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Screenshot of Frank Capra's 'It's a Wonderful Life'

Frank Capra and Choosing to Stay in Beirut

Capra’s take on the individual and collective, adventure and domesticity, and success and an ordinary life aren’t just applicable to the American Wonderful Life. While watching the above, I kept seeing the duality apply to Lebanon as a whole. Beirut is my Bedford Falls.

Many of the ambitious youth, myself included, dream of travel and growth beyond what the small country can offer us. There is a fear of being trapped, the constant threat of becoming obsolete in any professional field of the 21st century because of limitations that are not under your control. The push and pull represented in the film by Potter and Mary are also present in each of our lives thanks to our politicians and our people. We have our symbols of corruption and our symbols of hope – the little things that make you stay or the little things that bring you back, even if just for 10 days at the end of the year.

“But hope is not naive. It’s hardiness and resolve against a situation that cannot give us assurances or guarantees. The film shows us that a change of heart and perspective far from being powerless nostalgia in the face of an unusually divisive and fear-filled season can be a genuinely revolutionary attitude.”

I’ve been asked “You have an American passport, why don’t you just leave?” multiple times. Because, like George Bailey, it’s not about me.

Here’s to hoping 2016 brings more domestic adventure and ordinary success. Let’s do this, Lebanon.

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