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Wa Lee Lubnanee by Majnouna Wa Lee Lubnanee by Majnouna
Now that Lebanon is suffering new wounds, numerous artists, designers, writers, etc are producing work to spread awareness, support it, make a political statement or express our deep sadness. All this is excellent, but I found my place in a different direction: showing, or reminding the world that Lebanon, even in the midst of war, is much more about loving life than about weeping or shaking fists. Most people think of Lebanon and feel sorry; I want them to think of it and smile.

So I'm reorienting some of my previous work into a line of t-shirts and products that have nothing to do with the current situation but everything to do with the Lebanon I breathe on any given day. You can find them in this shop: [link] (the shop is a mess at this point and I still have a number of designs to upload, but I only have a little online time a day so bear with me -- I'm working on making it a bit more presentable every day). Looking for an image to brand them with, I liked the balloon for a number of reasons:
- It keeps rising;
- It's a light-hearted icon, as we are;
- It's cute, which most of my products inevitably are;
- Obviously, it belongs to a child 'nuff said;
- I can't look at one without smiling, can you?

I was going to call it "My Lebanon", which evokes closeness and has again a child-like quality, but then I had a better idea: Wa Lee Lubnanee, "And I have my Lebanon". It is a quote from an open letter by Khalil Gibran, penned after World War 1: "You have your Lebanon and I have my Lebanon". I include the full piece below so you can see how perfectly his message fit with mine. By the way, my choice of the name in Arabic type was to respect the text (it looks too silly in Latin) but also presents the advantage of not interfering with whatever text I use on the products (I'm not concerned about foreigners not being able to read the name because the image suffices for identification and they wouldn't get it without a lengthy explanation anyway most Lebanese should get the reference at once and that's what matters to me).

You Have Your Lebanon and I Have My Lebanon
From: THE TREASURED WRITINGS OF KAHLIL GIBRAN, edited and translated from Arabic by Martin L. Wolf, Anthony R. Ferris, and Andrew Dib Sherfan

(written after the first World War, in the 1920's)


You have your Lebanon and its dilemma. I have my Lebanon and its beauty.

Your Lebanon is an arena for men from the West and men from the East.

My Lebanon is a flock of birds fluttering in the early morning as shepherds lead their sheep into the meadow and rising in the evening as farmers return from their fields and vineyards.

You have your Lebanon and its people. I have my Lebanon and its people.

Yours are those whose souls were born in the hospitals of the West; they are as ship without rudder or sail upon a raging sea.... They are strong and eloquent among themselves but weak and dumb among Europeans.

They are brave, the liberators and the reformers, but only in their own area. But they are cowards, always led backwards by the Europeans. They are those who croak like frogs boasting that they have rid themselves of their ancient, tyrannical enemy, but the truth of the matter is that this tyrannical enemy still hides within their own souls. They are the slaves for whom time had exchanged rusty chains for shiny ones so that they thought themselves free. These are the children of your Lebanon. Is there anyone among them who represents the strength of the towering rocks of Lebanon, the purity of its water or the fragrance of its air? Who among them vouchsafes to say, "When I die I leave my country a little better than when I was born"?

Who among them dare to say, "My life was a drop of blood in the veins of Lebanon, a tear in her eyes or a smile upon her lips"?

Those are the children of your Lebanon. They are, in your estimation, great; but insignificant in my estimation.

Let me tell you who are the children of my Lebanon.

They are farmers who would turn the fallow field into garden and grove.

They are the shepherds who lead their flocks through the valleys to be fattened for your table meat and your woolens.

They are the vine-pressers who press the grape to wine and boil it to syrup.

They are the parents who tend the nurseries, the mothers who spin the silken yarn.

They are the husbands who harvest the wheat and the wives who gather the sheaves.

They are the builders, the potters, the weavers and the bell-casters.

They are the poets who pour their souls in new cups.

