Tom Fletcher

Tom Fletcher

British Ambassador to Lebanon

Part of UK in Lebanon

31st July 2015 Beirut, Lebanon

So…Yalla, Bye

Tom Fletcher
Tom Fletcher

Dear Lebanon,

Sorry to write again. But I’m leaving your extraordinary country after four years. Unlike your politicians, I can’t extend my own term.

When I arrived, my first email said ‘welcome to Lebanon, your files have been corrupted’. It should have continued: never think you understand it, never think you can fix it, never think you can leave unscathed. I dreamt of Beirutopia and Leb 2020 , but lived the grim reality of the Syria war.

Bullets and botox. Dictators and divas. Warlords and wasta. Machiavellis and mafia. Guns, greed and God. Game of Thrones with RPGs. Human rights and hummus rights. Four marathons, 100 blogs, 10,000 tweets, 59 calls on Prime Ministers, 600+ long dinners, 52 graduation speeches, two #OneLebanon rock concerts, 43 grey hairs, a job swap with a domestic worker, a walk the length of the coast (Video). I got to fly a Red Arrow upside down, and a fly over Lebanon’s northern border to see how LAF is enforcing Lebanese sovereignty. I was even offered a free buttock lift – its value exceeded our £140 gift limit, so that daunting task is left undone.

Your politics are also daunting, for ambassadors as well as Lebanese citizens. When we think we’ve hit bottom, we hear a faint knocking sound below. Some oligarchs tell us they agree on change but can’t. They flatter and feed us. They needlessly overcomplicate issues with layers of conspiracy, creative fixes, intrigue. They undermine leaders working in the national interest. Then do nothing, and blame opponents/another sect/Sykes-Picot/Israel/Iran/Saudi (delete as applicable). They then ask us to move their cousin’s friend in front of people applying for a visa. It is Orwellian, infuriating and destructive of the Lebanese citizens they’re supposed to serve. But this frustration beats the alternative – given potential for mishap, terror or invasion, there is no substitute for unrelenting, maddening, political process.

Kahlil Gibran said ‘you have your Lebanon, I have mine’. When the Middle East was in flames, and its people caught between tyrants and terrorists, the Lebanon I will remember sent its soldiers to protect the borders; confronted daily frustrations to build businesses and to educate its children; and showed extraordinary generosity to outsiders, be they ambassadors or refugees. The Lebanon I will remember is not asking for help, but for oxygen. It is not arguing over the past, but over the future. It is not debating which countries hold it back, but how to move forward. It is not blaming the world, but embracing it. People will look back at what we have come through and ask how Lebanon survived? But we already know the answer: never underestimate the most resilient people on the planet. A people that has, for millennia, beaten the odds.

I hope you will also look back and say that the Brits helped you to hold your corner. Giving those soldiers the training and equipment to match their courage. Giving those pupils the books to match their aspiration. Giving those businesses the networks to match their ambition. Building international conspiracies for Lebanon, not against it. And above all, believing you would beat the odds. Four years: 100 times the financial support, ten times the military support, double the trade. We even helped Walid Joumblatt join Twitter.

What could the West have done differently? Many of you have a long list. We are at last feeling ourselves to a serious conversation with Iran, and a credible political process that leaves Syrians with more than the barrel bomber and the box office brutality of Da’esh. I hope President Obama can deliver his aim of a Palestinian state with security and dignity. I hope we can talk to our enemies as well as our friends – aka diplomacy. I hope we rediscover an international system that aspires to protect the most vulnerable: the problem with an ethical foreign policy was not the ambition but the execution, and Syria must not be RIP R2P. The driving quest of diplomacy is for imperfect ways to help people not kill each other. Let’s not give up on the idea that the Middle East can find security, justice and opportunity. I hope other countries reflect on what they could do differently too.

They say that Lebanon is a graveyard for idealism. Not mine. It has been a privilege to share this struggle with you. I believe you can defy the history, the geography, even the politics. You can build the country you deserve. Maybe even move from importing problems to exporting solutions. The transition from the civil war generation lies ahead, and will be tough. You can’t just party and pray over the cracks. But you can make it, if you have an idea of Lebanon to believe in. You need to be stronger than the forces pulling you apart. Fight for the idea of Lebanon, not over it.

And we need you to fight hard. Reading your history in a musty Oxford library over four years ago, I realised that if we cannot win the argument for tolerance and diversity in Lebanon, we will lose it everywhere. That’s why we’ve helped – it is in our national interest too. This is the frontline for a much bigger battle. The real dividing line is not between Christianity and Islam, Sunni and Shia, East and West. It is between people who believe in coexistence, and those who don’t.

So if the internet doesn’t work, build a new internet. If the power supply doesn’t work, build a new power supply. If the politics don’t work, build a new politics. If the economy is mired in corruption and garbage piles up, build a new economy. If Lebanon doesn’t work, build a new Lebanon. It is time to thrive, not just survive.

