Mleeta Resistance Tourist Landmark - Lebanon

Darban

By: Abdul Qaddous al Amin

Why all this grieve? The question resonated repeatedly inside his hears ever since he departed his kingdom. He almost tripped over the arrayed stones at the entrance of his old house. A few meters separate him from the reception hall. He thought he was never going to reach there and marched without any apparent enthusiasm. An 80-year-old man seemed to be more active than he was. He was 40-year-old, a stage which he hated the most.
The door opened after, what he thought was, a long struggle with the bolt. Why all this grieve? He toddled inside the house and his lungs were filled with the smell of the ancient times.
Silence inside home overwhelmed everything, the curtains and the old furniture, even the light that seeped through the windows entered with vigilance. The man tripped over the rocking chair that remains existent next to the large window. He clearly recalled his father sitting on that chair. Therefore, he shook his head as an unfriendly gesture. Nothing tied him to his father but the fear of his dissatisfaction although they were very close and his father repeatedly said, "This cub comes from that lion." But the lion was fierce and merciless. He did not even have a heart. The cub grew into the man his father wanted.
He could not bear the recalling of the past, which was an unpleasant reflection. Terrorized because of his childhood, he ran away towards the western courtyard, hoping he will find warmth by the old trees. Why all this grieve? He went towards the end of the courtyard where the old fig tree rose with pride. Even its branches shaded a nearby graveyard. In its shade, he sat on the rocks that separated between the courtyard and the graveyard. Why all this grieve? What is wrong O Saeed?
Saeed smiled with bitterness. The names will forever contradict their bearers. For example, Mahasin (which means beauty) was very ugly among his peers. Hadi (which means pacific) was like a thundering storm that swept everything in its way. He himself on the other hand, would mockingly turn his head half way out of unhappiness, knowing that his name is Saeed (which means happy).
This black cloud, which almost trapped him, sucked the colors of his life leaving it colorless, tasteless and odorless. His life became like an abandoned mansion, struck by wind. Why all this grieve? The question repeatedly exhausted and wore him down. He suffers a severe depression. The doctor said you have the answer- and continued- when you find it you will heal yourself.
Saeed looked down until his chin touched his chest, like someone working hard to look inside himself. His inside is like a dried well with pitch blackness and severe depression. The question is resembled by the great rock that sits on the mouth of the well. The answer is resembled by magic words. Saeed mockingly murmured … open sesame … The question is hard. Why all this grieve? Why? Answer me O my cold age. Answer me. Why?
All that he wanted was a large house. But the house became many houses in another country. What does he want? Enough money until he dies… Now he owns cities that can last for hundreds of years… What does he want? Does he want a name? His name is more famous than ever.
He laid down on the rough rocks. Why all this grief, he wonders. He looked around the courtyard, nothing as working. He stretched his arm over the rocks which he sensed with his fingers. So he closed his fist and raised his hand with weakness. He was going to stone his past and present as well as the land that sheltered him. But he could not sense any keenness. There is nothing but frustration and vanity. The stones slipped from his fingers to settle on the ground.
Approaching sounds rocked his ears mixed with the sound of slow footsteps, which broke the silence. In addition, there were murmurs of men, women and children. He lowered himself behind the rocks. The sounds were approaching, growing stronger and expanding. He looked through the holes among the rocks. It was Thursday, a weekly tradition when on this particular day the villagers in his village end their day by visiting the graves of their loved ones.
His eyes scanned the graveyard, which was filled with all colors of clothes and flowers. They arrived from everywhere, gathering at the main wide iron gate that jammed with the crowds. They arrived like a beehive. The graveyard received them with its open heart and they spread out in groups and individually among the graves. Some sat down; others stood or wondered like seekers. The visitors passed by some graves quickly whereas spent longer time at others. Each grave had its share of the arrivals. Only one grave had the biggest share, rather most of the arrivals. Around it, a large number of people gathered, as if it was the flower with the best smell.
Saeed noticed that all visitors in the graveyard would pass by that particular tomb at the beginning or at the end of their visit. In addition, some visitors would go directly like blind butterflies because this group of visitors was the closest to the deceased. Saeed hid himself better and started gazing at their faces. He saw what he did not see in his life, faces illuminated with love and gratitude. Their faces shined with love, which was unfamiliar to him, as if they came to visit the most beautiful thing in the world. Their eyes were crying.
Sounds of moaning and words of passion and love came to his ears coupled with sorrow and bitterness. They were genuine, something he never experienced because he was expert with courtesies. He knows their origins and the outlets of letters; how and when they must be uttered and for what. But what he was hearing was something else. The words were coming out from within without going through the tongue. They came out mixed with a strange humane emotion. He wondered about those people. Why all this? What are they hoping for? They are blowing the scales that weighed the actions and their reactions like the scales of profit and loss. These crowds, what are they gaining from wasting such energy with the flowers that rain down on this tomb like the tropical rain?
Saeed became dazzled and scared and his body trembled with the reverence of what he saw and heard. Suddenly, the sun began setting and the beehive of people started returning to their homes. The graveyard began taking off its colored clothes except of the flowers that scattered here and there, most of which gathered at the wonderful grave. Saeed's eyes scanned all the graves to calm down afterwards at this particular tomb, which was ornamented by this crowd of colors, like a leader crowned with great victory. There was also a strange smell that expanded from between the rocks to fill his lungs with a strange odor; hopefully this was the magnificent mixture of the gathered flowers mixed with the fresh breeze.
