“I need to tell my story.. over and over again.. in order to be able to break free..
I was born illegitimate, out of love at one side and a one night stand at another.. and in a country where rights belong only to men, my mother couldn’t give me a name, so, on my ID they wrote in Arabic , ‘’ lakit”, which means bastard.
They called me Dario, and as I grew up, I became famous, not only because I was Dario nothing, as my family name didn’t exist, but also because I was considered a fool, and, if my name wasn’t my fault, my surname, the fool, was partly my mistake; I’ll explain..
When I was a small kid, I didn’t understand the weird looks that sometimes people gave me. And when I went to school, it wasn’t only the fact that I couldn’t make it there without the nuns’ sense of charity that bothered me, but also the habit that the older kids took to make fun of me, insult me and kick me.. The first few times they called me “lakit”, I went home and looked deeply in the mirror searching for some detail in my face or my body, that looked as ugly as this word that I couldn’t understand sounded. I couldn’t but suspect my ears; after all they were too tall. So, the next day I wore a hat, hoping it would help. But it didn’t... at the contrary, they showered me with even worse words and kicks.. So I went to a teacher and asked her what the word “lakit” means! But when she gave me a real painful slap on the face, grabbed my ears and took me to the principal, I really didn’t want to know, not anymore!
I stopped asking what the bad word meant. I stopped fighting back, or replying to an insult. And, because the insults came sometimes from everywhere, and most of those who never harassed me, never really spoke to me, and those who used to speak to me seemed to avoid me as we grew up, I stopped having friends. Also it seems to me a very ambitious word to say.. as if I really had a choice..
I don’t really remember when or how I found out what the infamous word, my surname by then, meant; because when I did, it didn’t really matter how disgraceful it was, I already was living the disgrace every day. I was pointed at, laughed at, stepped over.. for nothing that I have done.. yet, somehow, this convenient truth didn’t make me feel less guilty..
When I reached high school, I went to the public school. As happy as I was, for changing my educational environment, I was also terrified. Gradually, it was like an old-new me was establishing himself; I was the clown, I made fun of myself as well of everyone. Deep down, I knew that sooner or later the news were going to spread, so I was declaring a pre-war against whoever may attack, but mainly against myself. I was the first to speak to everyone, always joking and teasing, never daring to take myself seriously. After all, I was a joke, wasn’t I?! Sometimes the jokes that I made on my account were so self destructive and revealing that they seemed to match with the insanity of the spreading news.. I know now that I contributed to associate the image of a “Lakit” with a nut head. I simply couldn’t fight anymore; I just wanted to go by the stream. A voice that came out from deep inside always shouted: “show them what they want to see”. This was my only defense.. my cruel, cold "façade"..
But the nut head was a clever student. I never failed a class, and I very soon found myself applying for entrance to the Lebanese university. I chose the major of English literature; I was planning to go live somewhere where it didn’t matter who your parents were.. Yes, my plan was to leave, to run as fast as I can..
Yet it was then, there, that I discovered that I wasn’t the only alien.. that if I was looked at, smeared and rejected because my father was too coward to acknowledge his own blood, if I was the scum of society because I’m an illegitimate, others were rejected for much less, for reasons that were kept hidden behind a false pretense of civility.. their color, their religion, their weakness, a disease or even a tear..
And everything took another track, because for once in my atrocious life I was no longer alone.. I was just another fool in this world where weakness is the ultimate misfortune. And then I met her, I fell in love with her at first sight, but, for 4 years, the time that we spent together at university, I couldn’t bring myself to tell her about my raging feelings, because whenever I thought about it I pictured the scene where she rejects me with a mocking smile..
I graduated with glory, I had already submitted my papers for a permanent leave to Canada.. after a few months, I established myself in Toronto. I succeeded in getting a scholarship for a PHD, and I worked so hard for the next four years, mainly to forget about anything else but also to earn a family name, a surname that would somehow take away the other.. I dreamed of it every single night, I pictured it in so many ways, colors and characters; Dario Doctor or Dr Dario.. and I dreamed of going back to her, telling her all about my hidden feelings, offering her my new name..
Today I am Dr Dario the illegitimate. It’s been eight years since I saw my country, and her, for the last time. I miss them both, but I still can’t bring myself to go back!”
Important note: The word “ lakit” or “ tofel ghayr char3i” (illegitimate) was removed from the Lebanese ID and the individual civil register since 1996 based on the decree 541, but the essential is to remove it from the family civil register, where lies the main gap of the law.