Lynn Cheikh Moussa
The one certain thing about Lebanon today is that it is overcome with turmoil. With the rise of ISIS, the ongoing war in Syria, and the ever-changing political landscape in the Middle East, Lebanon has been ranked one of the least safe countries in the world.
Yet it leaves a sense of confusion and perhaps uncertainty about how we, as Lebanese people, should respond to this news. Can we feel safe in our own country, despite this alarming ranking?
Usually, safety is linked to the conditions surrounding the environment we are placed in. When a country is overthrown with chaos, crime, and crises of all sorts (economic, social, political), then its citizens would most definitely assume that safety is perhaps difficult to establish, and in worst cases, it becomes an unachievable illusion.
In contrast, if the environment is filled with peace and happiness, then this induces a feeling of comfort within individuals, such that they begin to feel safe, and they’re right; who wouldn’t feel safe somewhere calm and peaceful, like Denmark or Norway, for example?
Yet individuals do not have to necessarily be somewhere safe to feel safe. While safety is directly linked to conditions existing outside of the individual, the feeling of safety is linked to conditions existing within the individual, more specifically, to their emotional and psychological state.
In simpler terms, feeling safe is completely dependent on our emotions towards an issue, and while this factor is most definitely influenced by outside conditions such as the political landscape of the country, it is not the same, nor is it interchangeable with it at all.
Just as much as our feelings are affected by the conditions of the outside world, they are affected by our perceptions of the world as well, and this is where the issue of feeling safe in Lebanon lies.
An article in Psychology Today titled “Emotional Safety: What does it really mean?” states that “emotional safety comes from within us.” While the article references examples such as feeling safe in your lover’s arms, the same principle applied there can be applied here.
In order to further understand if and how one can feel safe in their own country, which in this case, is Lebanon, it must be looked at from two perspectives. Someone who only sees Lebanon as a combination of unsafe roads and an undying crime scene will most definitely not feel safe.
While these factors are arguably true and provide us with a crucial understanding of how residing here is, they should not necessarily be the lens through which we see the country. Someone who sees Lebanon as home, whether it be their place of birth or residence, is more prone to achieving a feeling of comfort and safety.
Simply put, the emotions that we link to our country are those that contribute to our feeling of safety. They might not be the determining factor in feeling safe, but emotional links of attachment or detachment play an incredible role in building the lens through which we see our country.
If we choose to see Lebanon as a ticking bomb ready to explode at any second, feeling safe becomes a psychological mission, despite the fact that Lebanon might truly be a ticking bomb ready to explode.