Beirut, a story of a million little things

Arabic calligraphy of three words having the same length by using Kashida, forming the sentence: remember the little things.
“Remember the little things” — Julien Ghandour

Last year, I decided to leave Lebanon. I had plans to travel overseas, visit all European countries where Design is at its highest forms, get a second Master's degree, some international knowledge, and finally get back home. With a load of collected skills, I was intending to make a simple future besides starting a small family. I left last July, with an eye on that dream, I decided to never look back on any returning temptation until I’m satisfied.

2020 isn’t an easy year, and from a personal point of view, it was far from anything I expected.

There’s a heavy feeling when you leave Lebanon for good, sitting on the plane was so different than any other travel experience I had before. Getting slowly far from Beirut, made me directly understand, I might never come back, and if, I’ll be another person, another friend, another son, and another love.

Since I moved, the reality of life in Lebanon was dramatically differing every week:

  • It began with wildfires that ate a broad portion of the forest treasure.
  • Directly, an inspiring reconstructional revolution began against political oppression.
  • Later, a financial crisis took a room.
  • Followed by the Covid-19 pandemic with the smallest means to fight.
  • And lastly, on August 4, one of the biggest (non-nuclear) explosions slaughtered the capital amid all its cultural layers.

I never thought I could have such feelings, and I had never known those emotions before. Homesickness, and trying to belong somewhere new felt lighter when a void in my heart got dug out where my family, friends, and love are not safe. Even my memories held no longer between the wounded walls.

Whenever I try to hate this country, I get attached even more. I only can still remember the little things!

I remember my first drink as a teenager, on the old Gemayzeh stairs seeking to show to my crush I can be her man. I remember the sounds of giggles coming from balconies on summer Sundays. I remember senior ladies carrying fruits and vegetables home to prepare a warm dish for their children who are in their forties. I remember care to judge as care to love!

As a designer I found my passion in drawing again, I illustrated everything I was going through, I started to feel how people are reacting to my ideas and how I can impact my pals from a single corner of my room.

Now Beirut is in need more than ever before. I felt helpless until I perceived an idea! I should tell my people to stick to those little things, I wanted to help who don’t have a balcony anymore, and those who cannot afford a dish.

I decided to launch a new t-shirt design, for all my proceeds will get donated to an NGO supporting the affected on the ground, at the same time, I’ll be empowering a local t-shirt printing business.

I know it won’t hold an eternal impact, though, for me, it will. I feel useful even from a distance. I can invest in my skills to support, without any guilt of being away, knowing that moving elsewhere isn’t a regretful thought.

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Human | Researcher | Designer, MA in Visual Communication and expecting an MSc in Strategic Design.

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Julien Ghandour

Julien Ghandour

Human | Researcher | Designer, MA in Visual Communication and expecting an MSc in Strategic Design.

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