November 23, 2015


While in the mountains last Saturday, the day before Independence Day, hubbie pointed out a flag in the distance.
Look, that thing is huge,” he said.
It didn’t look that huge to me. Just a regular flag.
Yes it is, it’s at least 8 kilometers from here, and you can clearly see it.”
And indeed, it looked like an ordinary flag to me, but at 8 kilometers away.
We drove to the site to check it out. It was in a tiny cedar forest above Hammana, a place called Falougha, where apparently, some 72 years ago (November 21, 1943), the very first Lebanese flag was hoisted. Why there is a mystery to me. It’s not on a mountain top. Well, it is on a mountain top, shaded by an even higher mountain top right next to it, so why this one is unclear.
And yes, while standing under the flag pole, I had to admit; it was a huge flag.
The pole itself was of massive proportions, an iron construction bolted to the ground. It must have cost over $10,000 to install that thing.
There was a strong - and I’d like to stress on strong - south, south easterly wind coming from the direction of the Beqaa Valley, and the flag was flapping in the wind. It wasn’t exactly gale force, but you only need to look at the trees growing there on that mountain, and you get the idea of general wind directions and speed; many trees, especially the once standing alone, grow branches on one side only.
It was impressive how the wind pulled it, and the flag rocked in the wind. You could hear it fly. We discussed whether it was going to hold. I mean, the wind was ripping the thing hard.
Hubbie remarked that he hoped they had order twelve of those flags. He works at sea and knows what wind force can do.
This thing won’t last a month before it is ripped to shreds. They’ll need a new one every month if they intend to have a flag up here.
The sun was setting.
Now in Holland, we have the habit to bring in a flag between sunset and sunrise; you do not fly a flag at night. But the place was deserted, and it didn’t look like anyone was going to strike this flag.
They probably left it for Independence Day the next day.
We looked at it for a while. But night was falling, and it was cold and the wind was picking up, so we drove home.
And at night, as the wind was howling around our mountain house, I thought of that flag.
The next morning, as I got up, hubbie looked in the direction of the flag, some 8 kilometers away as the crow flies.
The flag is gone,” he dryly remarked.
I looked. Searched for it with my binoculars. I could see the flag post, but no flag.
Later, while on our way to the Beqaa Valley, we drove past the site.
The head of the municipality was standing at the bottom of the pole, the rope in his hand, with a bit of red cloth attached to it; one corner of the flag. During the night, the flag had been ripped of its post, and was now long gone. Gone with the wind.

We ordered it specially from Germany; It was supposed to withstand wind speeds of 150 kilometers an hour,” he said, rather disappointedly.
I guess they're not accustomed to Lebanese winds, maybe.
All that’s left is this video I can share with you. The flag never made it to Independence Day. Rather symbolic, I thought. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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Please tell them Beirut will be happy to help , in my second life I want to be Scandinavian , not too many years in this one.

warm regards