They are those who migrate with nothing but courage in their hearts and strength in their arms but who return with wealth in their hands and a wreath of glory upon their heads.

They are the victorious wherever they go and loved and respected wherever they settle.

They are the ones born in huts but who died in palaces of learning.

These are the children of Lebanon; they are the lamps that cannot be snuffed by the wind and the salt which remains unspoiled through the ages.

They are the ones who are steadily moving toward perfection, beauty, and truth.

What will remain of your Lebanon after a century? Tell me! Except bragging, lying and stupidity? Do you expect the ages to keep in its memory the traces of deceit and cheating and hypocrisy? Do you think the atmosphere will preserve in its pockets the shadows of death and the stench of graves?

Do you believe life will accept a patched garment for a dress? Verily, I say to you that an olive plant in the hills of Lebanon will outlast all of your deeds and your works; that the wooden plow pulled by the oxen in the crannies of Lebanon is nobler than your dreams and aspirations.

I say to you, while the conscience of time listened to me, that the songs of a maiden collecting herbs in the valleys of Lebanon will outlast all the uttering of the most exalted prattler among you. I say to you that you are achieving nothing. If you knew that you are accomplishing nothing, I would feel sorry for you, but you know it not.

You have your Lebanon and I have my Lebanon.

(If you read so far, here's a little story. When I was 10 or 11, I illustrated this for school on a large piece of card that I divided in two scenes "You have your Lebanon", with a scene of political turmoil, and "I have mine" with a shepherd tending to his flocks under the pine trees. This was eventually stored until the teacher in charge returned it to me saying "I'm very sorry... It's providence, though." It had rained, and water had streaked down the first panel, adding to the violence of the scene, but sparing the other completely.)
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:iconsockhedgehog:
SockHedgehog Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2011
I feel so happy!! When I tell people I'm Lebanese they just start making stupid jokes about terrorists and wars. Thanks, I love this.
Reply
:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2011  Professional General Artist
How intelligent of them :|
Reply
:iconsockhedgehog:
SockHedgehog Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2011
Very. :|
Reply
:icondib9394:
Dib9394 Featured By Owner May 17, 2011
I'm Lebanese and I am just sickened by all those wars happening.

Kudos for this.
Reply
:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner May 17, 2011  Professional General Artist
I know just how you feel! Thanks.
Reply
:icondib9394:
Dib9394 Featured By Owner May 17, 2011
Pleasure! :D
Reply
:iconjulairria:
Julairria Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2011  Hobbyist
my family moved from lebanon because of the war..... and this deviation is deeply touching for me :)
Reply
:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2011  Professional General Artist
Oh wow... Where do you live now?
Reply
:iconjulairria:
Julairria Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2011  Hobbyist
canada XD
Reply
:iconkeytaro:
keytaro Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2009
b7abak ya lebnan!:heart:
oui!^^j aime mon pays!:D
Reply
:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2009  Professional General Artist
Moi aussi :love:
Reply
:iconthe-chemical-factory:
the-chemical-factory Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2008  Student Writer
I'm Lebanese :):)

