شبح الأوبرا

ركنت السيارة عند مدخل الصيدلية. قرب المدخل كانت دراجة نارية من النوع المتوسط الحجم (جبلية) مركونة يقف قربها رجل خلفه طفل. حالما انتهيت من ركن السيارة، أدار الرجل الدراجة النارية واعتلى مقعدها، كاشفاً خلفه وجه طفل تشوّه بمعظمه من الحرب.

رأت ماي أختي وجه الطفل مباشرةً وكذلك فعلت أنا.

الطفل الصغير كان يلهو بشيء بين يديه ثم قفز واعتلى الدراجة النارية خلف والده وانطلقا مبتعدين.

ابنة أختي الصغيرة ذات الأربعة أعوام قالت لأمها دون وعي، “انظري! هذا الطفل قبيح جداً.”

كنت أظن قبل أن أرى وجه هذا الطفل الجميل أن قلبي سقط منذ أيام في أعمق هوّة يمكن أن تتواجد بين أضلعي. لكن هاتان العينان الغائرتان والأنف المختفي أكدتا لي أنه لا زالت هناك وديان سحيقة يهوي فيها الجنان.

وجه هذا الطفل يا صغيرتي أجمل منّا جميعاً. يا لتعاستنا.

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Lebanese Kids on a Plane

I am not sure what is the problem exactly with Lebanese kids, but I won’t complain much. Mainly because there is a problem with Lebanese adults which nobody can explain.

So I boarded this plane from Beirut to Frankfurt. It is not the first time I fly from Beirut to Europe, but it is the first time things get this bad with kids on the plane. First of all, I was in the middle of a nursery. To my right hand, one seat away, was baby Noah (4.5 months old). In the row in front of me, there were two kids, Salim & Mahmoud (around 7 & 9 years old). Diagonally across from me, one row behind, was a rowdy 3 year old girl. Those who know me a little bit, know how much I love discipline. Not children. But I will take disciplined children anytime.

Noah is a good boy. He played for the biggest time of the journey. He listened to his father reading him a story. He watched the pictures and colors on the story with wide open curious eyes. I was very glad to sit next to a young family like that which started reading to the child at such an early age.

In front of me, however, tension was starting to rise between Salim and Mahmoud. The tension soon developed and transformed to a hand fight. I wasn’t bothered very much because I mostly only had to see flying hands and feet. But when a third kid (a girl) appeared out of nowhere and joined the fight, the hands and feet started kicking the back of the seat in front of me and thus my laptop was getting free bumps. I looked at the father of the kids, he was sitting diagonally across on the row in front of me. And there is no way in hell he didn’t know what was going on at the seat next to him. He was awake and calm. I kept looking at him hoping he would do something about the kids fight. After few minutes, few more hits to my laptop, and now with hair being pulled and necks bent, I took it that I will have to talk to the children myself. I was also starting to worry about the plane falling down because of the kids actions (Ok, maybe not). I looked at them from between the seats and in a very serious tone said, “Hey, stop it. Stop hitting the back of the seat.” The kids were surprised by a stranger asking them to shut it. They stopped for few seconds. Laughed. Then started running in the aisles of the plane. I KID thee not.

These kids were just another inspiration and reminder for me of how civilized and great the Lebanese people are. This family (clearly residing in Germany) is surely an excellent way to make the Europeans view us in a very positive image. At one point later, the hostess had to come yell at the children herself, and still the father didn’t bother saying anything. Maaleish, I thought to myself. You cannot blame the kids if their parents are like this. Little Noah, on the other hand, will never be running in the aisle of a plane. I know that. Not because kids don’t do it. They do. I’ve seen blond kids do it. But their parents were civilized enough to know what is decent and what isn’t. And for Noah, they are teaching it to him before he even starts to teeth.