Mleeta Resistance Tourist Landmark - Lebanon

The Almond Tree

By: Hussein Mansour

Um Hassan stood at the porch of her house that overlooks the village's main square. One time she would stare at the stars and other times she would look at the main square. After she was satisfied with the scenes, she entered her room and went to her bed.
Whenever she felt lonesome, she picked up a smooth cane with a grip, which rested next to her bed. She embraced it like a suckling baby to smell and kiss it.
One day, Hassan said to her: "Take this cane and lean on it. And if someday you feel lonely, embrace it and your loneliness will go away to be replaced by tranquility." After doing so, Um Hassan would go into a deep sleep.
The almond tree flowered while spring dreams returned to sit on the mountains, the planes and the savanna. Friends gathered again: Hassan, Zeid and Marwan. Um Hassan knew that the almond tree represented the cave where these young men sought refuge. The tree heard and understood everything while Um Hassan stared at the next balcony.
Marwan would say: "Do you see these trees O Hassan, and those twisty trails? Our ancestors walked these trails to reach the orchards, fields and fountains. Later, they entrusted us with them to provide them with love, maintain and treasure them like they did."
Hassan: "We will smell their emitting odors and live through them along the noisy fields, trails, rustling trees, and running water."
It is almost sunset; Um Hassan cried: "Here is the Call to Prayer. We must pray after which we will dine here beneath the almond tree."
The three young men gathered to pray like one body and one soul. While praying they uttered verses that mixed with the spirit of the almond tree, which was watered with their falling tears. The tree will never forget those moments.
Um Hassan finished her prayer and came towards them hoping she will not miss anything. She wished she had a camera in order to take a picture of that particular scene for treasuring. The almond tree looked like a niche of tranquility and happiness. Um Hassan sensed that igniting passion and was happy. She said: "The evening beneath the almond tree will be delicious, refreshing and enjoyable. We will be satisfied, but I could not buy the meat for barbeque this evening. However, the land provides me with nutrients from its own flesh. We will have Kibbit Banadoura (a meat-like food made of tomatoes and grains mixed with cumin) coupled with thyme salad that will make you lick your fingers, followed by a kettle boiling with tea. Will that do you my dear ones?"
Zeid replied: "Thank you for your kindness Um Hassan. This is how the mothers should be."
As days went by, Um Hassan discovered that she was sitting alone during one day of July. She placed an almond nut in her hand and stared at it for a long time, as if she could hear Hassan's voice coming out from it to tell her: "I will leave you my heart inside the white almond nut if I ever depart to the eternal green prairies.
Suddenly, cries of joy arrived from the village's main square, while the radio broadcasted a statement of the resistance mixed with inspiring anthems. It read: "The resistance men captured two Zionist soldiers." Joy overwhelmed the villages and towns. People took to the streets to distribute candies.
Hassan, Zeid and Marwan gathered at their "almond tree" mansion, and they prayed the prayer of light and purple. All they needed was: perfumed residence and the remains of the water of the times of thirstiness.
The brothers parted after they renewed their covenant to their leader. Therefore, Hassan and Zeid ambushed at the triangular border to sever the fins of the shark (enemy), whereas Marwan ambushed at the forefront to strike the head should the enemy sneak from the side of Aytaroun village. The ocean waves rose higher and an open war began.
Um Hassan returned after the war to the village. She stood before her destroyed home. The debris of the house fell over the almond tree and covered it with a heavy dust. Um Hassan could hear a voice calling upon her from beneath the rubble to say: "The rain of September is late, I have been washed by the dust of the rubble of your house. Forgive me O Um Hassan, I will pray here with the memories that I treasure inside my wounded heart."
The evening fell; suddenly Um Hassan glimpsed several moving light bulbs at the main square. She focused and said: "O God! Those must be Hassan, Marwan and Zeid." She rubbed her eyes; it was her son and his two companions. She rushed towards him and embraced him like no other. She overwhelmed him with all her being and existence. One could only see a halo above his head. She wanted to stay with him forever in this condition, until she grows old and die while he remained in her bosom. She no longer wants him to leave her. He has returned and she is very happy.
Um Hassan woke up from her sleep feeling lonely. She felt like she's been sleeping for a full year. All she could think about was grabbing the cane, embracing and kissing it with the eagerness of the almond tree that misses her son. She was wearing her sleeping gown while her heart filled with pride and sense of honor. She was the mother of a martyr who lived with a wish to relive and give birth again to children whom she would name after her favorite name "The true covenant."

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

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Mleeta Landmark 2019