Dateline Beirut, Issues, Religion

Goodbye Saudi, I’m now Proud to be Lebanese

65 Comments 07 June 2013

aaja_karim pic beirut see By Karim Jrab
American Academy of Beirut

The last thing I heard on the news about Lebanon before migrating from Saudi Arabia was that Lebanon is a country in the East Mediterranean. It is bordered by Syria to the north and east and Israel to the south. We packed our bag to launch our big step.

I was 10 years old. I was so scared that I kept on saying to my parents, “This is a bad idea! We are making a huge mistake!!” Nevertheless, I got used to Lebanon. Although Lebanon is a small country, it’s full of unique aspects. It has different types of people such as Philippines, Ethiopians, Turks, Bulgarians, and Asians… It’s like we are a bowl of salad. It has varieties of everything! Such as tomatoes, parsley, cucumbers, broccoli… Can you imagine it? Moreover, if you are a Muslim woman or teenaged girl, Islam encourages you to wear a veil. But it’s your choice if you want to wear a veil or not.

When I migrated from Saudi Arabia, I was afraid that students would treat me differently, afraid of racism. Imagine that you were in Rosa Parks’ shoes for 5 minutes. Feel her pain. It’s abstract. She had a goal to be treated equally, that’s it.

Lebanon has several different main religions. We have the most religiously diverse society, comprising 17 recognized religious sects. The main two religions are Christianity and Islam. There is also the Druze minority religion.

Let us throw a stone towards the past. In Lebanon, soldiers were ordered to kill people who are from a specific religion! Can you believe this? Of course not! But believe it or not, it used to happen all the time. I personally treat my friends all equally with love and respect and I don’t care which religion they practice. Everyone has his or her beliefs, right?! The thing similar between them and I is that we are humans. I think everyone should take this point of view.

I hope with all of my heart that Lebanon will become a peaceful country. No wars. Inshallah we’ll be a united country. Hand by hand and faith by faith, nothing is impossible. So are you thinking of booking a flight to Lebanon??

Your Comments

65 Comments so far

  1. heba says:

    I think that treating everyone from any religion the same is something that is very important and needed to be done.
    I actully am going to lebanon this year(since i go every year for family)

    • Emilia says:

      Heba, where do you go when you visit Lebanon each summer? I wonder if there’s a chance that you could visit with our new friends at the American Academy of Beirut? Also, I wonder if you would be interested in doing a story for us when you’re in Lebanon. I know you will be moving on to high school but still we could post one more story from you. Think about it. Could be really good.

      • Heba we would be very glad to greet you in our school. Emilia i think that it would be a great idea to write about our country and school.

      • heba says:

        tell me were the academy is and i can try
        I sometimes go to Beirut but i don’t really live there but i can still try to communicate with them, i can also write a story when i’m there if i’m able. i can sent it to your email after i write it

    • Thank You for your comment Heba. We are looking forward to meet you and your family soon.

  2. Khansa Alhaidi says:

    I like the point you are making across with this article. I cant imagine being killed for being myself. The example of salad is a great way to describe the diversity in Lebanon.

    • Dear Khansa I meantioned people were killed if they belong to a certain party or religion many many many years ago. Thank you for reading my article . I also liked your essay about how the “hijab” is unique to you its very inspirational. Thank You Khansa. I liked your style in writing its fresh I liked it.

  3. Amal aboulaila 6th hour says:

    I think that I would be scared if there is a war anywhere and at age 10 that’s big so I am happy in America there isn’t any wars

    • Amal although you’re safe in America dont you think that lebanon is you’re hometown? Why don’t you visit us in Summer when there wont be conflicts. Amal dont you miss Lebanon? Where you were born? Where you migrated from? Where you first opened your eyes? I hope you think about it. Thank You Amal for your comment,

  4. Rima saleh 6th hour says:

    I am from leabon cool ummm harem there was a war at age 10

  5. Ahmad Alhaidi 6th Hour says:

    That is a very good story. I kind of felt like everyone would not like me when I went to a new school. You are right, we should ll treat each other the same, we all are human.

    • Ahmad everyone when he/she moves to a new school or a new hometown its hard the first 2 months but then you get used to it. I have to admit it was a bit hard to make new friends, have a new school, and adapt to my new hometown. Thank You for your comment.

  6. hussein 6th says:

    I also hope Leabanon will end all its wars and become a peacful country.It is a great country and should not be desroyed by war.

    • Inshallah have always faith and belive that nothing is impossible. Let’s pray that Lebanon will become a peaceful country and you and your friends come to Lebanon ( you’re hometown) Thank You Hussein for your comment. Inshallah our country become peaceful

  7. April Kincaid says:

    I loved reading about racial acceptance in the Middle East. We don’t hear many stories in the media about this. I also loved the Rosa Parks reference. She is one of my idols and I had the pleasure of meeting her twice.

    • Emilia says:

      Wow, April! So interesting that you met Rosa Parks! Tell us more. What were the circumstances? Did you tell her that you work at a school with many Muslim students in Dearborn?

      • April Kincaid says:

        I wasn’t teaching when I met Rosa Parks. I was a young adult. We were in line paying billsvand talked for about 30 minutes. The second time I saw her walking, we conversed briefly.

    • Mrs. April racisim is Banned in our country we are all equal. I love Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King they are also my idols since they fought to achieve equality after all god created us and you’re so lucky that you met her. I wish i met her when i was young i would have included that in my essay. Thank You for your comment.


    I really likeed this story everyday we hear something new on the news about wars going on in Lebanon and no one is happy about it and i also do think that one day insallah we weill be a peacefull country.

