Anthony Shadid rebuilt his family home more as a search for roots than as a reconstruction project. The “house of stone” is a living symbol of generations of hope and tenacity that defy the destructive violence of civil war and grinding poverty in a crossroads community in Lebanon near the borders with Syria and Israel.
During the project, Shadid wrote in his book: “I worried that, like Assaad, I would never really find home, not in Oklahoma, not in Maryland, not in Marjayoun. I suppose it is the curse of a generation always looking for something more, something better—the cost of too much freedom. Yet we search, sometimes without realizing it.”
And this: “These cultural things, time will not erase them easily. Did I tell you our house in Marjayoun is older than America? Four hundred years. It might sound silly, but I’m proud of it. Get help and give help. Human values, not money values, technological values, machine values. This culture matters to us.”
Marjayoun is where some say Cain and Abel fought and where Abel is buried.
Shadid was a reporter for The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. He won two Pulitzer Prizes, was the American voice of the Arab Spring in Egypt, Libya (where he was captured and tortured), and Syria. Sadly, he died of an apparent asthma attack while reporting from Syria. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
About the Author
Jim Romahn is a freelance journalist in Kitchener, Ont., where he belongs to Community Christian Reformed Church.