“Christine, let the world hear you sing, let the world hear your beautiful voice” is a sentence that my late Grandmother has said to me oh so many times. After she passed away, the feeling of guilt affected me tremendously; yes I sang on stages abroad, yes I sang in private concerts and events, yes I sang with orchestras in Europe but she was unable to watch my performances and I never made her wish come true…until now. On the 15th of August 2016, the Assumption day of our Blessed Virgin Mary, I will be performing in Ain Ebel, the Homeland of my beloved Grandma, Fairuz Ashkar Barakat.
Ain Ebel, is one of the very few Christian villages located in the far South. This small welcoming hamlet is home to copious archeological sites that date to Biblical times. A heavy Neolithic site of the Qaraoun Culture was discovered by Henri Fleisch, west of Ain Ebel in the Wadi Koura with tools found suggested to be part of a forest dweller’s toolkit at the start of the Neolithic Revolution. On the outskirts of the village is an area called Chalaboune where Ernet Renan, a French historian and philosopher who was sent by Emperor Napolean III to Lebanon, found ancient graves. On one of the graves, Renan discovered a bas-relief of Apollo and Artemis. The relief was transported to France where it remains today at the Louvre. In 2011 and after months of negotiation, the Musee du Louvre agreed to make an exact replica of the bas-relief, which was delivered to the municipality of Ain Ebel in November.
This alluring village brimms with congenial and courteous people; I have to admit that the community of Ain Ebel is the warmest clan you will ever encounter.
On the 15th of August of 2016, just a few meters from where my Grandma Fairuz Ashkar Barakat grew up and fell in love with my Grandpa Robert Barakat and just a few meters away from where she rests; right there, in that junction, I will be singing to my darling and precious Teta. Ain Ebel will be my stage and she will be watching me from the other side of this world.