Growing up, I spent almost every summer with my grandma in Lebanon. Her house in the mountains was always full, for not only was it my siblings and me, but my mother and grandmother and my cousins also stayed there. My amazing Uncle had passed away when my two cousins, Bahaa and Alaa, were very young, and I was about nine. My grandma had taken them in, and this made my summers even more fun. We all enjoyed playing together and watching movies together. We loved Disney productions in particular.
One quiet Wednesday, we didn’t have much to do. So we all decided we should watch a movie. My cousin, as usual, stands up, takes out the movie, and places it in the VCR. The five of us, my siblings and me, and my two cousins gather around the TV and enjoy the opening scenes. Our spirits are high, and we sing along with great gusto! We’re having the time of our lives seeing the grasslands of Africa unfold, all the animals of the animal kingdom gathering for the arrival of a new prince. We see a baboon, Rafiki, holding up a small lion cub named Simba, his father, Mufasa looking upon him with pride. The music swells and our spirits soar.
“NAAAAANTS INGONYAAAAAMA BAGITHI BABA”
As we go along, we see the wonderful relationship between Simba and his father. We see Simba waking Mufasa up in a cave, the two stalking Zazu and laughing, and even Simba seeing the fierce side of his father when he rescues him from the hyenas and is disappointed in him. It is easy see how much love this father has for his son. Everything is going so well, and there is so much hope for Simba.
But soon enough, things become more serious. We sit there in an anticipation, our bodies stiffening, sitting up just a little bit straighter, realizing what is about to come. Simba has followed a bug into a canyon, unaware of an approaching stampede. The room is silent, except for the sound of the movie emanating from the TV in the corner. We watch as Mufasa, this amazing father figure, rushes in to save his son and dies. This scene goes on forever; we sit quietly, a tear or two falling down our faces, nobody looking at one another, for we all know what is going through each other’s mind. We continue with the movie observing how Simba gets lost in his way for a while, and soon, as Simba grows older, we observe him finding his way back home— back to his place in the world. At the end of the movie, he is able to defeat his villains because of his father’s legacy.
We also know that, yes, when my cousins were two and three, my amazing Uncle Fuad had passed away, may God have mercy on his soul, and, yes, both of my cousins don’t have a father and yes, my siblings and I do. But we all think to ourselves that things will be ok. The movie ends, credits roll, and we get up and proceed with our daily lives of all playing together, never really talking about what had just transpired.
We watched the Lion King every Summer for five Summers straight.
Please take a moment to think of all the children in the world who have lost their fathers.