A Man of Many, with Samer Beyhum

I met Samer during my time at LAU. His name always came up in relation to one project or another, one activity or another, and he could often be seen sitting and chatting among the students on the stairs of the Arts building. He engages them not only in conversation and skills labs, but also in his film making. I delighed at the site of him and a handful of young students walking down Maqdisi Street one day with equipment in hand. They were shooting for a film about a young refugee girl who sells flowers. While helping students find their voice, Samer was giving voice to another young soul and all she represents.

I had rather hoped that Samer’s response to my poem would be an elaboration on his plans and projects, always energetic and inspiring, but he’s a flexible guy who goes with the flow and seizes opportunities as they arise, so writing of plans doesn’t really fit his creative style.

Reem to Samer:

A father to many a student
A friend to many a colleague
A storyteller to many a viewer
An advocate to many a survivor

You wear many hats
Master many devices
Carry many burdens
Lift up many persons

Have many an interest
Create many a thing
Are intrigued by many a theme
Have fulfilled many a dream

With all the many manys
What’s left to achieve?
Is it time to retire,
Or will you aim even higher?

Samer to Reem:

The Torch Barer

In the middle of the night
No light shines so bright
Beckoning those in flight
To stand and fight

Rare are those who inspire
Whatever may transpire
Beckoning those who aspire
Shining along life’s spire

The torch bearer stands resolute
Challenging many to take strides
Inspiring confidence where was none
Opening eyes once wide shut

Travel restirctions prevented me from visiting my former hometown of Beirut for the first half of 2020. I finally made it back in July, the month of my birthday, and was delighted to meet up with and visit many of its lovely residents. Samer invited me for a delicious vegan lunch, which he made from scratch, to celebrate and enjoy our friendship. I left his home with warmth, joy and a homemade batch of halawa.

Creative Conversations: An Introduction
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