I am very happy and excited to share with you all about my new book coming out in summer 2021, called “A Journey of kidnapped Lebanese Journalist to Finland ”.
My new book is partly memoirs and partly a documentary on my two home countries, Lebanon and Finland.
It offers a fresh view on the Christian minorities of Lebanon and shares personal life experiences and survival as well as their battle for existence in a land known as the “land of milk and honey” and admired in the Song of Solomon for its fragrance and beauty.
I lay emphasis on the everyday challenges and suffering of my people and my nation during the times of wars, and I offer a depth of understanding of their fears and wonders concerning their existence and uncertain future in their homeland, Lebanon.
A preview on the book
“I come from the beautiful country Lebanon, where my background and faith are Christian. Lebanon has the largest Christian population among all Arabic-speaking countries. Yet the number of Christians is decreasing year after year, and Christians are now estimated to make up only about 15 to 20 percent of the total population in a country which the Maronite church played a crucial role in the establishment of back in 1920.”
“I was born in Beirut and raised in the land of Caesarea Philippi an ancient Roman city mentioned numerous times in the Bible, nowadays where exists the beautiful Lebanese town of Marjeyoun close to Israel’s northern border. Nevertheless growing up in a “hot spot” of different ethnic and religious conflicts which have marked the Middle East for decades, clearly has its political impact on my dream to be a journalist and later on a sort of peacemaker. I found myself dreaming about peace, writing about my town’s sufferings. Furthermore as a passionate journalist valuing freedom and especially the freedom of expression, I reached the point of no return in my country. I found myself in the position where I could not do anything but leave my town, my people and my homeland, emotionally affected by the lack of peace and the violent harmful actions of human beings against one another. I was evacuated with several family members during the last war between Lebanon and Israel in July 2006 which come to be known later as the Second Lebanon War. Although we as family and community were born into and have lived our entire lives in war zones, the experiences and memories of the traumas of these wars, our fears, wounds and the painful past have certainly shaped our personal and collective identity and affected our everyday life routines.”
“God is a God of times and seasons. Day 17 July was the fifth bloody hot day in Beirut. The waters of the sea before me looked wild. Everything behind me is dangerous. I was surrounded by many impossibilities and by the danger of death. I knew in my heart that I am about to experience God’s wonders, signs and miracles. So I begin to proclaim to myself those words I have heard hundreds times in the church “to walk by faith not by sight”, as I took steps forward with courage and faith: I’m heading to the promised land God my Father has prepared for me right in the midst of that chaos. Everything could be shaking around you but the word of God is eternal and unshakable. Hearing rockets exploding in the sky and smelling the smoke and burning city would not stop me entering into a new realm of inner peace.”
“I put down my bag and looked out of our balcony window. You can hear still from far away the voices of Israeli F16 jets in the sky and of the bombardment. I turned back and stood for five more minutes by the living room door. “I will drink a morning cup of coffee with you, mom, and then leave,” I told my mother while she was trying to wake up. In one hand I held small back bag and inthe other hand I carried all my old memories, disappointments and my few remaining dreams.”
“As the British warships set to kickoff on Beirut harbor, I was entering into a new inner peace and joy that I have never experienced before. Can you imagine what my mother must have been thinking at that moment? Can you imagine more what God my Father in heaven must have been thinking? Only now I could hear Him saying: yes yes yes my boy finally trusted me a bit. I honestly believe that had I not chosen to listen to my fears of striking out into the unknown I would have missed all the wonderful things God my Father was ready to do in my life. I wouldn’t be the same person who I am now; I wouldn’t have become the better version of me. My heartbeats tuned into His heart as my inner voice sang some new melody on his rhythm. A new song could be heard with those words “wherever you go I go, whatever you do I do.””
“For many years, pictures of war and bloodshed were slipping in somewhere into my daily life and routines, as they are recorded in the back of my head. But I want to live in peace and contentment. When I am washing dishes or mowing the lawn in our little garden,somehow the tragedies of war, children freaked out and crying – these images always make their way out of that hidden box of my sorrows and sadness in the dark places deep inside my subconscious mind. Oh my God, hundreds and hundreds of times, it hit me aggressively because I was still so badly hurt and wounded. Here is a little fact: in times of crisis people react out of their wounded hearts. Our subconscious mind is responsible for 95% of our brain’s activities during the day. So when I became afather I would shout at our most precious and beautiful 6 month baby girl, Meea Amanda, for some very trivial, silly reason. Every child is so precious, so beautiful and so lovable. Who wouldn’t love babies? I love and love her till eternity, from the moon to earth and back, but the matter of the truth is: hurt people hurt people.”
“I saw in my early parenting years, my brokenness, the bad and the ugly truth of that insecure and unconfident child that I was. There was a lot of sadness in my soul and I didn’t know to deal with this pain. I owe it to our oldest girl, Meea, my becoming the good loving father I am now. She made me soft and tender again, made me able to show courage, love and affection, as the love of Father was poured out into my heart. It seems God was fathering me most through our daughter Meea, I have received during my first years of parenting a lot of inner healing to the wounds I have been carried since my childhood.”
“I have really come to understand that I have spent too much of my life being so worried so anxious about tomorrow and about the future. I needed to deal with that deep fear in my heart for losing loved ones or losing my life. But actually, the fear of death whether of my own death or the death of a family members or close friend was so dominant in my subconscious. As long as I lived in Lebanon, something in me was death.”
“I have been a witness to much street violence, terror attacks and other terrible events which took place in Beirut and other cities across the country. My heart, my mind, my wounded soul were screaming aloud with tears: Enough hatred! Enough killing! Enough bloodshed!”