Dec 30, 2014

A Whitehearted Deed: What Fadi, Ali and Ibrahim did in Trablos

I'm getting more and more comfortable with the short, spontaneous, snappy, out of the blog's original context sort-of-posts. This one was triggered by none other than my fellow Tripolitan, Fadi Mikati, who's done something quite incredible. Actually, the simple fact that he actually "did" something is remarkable enough.

On a lazy December Friday, he seems to have stumbled on another hideous scene on one of our hometown's streets. He was fed up with what he saw, and felt the rushing urge to say something, well do something as a matter of fact. One thing lead to the other and BAM; there he was announcing on his FB profile that he'll be cleaning the street, claiming he can never tolerate to have encountered that amount of repulsiveness, to have expressed a growing scale of disgust, watching his town turning into a populated landfill.

It wasn't long before Fadi's request got the appropriate praise and cheering, all while the same post managed to gather the first two volunteers, Ibrahim and Ali, who probably saw in the move a necessary step to take. What I love about that tiny/big event is so many aspects. Starting with the authenticity and spontaneity of the call, to the speed things were taking shape and the fact that those guys never minded the pouring rain on top of their heads. All it took was two days for the guys to be hitting the road with their tools and acting as promised. Litter was picked up eventually no matter how bad the weather was, and street ended up being a tad cleaner, actually a lot, based on my comparison to the pictures.

Left to right: Ibrahim, Fadi and Ali, as caught during their cleaning spree. Courtesy of Ziad Sankari
One more little thing to add, and it's been what hit my mind and what I personally had to deal with in the past: Imagine these guys, and oh-so-many others who get involved in personal wake up calls like such, who actually are doers in a way, the moment they are wearing their suits or so engaged in their universities and commonly everyday work fields. Imagine them getting so boxed up like everybody else out there, following the path of what their career had drawn for them by shifting up their ego to a point where, bowing down to pick up other people's litter is totally out of question. Measure that to a parent/lawyer giving out free hugs to random stranger, to a journalist singing and dancing in the middle of the road, to a student drawing graffitis after hours, to an engineer performing ballet. And the list goes on.

All at the same time, though, Tripoli has got to be one tough-ass lucky town to have people like Fadi, Ali, Ibrahim and all those lovely souls still hanging in there. Too bad media has gotten so used to slipping Tripoli out of their glam events map, but I got to admit (and I've been physically there too), Trablos is slowly shifting from being a town previously in hideous war, to a continuously glowing hub for all the "extra-curricular" (so to speak) initiatives you might ever think of in the Lebanese society.

Caught in action, by Ziad Sankari.
I'm not personally going to elaborate on what's taking place in my hometown right now, but I feel I have the duty to push you and check for yourself. Starting from Beit El Nessim, to Al Kindy, and so on and so forth. The list goes on forever. And it's all thanks to Fadi to have pushed me to write this today, I've been feeling homesick for quite some time and seeing their work have given me some energy for the coming days.

Let's have the guts one day to admit how careless we've become, relying on this cleaning worker to pick up our litter or that consciousness to calm down 5 minutes later. Streets won't clean themselves, hiding behind useless excuses and irrelevant arguments won't do neither. It's time we felt responsible for our own carelessness when it comes to public hygiene. And as Fadi had said "Getting yourself or your car cleaned with that piece of tissue doesn't give you the right to litter outside".

I believe Fadi and the guys have taught us one major lesson here, "It's okay to pick up garbage, even if it's not your own".

Here's to a cleaner Tripoli.

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