the memories was stronger. Therefore, her eyes watered her cheeks with tears of nostalgia.
Qassim took advantage of his mother's absentmindedness and exited through the backdoor before seeing tears in her eyes. He vanished as he walked through the lemon trees.
Um Ali walked towards one of the corners of the outside courtyard, where a stone stove was built. She placed a container on tope to wash clothes. The evaporating water rose quickly from inside. She grabbed wooden tweezers and started picking the pieces of clothes from the container to place them in the washbasin. Next, she sat on one of the stones in front of the washbasin and began washing the clothes using her bare hands.
She picked one of Qassim's trousers and started rubbing and beating it strongly with her hands to sink it again in the water of the washbasin. She looked again at the trouser and discovered that it did not clear yet. She tried to clean it repeatedly without any use. She looked carefully and realized that the dark color stained the trousers like a tattoo that did not want to disappear. She examined again the stain that refused to go away. She realized that this was the dirt of "al Naqaa" area that can never be forgotten. Its traces will remain regardless of the boiling water and detergents! I am the best one to tell about it. O God! Is this possible?
Stains of the soil of "al Naqaa" are on Qassim's trouser. She sunk into a wonderful and amazing astonishment as she repeated these words.
The next morning she woke up with her astonishment still existent. She wondered: "Did Qassim grow into this kind of men?" Suddenly she saw an old newspaper with something rapped inside! She grabbed it, unrolled it, and the surprising item almost fell to the ground. It was a "bunch" of her favorite flowers "the dianthus"! She held it next to her chest and face and started sniffing it. She closed her eyes with Qassim's picture hovering above her head like a cloud.

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

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