Category: Lebanon

May 30th, 2004 by Karim El-Koussa

Inside the Mystery Chamber, I was sitting with an old man, a man who knows the secrets of the Tradition. Outside, the rain was falling so strongly, that it echoed inside. I looked around me, then precisely at him. His eyes grew brighter as he uttered, “You might be wondering about the Tradition, it certainly goes back to Hermes-Enoch. I feel I have to inform you about it.

“It all started with Enoch or Anak, the Canaano-Phoenician seer at Mt. Hermon, in Loubnan. You may notice also that the name Hermes given to him by the Greeks comes from Hermon.

“Tradition says that Angels descended on Mt. Hermon, and taught that seer a great universal spiritual and occult doctrine. He, Enoch, accepted it and called it the Kabala, which means ‘accepting’.

“Enoch is Henoch, Phenoch, the Phoenix, symbolizing the secret cycle and Initiation. It is death, or the end of life’s cycle, and the resurrection from its ashes after three days into eternity. He is the first teacher-initiator, possessor of the true sacred hidden name, linking Humanity through an eternal concordance with the Father, God.” Read more of this article »

Posted in Lebanon, Op-Ed

February 13th, 2004 by Norbert Hirschhorn

Scimitar moon, trembling the strings inside the piano. Scimitar against a vermilion sky, in Arabic, hilal. Curtains furled open like gardenias. Wind-flower, marguerite, friend of the night.

Friend of the night. No happiness so wide despair cannot cross. ‘If I see a red bird in my country will I know the color of a bird in another?’ Like the stream washing over the rock, not the rock. From the soul of her people she makes wine. Who leans out so far from the window?

Scimitar moon, a woman’s laughter untouched behind shutters, a stone house with red tile roof. The house moults from within, muffled strings inside a piano. Lanterns of fishing boats beading the sea. Lighthouse. Lighthouse. Lighthouse. From behind a scrim of cloud thin beams filter through a copse of oak. A vermilion sky, a memory.

Friend of the night. April’s anemone. Souvenir, sovenance, in Arabic, al-atlal. A rusted iron key, oaken door, the invisible white hand drawing the shutters in a stone house with red tiles. Who leans out so far from the window? Warm barricades. ‘If I see a red bird in my country can I know the color of a bird in another?’ There is no happiness too wide for despair. From their sweat she makes bread and jasmine. Read more of this article »

Posted in Lebanon, Poetry

January 26th, 2004 by Karim El-Koussa

We, humans, grew up in families, where we began our first journey into the world. Later on, when we entered schools, we became indulged in learning. The first classes we took were on the letters of the Alphabet. “A, B, C…” we uttered aloud. These letters are known as the Phonetic Alphabet. The Phonetic letters are a representation of vocal sounds, and are a way of spelling that corresponds to pronunciation. Each country around the world has its own variation of spelling letters.

Without the Alphabet, history would not have been written, and thus all the genesis of mankind would be as mute as death. With it, we could be as wise as the sages of all times. The Phonetic Alphabet made it easier for humanity to evolve and to communicate. Earlier types of alphabets were pictorial, relating to symbols, ideograms, or other representations, like the Egyptian hieroglyphs. In such alphabets, each letter was represented by a picture and not expressed by a vocal sound. Only few pictorial alphabets still remain in use, such as the Chinese Alphabet of almost 40.000 characters.


Strolling on the sandy beach of Gebel (popularly known as Byblos) in Lebanon, I was thinking about all this. The waves of the Mediterranean Sea in front of me, saluted me as I walked.

On the waters that float to the shore with eternal sailors and travellers, expeditionary and trading ships used to dock. Every bright new day they would head to a different corner of the world. I looked around but there weren’t any ships of this kind. Only small fishing boats and others belonging to private owners could be seen. But they, surely, have the blood of their Ancestors running in their veins. Read more of this article »

Posted in Lebanon, Op-Ed

December 10th, 2003 by Karim El-Koussa

Summer came again, as it does every year for so many years now. I packed my suitcases and drove out of boring Zgharta, our winter village, and headed toward the mountains. On each turn along the ascending road, a mysterious mountain of pyramid shape always caught my sight and imagination. On top of the mountain rose the Cathedral of Saydet al-Hosn, a new church overshadowing a small old one.

It was like a mysterious power mesmerized my eyes and pulled me up along the road. Time seemed to loose its ticking until I passed the pyramid shaped mountain and reached my home in Ehden. Within a few days, Ehden was crowded with people inhabiting their summer homes. And the road directly up to the Cathedral of Saydet al-Hosn swelled with cars. Crowds of pedestrians took short cuts off the road to walk directly up the sacred mountain.

A weird phenomenon captivated our souls and opened up our minds, as we approached the Cathedral. The air changed, allowing a more subtle breathing as it entered our realms and elevated our spirits. We were like pilgrims; we still are now, generation after generation, performing the same rites, over and over again, summer after summer, while the passing moments on the peak of that mountain are eternal. Read more of this article »

Posted in Lebanon, Op-Ed