I worried I was too young for this job. I discovered I was too old. We experimented on Twitter – first tweet-up with a PM, with a diva, first RT of a Western diplomat by the President of Iran, online scraps with terrorists and satirists, #Leb2020 and much more. I hope it amplified our impact in an authentic, engaging and purposeful way. I have banged on about how digital will change diplomacy. Someone should write a book about how it will also change power, and how we can marshall it to confront the threats to our existence. Now there’s an idea.

You gave me Bekaa sunrises and Cedars sunsets. You gave me the adventure of my life, and plenty of reasons to fear for it. You gave me extraordinary friends, and you took some away. I loved your hopeless causes and hopeful hearts, shared your tearful depths and your breathless heights.

There are eight stages of life as an ambassador here. Seduction. Frustration. Exhilaration. Exhaustion. Disaffection. Infatuation. Addiction. Resignation. I knew them all, often simultaneously. I wouldn’t have swapped it for anywhere in the world. I and the brilliant embassy team are still buying shares in Lebanon 2020. I’m finishing my time as an Ambassador to Lebanon, but with your permission I’ll always be an ambassador for Lebanon.

Many of you ask me why I remain positive about this country. All I ever tried to do was hold a mirror up and show you how beautiful you really are. Shine on, you crazy diamond.

Please stay in touch.

3asha Lubnan

Yalla, bye

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427 comments on “So…Yalla, Bye

  1. I am speechless dear ambassador..im sorry that our politicians couldn’t find solutions to the country’s problems.u helped the leb army with cars and guns and u did what u had to do to this country!!thank you so much and sorry again!!Peace

    1. Dear Tom,
      You were not only an Ambassador, a very successful one, but also and most of all a fabric of positive vibes and energy.
      If at all before leaving you can encourage and cause the FCO to maintain this fabric up and running in Lebanon… This is much needed.
      God bless you.
      My best, as ever!
      CarlosAJ

    2. What a humble beautiful soul and amazing diplomat but most of all exceptional human being. You have taught us a lesson of humility. Too bad you’re not a Maronite I would have campaigned for you to become a president cause you love this country more than any of those presidential candidates. Lebanon needs more people like you. Yalla bye and see you soon in higher positions Inchallah

      1. I am sorry to say ms. Myra that you missed the spirit of the ambassador farewell note…what a shame…

        1. In your opinion I have missed it. In mine, I believe that Mr Ambassador understood Lebanon way more than any other Lebanese politician. He definitely showed that he cares for this country more than they do

          1. شكرًا, Merci, Thank you, they seem to small of words to show our appreciation for you and your country’s help for our beloved Lebanon…Hope will never die in the land of milk and honey.

        2. No , I don’t think she has at all..
          History shows that the leaders of Lebanon have nothing but their own interest at heart .
          The politicians do not give a damn about Lebanon , otherwise their citizens wouldn’t be suffering to survive daily struggles ..
          The sooner all Lebanese realise this , the sooner Lebanon can prosper ..
          So YES Myra was right ..

        3. I agree, Tom’s words are inspirational and real. I would question if a Lebanese person could speak of the country and its potential like this.

          Presidency should not know race, color, gender or religion.

          1. I loved what you said Zakie and I quote; “Presidency should not know race, color, gender or religion.”….. it should simply conotate love of ones country and not love of ones self, loyalty to ones country and not loyalty of ones self and above all committment to ones country and not of ones self. A Jordanian by nationality, having been a student at AUB, I am one of Lebanon’s Ambassadores and love it and love its people. My hat off to you….for being resilient, survivors and above all else…for being Lebanese!

      2. Myra, Too bad you’re not smart enough to stop being sacrarian even after reading such a heart warming goodbye letter. You totally missed the point.

        1. The word is sectarian if ever. Too bad u missed the point from my reply because being sectarian is the last thing on my mind.

      3. Bravo Myra, well said, my thoughts exactly, I wish we had one lebanese politician who loved lebanon as purely and unbiasedly as Tom Fletcher. Sadly for all of us, all evolved and well intended lebanese stay as far away from politics as they can.

    3. Mr. Ambassador
      All the respect for you ..thousands of politicians…few of humans…..
      ya reit 3na mtlak ….unfortunately person like you are so rare…. hope for you the best of life you certainly deserve…

      1. Mr. Ambassador
        All the respect for you ..thousands of politicians…few of humans…..
        ya reit 3na mtlak ….unfortunately persons like you are so rare…. hope for you the best of life you certainly deserve…Proud we have you now as ambassador for Lebanon

    4. “You have your Lebanon, I have mine” ! Shame on us not to find solutions to our problems while foreign ambassadors care about our country and its future more than we do ?! Cannot understand at all why people of Lebanon are still following their representatives instead that they would impose on their political representatives to follow the needs and demands of the public!!? Yalla bye, hope some Lebanese would be like you ambassador, good luck

    5. You brought tears into my eyes.
      Words can not describe the way I felt after reading your comments.!
      I just hope that our politicians,after reading your article, would resign and leave with you to England to educate themselves on how to love and run a country like Lebanon.
      Personally I would prefer if they stay there.

