Bonn, Germany—Personal recollections of Lebanon’s people and culture by a German who grew up there were the highlight of a Lebanese cultural event.
Natascha Schellen, who is currently completing her master’s study at Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University, grew up in Lebanon where her parents still live and involve themselves in several peace projects.
On November 19, 2017, she expressed her enthusiasm for her homeland at an event held jointly by the Bonn chapters of UPF and the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP), an affiliated organization. Ms. Schellen gave a vivid report about the country and its history, centering on its people, their attitudes and traditions.
Although she mentioned various conflicts in Lebanon, she stressed the exceptionally good and pleasant interactions that she experienced in her school time with children and families of various faiths.
The country’s constitution aims at peaceful coexistence by recognizing 18 religions, and it specifies that the president should always be a Maronite Christian and the prime minister a Sunni Muslim. In the current crisis following the resignation of the state president, the citizens are striving to find a solution without their country becoming a pawn to be abused by foreign powers, Ms. Schellen said.
The speaker showed impressive photographs demonstrating the diversity of the countryside—the sea and beaches, mountains and valleys, towns and villages—and she related many personal experiences, giving a vivid impression of her country.
Her remarks about architecture and music were most informative, and many of the audience practiced the dabke dance under her guidance.
Especially appreciated at the end were the Lebanese delicacies that Ms. Schellen had prepared, such as hummus, falafel, mutabbal and tabbouleh.