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9 Proud Lebanese Share What Their Home Country Means to Them

A love for one’s country is more than a patriotic duty – it’s an unbreakable bond. It’s an identity. For these proud Lebanese people, Lebanon is…

A home of legends
– Aline Asmar d’Amman, architect

Aline Asmar d’Amman

Aline Asmar d’Amman. Photographed by Stephan Julliard for Vogue Arabia

“My Lebanon is the land of titans and legends, scorching beauty, and silent ruins – glory and chaos. It’s the birthplace of dreams stronger than adversity – it is my anchor, my home. This photo (opposite) was taken by my 14-year-old son Lionel, during our last visit to the Baalbek Temple in December, 2018. Baalbek’s ancient landscape is where I reconnect with its magical dimension, untouched since the dawn of civilizations. The site was unreachable for a long time; the memories I have of the surreal stories told by my parents during our first family visits still make me wonder and smile. I love to share them with my own children, adding genies, giants, and unsolved mysteries. The power of myths is even greater when reality is uncertain. Baalbek is my architectural rhyme, an endless source of inspiration in my work, and a place for elevation – mystical and concrete.”

A place of happiness and comfort
– Karen Wazen, entrepreneur

Karen Wazen

Karen Wazen. Photo: Instagram

“Today I am feeling especially emotional as I am thinking about how I want to be with my family. I was going through old photos and found this one that made me feel hopeful. My family is what keeps me sane and safe – that’s what Lebanon means to me. Going to Lebanon is all about family and the thought of not being able to be there this summer hurts. I usually spend all my summers in my homeland. It brings a lump to my throat not knowing when I will be able to visit next. Lebanon is comfort and happiness and this family picture brings back all those memories.”

A home of rich history
– Nicolas Jebran, designer

Nicolas Jebran

Nicolas Jebran. Supplied

“Each region in this country has had its own effect on my inspiration, in lifting my spirits and connecting me further to my homeland. However, one city that truly reflects how I see my Lebanon is Tyre. It stands tall on the Lebanese coast, reflecting heritage, power, authenticity, and love. A city with history – a fighter, whose people never give up, who defend their land until the last man standing. The serenity of the place, the love in the corners (in the waves, in nature’s own music), the rebellious spirit, the colors, the vibes… Ever since Tyre was created – a city blessed and protected by saints, prophets, even by God – it runs in our veins, we cannot stay away. Just like the people of Tyre, we can sacrifice our lives for it, but never give up.”

Thriving with culture
– Salwa Chalhoub, co-founder of Opera Gallery Beirut

Salwa Chalhoub

Salwa Chalhoub. Supplied

“Nothing is as satisfying as strolling through a museum’s halls, wandering into its magical universe, and the Sursock Museum is one of the city’s best places to get carried away. This picture was taken on my daughter’s birthday, on the stairs of the majestic Sursock in Beirut, where we celebrated her big day. I think art expands my daughter’s ability to interact with her surroundings and the outside world, providing her with skills for self-expression and communication. The museum is a magnificent homage to modern and contemporary art, particularly portraying Lebanese art and culture. It has hosted incredible soirees for some of the world’s most acclaimed artists, including Picasso. It is a melting pot of the new, refined Beirut and the best of old Beirut. This photograph invokes a constant memory of our beautiful Lebanese heritage, the devotion to family, and the belonging we hold on to throughout all the challenges that come our way.”

A survivor’s land
– Nadine Kanso, jewelry designer

Nadine Kanso

Nadine Kanso. Supplied

“I left Lebanon in the late 1990s when the civil war had ended. At the time I wished to stay longer as I had hopes for a better Lebanon; as part of the war generation, it is one we heard of but never really knew. I left behind family and friends, and everything I had ever loved. In doing so, I became nostalgic for small things: my walks on the corniche drinking sweetened Nescafé; staring at the beauty of the sea and snowy mountains far away. Nostalgic for the mankoushe b’zaatar that I used to eat while on my way to university; driving with friends to the mountain to have lunch by the river; partying while the bombs were being thrown at us. Nostalgic for the sun and cold of my hometown of Baalbek. I was so sad to live my life away from my home, yet I’m blessed to have found home again in the UAE.”

Also Read: Majida El Roumi on Her Love for Lebanon in Her First-Ever Magazine Cover Story

A place filled with family
– Lana El Sahely, entrepreneur

Lana El Sahely

Lana El Sahely. Supplied

“This picture was taken when I was turning two years old. I am at my grandparents’ home in South Lebanon. To us Lebanese who grew up abroad, returning to the country every summer meant spending time with our families, in the same house, doing the same simple things. My grandparents and my family taught me everything about my country. I recently lost my grandmother and when I returned to visit her house, it broke my heart to see it empty. Memories were everywhere but things are different now. This is the Lebanon I love, the Lebanon we share with the ones we love. The Lebanon that resists the years, the crises, the hard times.”

A spectacular host
– Mireille Hayek, chef

Mireille Hayek

Mireille Hayek. Supplied

“My restaurant Em Sherif [mother of Sherif] is a representation of Lebanon’s culinary heritage through my eyes. I grew up in a family deeming food as an integral part of my life. I was a perpetual observer of the connectivity and joy that my mother’s cooking brought to the people around us. My Lebanon is heartwarming, generous, and a great host, that never fails to astonish us. We live in a beautiful mess, where positivity and striving for life are innate.”

A place of serene nature
– Nada Debs, product designer

Nada Debs

Nada Debs. Supplied

“For me, the view of the sea and the horizon represents the hope that we always feel, here in Lebanon. It’s like there’s always something out there, and that’s what keeps us going. I feel those beautiful, rich shades of green and blue represent all the layers that have made Lebanon what it is. These are the layers of history, the layers of people. It’s multicultural and rich in every aspect of life. There is something for everybody here. This makes Lebanon a place where I am never bored – I’m never tired of it. This is what keeps me here. There’s always something new to discover. When I feel down or I need to get inspired, I head to the sea and stare at the horizon and remember that every day is a new day.”

Alive at Night
– Bernard Khoury, architect

Bernard Khoury

Bernard Khoury. Photo: Instagram

“One of my fondest memories of my country is of a man called Nabil who was an exceptional host at B018 nightclub. He started his career in Beirut back in the early 1970s and survived the most extreme conditions of the city’s nightlife throughout the war years. He worked at B018 until his death. That was more than 10 years ago, but Nabil is still immensely missed.”

Originally published in the June 2020 issue of Vogue Arabia

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