    • Sadly, yes we have recently wars but we hope Lebanon will be a peaceful country were peace dessimimates everywhere. I hope that war gets cancer and goes away. Inshallah we should always be positive. Thank You Hawraa’ for your comment ;)

  9. Nanette says:

    It is people of your generation and with your positive mentality who will make Lebanon a succulent and easily digested salad bowl. Keep up the positive thoughts

  10. Emilia says:

    Karim, I really enjoyed reading the story of your immigration and your experiences in Lebanon. It does take a lot of courage to move to another country, even one that is like a wonderful salad! Some day I would love for you to share more information about some of the groups you mentioned, like the followers of the Druze religion.

    • First it was hard for me to adapt when i entered AAB everything changed. I now got self confidence, great teacher and students and a peaceful community .I came up with the salad example because its true its like a dressing poured on top of us that makes us have silly conflicts. I sure will add more information if we did another project with your school. Thank You for your kind comment. You made my day and i want to thank you in the name of our school that you chose us to communicate with your school. I really liked you’re student’s essays . We all learned from their essays and we hope they learned from ours. And it was a pleasure working with your school. We all really enjoyed it. Thankyou again and we are sorry we didn’t submit out essayson time since we have final exams. Thankyou for your comment :)

  11. Fatima Jomaa says:

    I enjoyed this story, it was great! Keep up the good work and keep writing!!!

  12. Karin says:

    I agree on so many of your points. Thank you for your story.
    People need to ‘see’ with their hearts, then we can all treat one another with care. Afterall, we could have a society which embraces kindness if we just saw each other as human beings, come together as one, not divided. “Be good to one another”, right?

  13. Osama Altairy says:

    amazing story its great to see people in lebanon make great storys

  14. Ali Farhat says:

    you are right and great job on the story

  15. Tahani Smidi says:

    I like it keep up the good work…and i love how your using those big words..keep up the good writing :)

  16. Fatima Bouhamdan says:

    amazing job and yes many people always say lebanon is a violent place but it is really peaceful

    • Thank you Fatima for your comment. Lebanon is peacefull but people from outside becuse of Lebanon’s bad reputation they take a bad point of view. Thank you for seeing this point of view☺

  17. Aminta says:

    Wonderful story, Kareem! I think that it is marvelous to hear of the diversity in Lebanon & how well people get along! You’re a fantastic writer also!

  18. Ali Haidar says:

    I am glad that you wrote this story. I am actually from Lebanon. Im actually visiting this Friday. Im hoping its as good as you describe it because i haven’t visited Lebanon for about 7 years now. Im very anxious of visiting lebanon and praying there will be no war inshallah.

  19. Fatima Charara says:

    This is such a unique story, I love how you have several examples about the subjects you wanted to explain. Loved the word choice, Lebanon is a beautiful country and a great tourist attraction.

    • Thank You for your appreciating my article, I enjoyed all the lovable comments from your school i loved all the posipitive feedback and we hope that war would be exterminated and people from outside come to Lebanon again . Thank you Fatima for your positive feedback ☺

  20. Ali Hammoud says:

    Great story Karim i felt the same when i transferred from another school but then i got used to it and made friends and moved on.

  21. Danny Majed says:

    To tell you the truth, this was a amazing story, you should treat every one with respect, WHO CARES what religion they practice?!?!? god created us all equally, we should treat each other equally.

    • I know Danny we are all equal we should think always in that point of view. Train your mind to see the good in every bad situation. We dont care to what kimd of religion they practice . I hope people would later realize this message.Thank you danny for your feedback.

  22. Nour Nuseibeh says:

    Wow great story, I can kind of relate to it since Palestine is occupied by Israel and there’s a lot of discrimination when I visited. Inshallah peace to all countries.

  23. Mustapha Jaber says:

    This story was great. I like how you used different references for examples. It is also very inspirational to some people on how you overcame your fear of not being accepted because you are from a different country.

  24. Ayatt Bazzi says:

    Great Story! I really enjoyed reading. Keep up the great work.

  25. Ali Saad says:

    Great story. And Inshallah Lebanon does become a peaceful country soon, no one in Lebanon should have to go through a war.

  26. Ahmad Aoun says:

    I really liked your story I was in Lebanon during the war then came to MI during the war in 2006 and I really miss Lebanon I used to have so much fun there. I hope Lebanon becomes a peaceful country too.

  27. Zeinab says:

    This was a great story. I like how you used the salad example. The comment about war getting cancer was really funny AND WE AGREE 100%

  28. Fatema Rachid says:

    Great job! The wars that are happening are very sad. Keep up the great work!!

  29. What a positive story and a big change, great job. Very moving and I like how you let us get up close and personal with your story. Great job!!

  30. Rania Najem says:

    I am really interested , it is a real story that we might hear from many Lebanese teenagers and even adults . Keep up the positive thinking and encourage those who are of your age to share the victory of the freedom of thinking . Keep it up Karim and never give up . I am really proud of you.

  31. Sultan Jrab says:

    I am really impressed, it is a mean full story . Keep it up , I am really proud of you …

  32. Karim I’m so proud of your work… Keep it up

  33. Rania Najem AAB, Beirut, Lebanon says:

    We should support such a great spirit , keep it up!!!

  34. Lebanon will become a peaceful country if all Lebanese people start thinking positively like you, Karim. Thanks for sharing your experience with us and taking the time to reply to most of the comments! Great job!

  35. demi lovato says:

    I really liked the story ! Its creative and a nice way to encourage people to visit our country :) Great job!

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Unis Middle School

Unis School serves grades K-8 in the Dearborn Public School District. The school principal is Heyam Alcodray. These are its beliefs about education:

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