Thursday, 23 September 2021 09:42 GMT

Article: Memories of Fayruz


(MENAFN- Brazil-Arab News Agency (ANBA))

By Qais Shqair*

My name is Nouhad Wadih Haddad. Known professionally as Fayruz, I'm seen as an icon of a glorious past. In my country, Lebanon, and other Arab countries, I was preceded by great, magnificent icons such as Wadih Al-Safi, Nasri, Shahroura Al-Wadi, Umm Kulthum, Abdel Wahab, Al-Sunbati, Farid, Abdel Halim, among others.

Tough I'm sure that we've never forgotten, as Lebanon is unforgettable, I'm telling this to remember and remind you of this great country. I'm not writing this to mourn over Lebanon and its situation but to amend the misfortunes that marked its great history. We all love Lebanon, dubbed the Switzerland of the Middle East since the 1960s.

In the city of Baalbek, Assi, Mansour and I set fire to the stage with songs that were said to revolutionize the Arab music. The festival in this old city was a coziy haven where we could announce the revolution and renovation. This is Lebanon, as old as time itself, an unageing, a great kid with its Phoenicians ancestors that had crossed the seas for thousands of years, promoting their civilization and learning with other cultures, in order to build a humane civilizational identity that transcends time and space, in a place that's assigned only to Lebanon.

This is the Lebanon I live in and that lives in me. The Lebanon of Michel Naima, Gibran, and Said Akl. The Lebanon of the American University, the Syrian Protestant College, seen as a source of knowledge from the beginning until the middle of last century and responsible for training numerous politicians. Lebanon is synonymous with beauty, a ravishing nature, and the pilgrimage of visitors and tourists. Lebanon belongs to the science and the scientists. Lebanon is history, so who would dare explore the Arab regions without delving into the Lebanese history?

The Lebanon I remember is the one that fought off aggressions since the ancient times, the one I sang“Iswaret El-Arous” (Bangle of the Bride) and“Behebak Ya Lebnan” (I love you, Lebanon) by powerful melodist Philemon Wehbe to in celebration of the independence and the restoration of Beirut as the capital of culture, arts and beauty after undergoing the risk of a civil war.

The Lebanon I remember is the one where I sang to Mecca:“I sang Mecca, your people is Sidon, while Eid filled my soul with so much joy.” The song contains some of the most beautiful words ever said on Mecca,“Umm al-Qura,” where the great Lebanese poet Said Aqel described the people of Mecca as generous hosts in the“hunt for visits, the original meaning of Sidon.

To Jerusalem, I sang“Zahrat Al-Madain”:

It is for you O city of the prayer that I pray
It is for you O splendid home,
O flower of the cities
O Jerusalem O Jerusalem O Jerusalem O city of the prayer
Our eyes are set out to you everyday
They walk through the porticos of the temples
Embrace of the old churches
And take the sadness away from the mosques

The song by Mansour and Assi intended to mitigate the pain f the wounds in the soul that plagued us following the defeat of 1967 (Naksa). With the words of the poet Said Akl, I was honored to sing“O Jordan, land of determination, song of fawns… The swords miss, but the edge of yours is consistently sure.” I sang a lot, I sang in all and for all Arab countries. Don't they all belong to me?

In Christmas and Easter time, I made sure to sing my songs in churches across Lebanon, until“Laylet Eid, Laylet Eid, El-Layleh Laylet Eid” becomes the Arab anthem for these festivities.

This is Lebanon. It's not unique in its glory, but it's set apart for the passion of its brothers and lovers. Muhammad Abdel Wahhab, with his ravishing songs and melodies, was not so far from us. He used to come to Lebanon every year for the holidays and listen to his tunes sang by Zaki Nassif and Al-Rahabena. With his tunes, I sang two poems by Gibran:“Sakan Al-Layl” and“Ishar Baad Ishar Ta Yekhlas El-Meshwar”.

On the other hand, Umm Kulthum sang the poem“Hathehi Lailaty” (This is my night) by the Lebanese, whose lyrics said:“In a moment, love will change remains, And the birds leave the nest.” Farid al-Atrash lived in Lebanon for many years and ended his journey in Beirut, where we attended to the largest wake for an artist in history. In short, this is Lebanon. Oh, if I only could have more room to express myself further!

Today's Lebanon is not different from yesteryear's, the legacy and the spirit are the same. We must stand against what hurst this“huge” country. I know that all hearts join it, nobody wishes harm to this land. We all feel its pain and the distress of numerous Lebanese who are fighting to get their daily food. Lebanon cries out silently for you. In the heart of each Lebanese there's the certainty that Lebanon is beloved and the desire of glory and splendor.

Allow me to give this message about Lebanon. I hope it reaches you!

*Ambassador Qais Shqair is the head of the mission of the Arab League in Brazil

 

The opinions expressed in the articles are those of the authors.

 

Translated by Guilherme Miranda

 

 

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