He sensed a delight that overwhelmed that particular tomb. Birds singing came to his ears as they returned to their nests with sunset. The tree branches that shaded the tomb had the biggest share of leaves. Even the old fig tree reached out for that tomb, breaking its system. Was it all an illusion? Even the sun rays were lingering around it and the sun struggled drawing its last ray of its lingering ones. They were like children slowly returning to their homes. When the sun succeeds in setting, another beam remains behind in order to cast a light on the marbled tombstone. Saeed does not know the source of this light. Does it come from the street lights at the forelock of the far street? Alternatively, was their another invisible source?
Saeed's eyes were bewildered, his heart was also hit. Bewilderedness seeped all the way to his feet. It was like a power that overtook him to a standup position. Rather, it pushed him to cross the rocky partition. Saeed walked like an enchanted and scared person, attracted towards the tomb. What is happening to me? Saeed thought: is it inquisition or were there thousands of invisible ropes that pulled him towards it? He was overwhelmed by strange feelings. Saeed became airborne by the wings of amazement. His feet could hardly touch the ground. What will he see there? What is your secrete O resident of that strange grave? Was he going to unravel a great secret? All the senses of Saeed were opening like the windows of an awakening village. His eyes, mouth, rib cage, pores, and veins were all opening to a thousand of probabilities of the new discovery.
He stooped down by the grave with open-mindedness and breathlessness to wipe the flowers off it. He gazed at the white marble to read the words "Pay a tribute to the martyr… Men who have been true to their covenant with God…" Saeed struck his forehead with his hand, like someone who suddenly remembered something. The martyr… The answer came crystal clear without any dubiousness. He closed his eyes like someone trying to protect them from a bright light. Suddenly he remembered a comparison that he did not know how he missed. It was a comparison between two paths: One long, tricky and awful path of the death that Saeed took. The other was a short, bright and cozy path of the life that this martyr adopted. The tape of his life played fast like the revealing light that penetrated his emptiness. He saw his life pass before him with all its awful details, all its slow death. It was like a long run towards a very high mountain. His eyes froze straight ahead to recall men, women and children who were all around him, and Saeed would not turn his eyes towards them… Relatives and friends… Feelings were snapping under his feet like dried branches. Ties are breaking away and calls are disappearing. Saeed would not bend on anything. His eyes locked on the summit for which all difficulties will ease. All he has is a ladder to reach his destiny coupled with his strong charisma, sharpness, politeness, smile, captivating talk, force to convince, and diversified relations; all for the sake of glory.
For the sake of that summit, he also turned his heart into a stone under his feet to secure further elevation towards the peak. His feelings bled constantly, the lights of his spirit dimmed, the cheery smile ran away from his lips, and the colors of his colorful life darkened. It's okay, that's what he used to say. When he reaches and sits on its throne he will restore through glory everything. This is his debt. He will stop the bleeding and fill all the lamps with oil. With glory he will smile wide. With glory he will paint his world with the colors of a thousand springs.
Saeed reached and almost threw himself on the precious summit due to the awesomeness of what he saw! Before his eyes, another higher climax revealed to dwarf his attained summit into what looked like a stone at the bottom of a very deep valley. This was very tempting with resistless attraction. Such climax must be reached. Saeed is active again and launches once more faster than ever with full power. This is the summit where he must rest. Saeed will not stop until he reaches his favorite peak… and… Saeed reached nowhere but to summits of valleys with an endless long run. His feelings have faded and the lights of his spirit with them. His wide smile lost its way, and a dark cloud expanded leaving his world colorless, tasteless and odorless.
It is now when he realized the mistake that left him like a dead body. Now he remembers a phrase that summarizes all his actions and results. It was a phrase of Ali (PBUH), the prince of believers, "He, who cannot be satisfied by the little of his world, all that in it will not satisfy him." This is where I died, Saeed screamed to blow up into tears. My master, O owner of this wonderful grave, I used to regard affiliation as an obstacle, friendship as a shackle, sacrifice as a waste of energy, help as a burden, and generosity as a stupidity. On the other hand, you gave repeatedly, and each time you gave it made you happy and you gave more. After that, you would rise with your generosity. When you had nothing dearer than your blood and life, you gave them your entire existence to become perfect. Now you are at the peak of all summits. It is a climax that I can never reach. O master, I hate my wasted life. You are the lord of the living people.
Saeed sobbed in tears. He cried for the entirety of his life making up for the times when he couldn't cry. The grooves of the martyr's name overflew with his tears. Saeed continued crying with his escalating moaning that cracked the waves of the night. His cries mixed with the songs of the rising birds, the calls for prayers that approached and departed with the wind, and the alternating crows of the cocks that came from a distance. This was a melody played for the first time, a flawless harmony mixed with the sound of the tears of a tired and fatigued person.
O lord of the living, Saeed uttered with an unprecedented clear sound. Here I am, O master, crawling your path as a reborn. I can feel your pain. My baskets are full and my heart overflows with love. He bowed to wipe the rest of his tears by the tombstone and endorsed the grave with his lips. This was a new covenant, you have my entire gratitude O master, Saeed uttered. He opened his eyes and looked thoroughly to discover the newly opened sprouts with the gathering droplets of water and birds that were changing their fluffs into feathers while others were learning how to fly. Saeed looked up to the sky in search for a dark cloud, but instead he saw nothing but a clear spacious sky that embraced everything.

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

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