Beirutista's Debut Press Coverage
Yesterday the renowned Lebanese newspaper Annahar published a half-page feature on Beirutista. It is divided into two parts: journalist Reine Bou Moussa’s article and an essay piece written by me in the spirit of my blog, entitled “Why We Come Back to Lebanon.” For those of you who cannot read Arabic, I’ll quickly summarize the article: my original aim with Beirutista was two-fold. First, it was a vehicle through which I could put pen to paper and give life to my thoughts as a Lebanese-American recently taking up residence in Lebanon. Second, it was an efficient correspondence tool with my friends in the USA—where I was born and “nurtured,” as the author put it. The blog, an online diary of sorts, allowed me to convey or dish up life in Lebanon to those who had never before set foot on its soil—these readers could vicariously live through me. But one of Beirutista’s unintended consequences in fact was unearthing a myriad of readers who shared exactly in my experiences, from my foreign upbringing, long summers spent in Lebanon, a dream of settling in the homeland of my ancestors, and an ineffaceable love of Lebanon, even in the midst of its inadequacies, troubles, and turmoil.
I started this blog a year and half ago. I created my own little forum where I’ve passionately discoursed and reflected on everything from life in these parts versus the Western world; food and restaurants; my childhood (particularly the ongoing “Caught in Between” series); motivations for coming to Lebanon; and things that make me tick. The volume of positive feedback, the outpouring of readers who identified with my experiences, the general praise and warmth my readership resonated to me have all made me eager to “keep it coming.” And I promise I will.
Nearly a decade ago, I was applying to American undergraduate universities, and on one application, I was asked to fill an empty page with anything of my choosing—it could be a piece of writing, an illustration, a photo—whatever my creative little self desired. After much rumination, I decided I’d write a newspaper article from the future, an article wherein I was being praised for a lofty contribution to science and engineering that had indelibly changed society. Modest? Probably not, but then again, college applications are notoriously good at making you sound arrogant as you struggle to display your uniqueness and secure a highly sought-after spot at the institution. Did it do the job? Well, I did get admitted—and it was to the famously competitive Caltech in Pasadena. (I ended up declining, but that’s another story.)
Fast forward to the present. Reality. Did I fulfill my self-designed crystal ball? Well, I made it to a regionally acclaimed newspaper! Sure, I didn’t discover something groundbreaking or even remotely enhance the way in which we live, but honestly, I couldn’t be more thrilled. Thank you, readers. Thank you, Miss Bou Moussa. Thank you, Annahar. And thank you, world. Beirutista appreciates you.