Great statement!
I love this picture.
Reply
:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2008  Professional General Artist
Ahlen! Glad you like it!
Reply
:iconramy1985nameless:
ramy1985nameless Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2008
Mashallah, great note you have put with your art work, I know how you feel! Keep it up.
Reply
:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2008  Professional General Artist
Thank you :)
Reply
:icondarkwarlord10k:
DarkWarlord10k Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2007   Writer
Thank you so much for your art. It means so much. Keep it up, you're wonderful.
Reply
:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2007  Professional General Artist
Aw :blushes: :bow:
Reply
:icondarkwarlord10k:
DarkWarlord10k Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2007   Writer
No seriously, you're brilliant. I idolize you. I can't spread the message the way you can, I do it through photography.
Reply
:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2007  Professional General Artist
Wow, I appreciate it :) Photography is a fine way of doing it too!
Reply
:icondarkredbbb:
darkredbbb Featured By Owner May 24, 2007  Hobbyist Digital Artist
HABBEIT!! :D This is definitely a :+fav: .. btw I'm Lebanese ;)
Reply
:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner May 25, 2007  Professional General Artist
Awesome :thumbsup: and welcome to dA!
Reply
:icondancing-bears:
dancing-bears Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2007   Traditional Artist
I like it alot! Probably cause I am Lebanese...
Good job!!!
I was there during the summer and my house got bombed- luckily no one was in it. So we had to come back to Canada. It's a good thing that people are trying to create awarness of Lebanon. <3
Reply
:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2007  Professional General Artist
I'm glad to se another Lebanese appreciating it :) I'm so terribly sorry about your home!
Reply
:icondancing-bears:
dancing-bears Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2007   Traditional Artist
Thanks!
Life goes on and we should too... I can't keep on living off something that's gone and wont come back.
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:iconarhcamt:
arhcamt Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2006
:)
Reply
:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2006  Professional General Artist
:)
Reply
:iconlinks-mistress:
Links-Mistress Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2006
Wow, I'm really glad you did this, Lebanon really suffered. I know because it's personal to me, I go to Beirut every year and most of my family lives there. Wonderful work :heart:

:)
Reply
:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2006  Professional General Artist
I'm glad you feel this way about the logo :) So does that mean we'll see you at one of our devmeets some day? ;)
Reply
:icondevil1703:
Devil1703 Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2006
Great idea, I'm Lebanese too :D I understand it perfectly, its just awesome +fav
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:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2006  Professional General Artist
I'm very glad :w00t:
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:icongenny-raskin:
Genny-Raskin Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2006  Student General Artist
It is realy an interesting statement. I must admit that we are both patriots of our countries.

Looks very prophesional. ;)
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:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2006  Professional General Artist
Everybody should be a patriot of their country, as long as that doesn't involve being against other countries.
Reply
:icongenny-raskin:
Genny-Raskin Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2006  Student General Artist
Your right. There is nothing more important and holy than life, and respect to other people and peoples lives.
Reply
:iconjaakobou:
jaakobou Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2006
:raincloud:
Reply
:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2006  Professional General Artist
Aw :hug:
Reply
:iconaxcelia:
axcelia Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2006
I like the symplicity of it and the feeling of setting something free. I like it :D
Reply
:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2006  Professional General Artist
That's great! :hug:
Reply
:iconaxcelia:
axcelia Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2006
your welcome :)

of course it would be even greater if I spelt simplicity right hehe XD (just realised I spelt it wrong)
mental note: do not type at 2 in the morning...
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:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2006  Professional General Artist
:giggle:
Reply
:iconnagzter:
nagzter Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2006
begad rafa3to rasna...
Reply
:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2006  Professional General Artist
:D
Reply
:iconmelllic:
melllic Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2006
^_^
Reply
:iconfuturowoman:
futurowoman Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2006   Photographer
i've just featured this deviation and your seedlings shop in my latest journal :) i've also been writing colleagues--i hope people will buy!!!! :hug:
Reply
:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2006  Professional General Artist
Thanks so much! :hug:
Reply
:iconfuturowoman:
futurowoman Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2006   Photographer
:) i've also linked both your logo store and the levantese store onto my work site:
[link]
one of my colleagues already wrote me to say she'll order shirts and wear them to work!
Reply
:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2006  Professional General Artist
I really appreciate it! :hug:
Reply
:iconloony33:
loony33 Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2006
Love your work!
Yes, we're proud of being Lebanese.
Reply
:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2006  Professional General Artist
:w00t:
Reply
:iconbruixeta:
bruixeta Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2006
that's awesomely nice and sweet ^^

reminding people that there's a bright side is a noble thing to do, good job :)
Reply
:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2006  Professional General Artist
Yes, thank you :)
Reply
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