When Nowhere is Home, Forever and Always Between Two Worlds

Mind the exit for an unfamiliar return

Bashar Salame, D.C

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Photo by Nitish Meena on Unsplash

Consumed by the story, he delivered striking details and exact times. It was less dialogue, and more stream of consciousness, asking and answering his own questions. “Do you remember the car; we were in the back of that old Mercedes.” Continuing, “Praise God, we could hear and feel bombs falling from the sky.” This was all completely foreign to me; listening intently, I added nothing. Finally, he realized, “You don’t remember any of it do you,” just as quickly adding, “how could you, you were just a baby.”

In mid-March 1978, Israeli forces launched an attack on South Lebanon code-named ‘Operation Litani’. As a result of the week long offensive, thousands of residents were killed and hundreds of thousands displaced. A young couple, who less than six months prior welcomed their first born child, were among those fleeing.

Time, for me, is difficult to quantify. Both good and bad. Despite being born and having lived nine years there, I remember almost nothing from Lebanon. It’s only when a family member, or friend, recounts past events that I put another piece together. Until today, the picture remains largely incomplete, a puzzle with sparsely settled sections, and similar colored pieces dispersed across a table. Every now and then I come back to assemble more; this goes here, that goes there.

Where are you from?

We had lived in America for a decade by the mid-nineties. My parents were now citizens, my sister and I naturalized, my brother native born. “He could become president,” became a family proverb. I would quickly learn none of that mattered. In America, certain groups seem to be forever foreign.

“Where are you from,” an older man inquired. My mother and I were watching a soccer game featuring her presidential hopeful son. At first, she named our city, then our neighborhood; but the man persisted. “I’m from Lebanon,” she finally relented. Irritated and grimacing, he nearly shouted, “You killed our Marines!” Without hesitation, she countered, “Not me, I wasn’t there.” Quickly walking away and gesturing for me to do the same. She was shaken, I was confused; what was he referring to?

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Bashar Salame, D.C

Chiropractor/Nutritionist/Triathlete. Restoring health — Enhancing Life. Beirut Born→ Detroit Bred https://twitter.com/Detroitchiro