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It's Time to Return to Lebanon.
On Thursday, the 27th of January, 2005 in the context of the Cultural Hour organized by the Faculty of Arts & Sciences at Haigazian University, Mrs. Merintha Bedirian Abla delivered a lecture on her first published book, "It's Time to Return to Lebanon".

Among the capacity audience, were present the President of the University, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian, the Dean of Arts & Sciences, Dr. Arda Ekmekji, and the Public Affairs Officer of the Embassy of the United States of America, Mrs. Juliet Wurr.

After a word of welcome from Dr. Ekmekji, Mrs. Abla introduced the audience with the factors that influenced her to write this novel; it was mainly a means to express her disagreement and complaint about the unbearable social, political and economical post-war situation prevailing in the country.

Then Mrs. Abla gave a general idea about the stages the book went through, from preparation of the plot and the outline, drafting the story, collecting information and arranging the sequence of events, writing & typing the story, and finally sending it to editing.

Moreover, Mrs. Abla shared with the attendees, the dreary business of getting published; after being rejected from an American publishing house and contacting local publishers in vain, she finally got an approval from a US publisher, and the book came to fruition.

Afterwards, the author presented the plot and the two main characters of the novel. The book depicts the struggle of three generations of a Lebanese family who, motivated by the desire to amass wealth, leave its homeland in search for better work opportunities. After realizing all their dreams and self-actualization, brothers Azar & Bashir discover that nothing substitutes the allure of their homeland and its sublime beauty. After the civil war is over, the family decides to return home. The return was not easy at all. After being overjoyed to see the capital city Beirut reconstructed, to their great astonishment discover that the country is drowned in corruption, high rate of unemployment, and a low standard of living.

It is Rose, the daughter, shocked by the new unbearable state of affairs, determines herself to find a solution to the prevailing situation. She runs a huge campaign to all emigrants and expatriates to return home to participate in the rebirth of a new Lebanon, based on their modern, democratic ideas suggestions and huge investments.

Last but not least, Mrs. Abla invited everybody to read the book. According to the author, "It's Time to Return to Lebanon", is an unforgettable novel that leaves readers awed by its breathtaking honesty, beauty and patriotism.

The book is expected to be in bookstores soon.
Mira Yardemian
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