  2. Dear Mr. Tom

    You’ve been an extraordinary personality in my country, I’ve never met you in person but followed your tweets and news on TV. I’ve even highlighted your profile on Twitter so i receive your tweets as a breaking news on my phone.
    What can we say in these hard days, where we are close to pessimism while Beirut is full of garbage literally. We are so sorry to give you this image in your last days in your mission, sometimes we don’t know where the problem started and who to blame, somtimes we blame ourselves.
    I need to say thank you from an ordinary citizen. Not a political nor a star, a Lebanese expat who still passing by Lebanon at least a month, to visit family and have coffee or beer in Hamra.
    Thank you and good luck in your next step and looking forward to meet you in person sometime.
    You are a good example.
    Yalla Bye

    Hassan Kassem
    Producer/Writer

      1. Dear Ambassador

        I don’t know you nor did I follow your tweets – see I’m from the generation of Lebanese who left Lebanon a long time ago to find greener pastures in the land of uncle sam- and I did. I never looked back- probably because of disgust in the political system but mainly because of fear and sorrow. I stumbled across your departing words and they left me speechless. Well said. Spoken like a true statesman and leader but mostly like a real human being full of hope and much needed optimism.
        Wish you all the best in your career, which I’m sure will be as bright as your mind.

      2. Maybe Tom your next stop should be Egypt. I believe Lebanon to be a Utopia compared to us. We are hopeless, and it’s not because of the politicians.

      3. Dear Mr Fletcher,

        I want to thank you so much for an excellent ‘farewell’ letter . Actually if there is any perfection on this side of heaven , this must be it !

        My name is Dany and I live in Melbourne , Australia . It really hurts me to have people politicians like the ones we have running our country…

        I hope you they all can learn from you how to appreciate and love Lebanon.

        Thanks again.

        Cheers

        Dany

        PS
        In football I support Liverpool and England.

      1. Dear Sir,
        The problem in our country is greed,99% of our politicians are thieves , I hope that one of these days things will change.
        Isaac

  3. Mr Ambassador,

    I guess you love our Lebanon most than the lebanese.

    Thank you, Regards.

      1. Not shy , too proud and stubborn to unite as one .
        It’s their pride and involvement of religion with politics that divides Lebanon and doesn’t allow it to prosper ..

        Let’s all agree to pray in our own homes and worship whoever we want , but let’s also agree to have the mutual alliance and patriotism to ONE LEBANON regardless of faith . Not until then , will Lebanon be a stable prosperous nation ..

        1. I cannot agree more. Lebanon will never move forward until it gets rid of two political killers at the root of every evil:

          Confessionalism and Fiefdom.

          All the rest is make-up, egocentrism and ignorance.

          1. Exactly .. And your country is only as strong as your army ..
            If Lebanon had a powerful army with no civil opponents , it wouldn’t be as threatened by or feel inferior to foreign forces ..
            All Lebanese should pledge alliance to their army, regardless of faith .
            The stronger the army , the safer the civilians ..
            True patriotism means allowing every single civilian the same rights and privileges , regardless of their financial status .
            That’s how a nation prospers ..

          2. Les propos de l’ambassadeur Fletcher me remettent en memoire le langage que nous tenions et les reves de notre jeunesse entre 1970 et 74 que la guerre de 75 a fait eclater. Depuis notre generation n’arrive pas a construire la paix et le Liban que nous voulions. Quarante ans passés et “la chasse des élites”continue. Plus de flamme,révolté que nous étions,on se résout à l’état de fait sans même faire taire la caste de “mafiomediocriteur” les mafieux mediocres

  4. Dear Your Excellency,

    Maybe we need 100 more years to have an excellent ambassador like you, that loves our country and our people.

    You were a great friend for Lebanon; You and your government helped the Lebanese Army Forces, moreover you build the UK-Lebanon Technology Hub to help making Lebanon the “World’s New Silicon Valley”.

    Wishing you a great and brilliant future in the UK or abroad, hoping to see you soon in our country.

    With full respect to all your achievements,
    Raja George Younes

    1. Thanks Raja. UK/Lebanon Tech Hub is doing extraordinary things. I encourage anyone who has given up to drop by and see.

      1. Morningg dear ambasaador. I have been touched with ur words from deep inside. What a flabbergasting personality spreading positiv vibes despite all the negativity we’re surrounded with. Wantes tobask what is UK-Lebanon tech Hub

        1. Dear Amal, the UK Lebanon Tech Hub is an initiative that is supportinf grow the knowledge economy and the tech sector in Lebanon. We provide expertise, experience and exposure to anyone in Lebanon who is involved or want to be part of this sector. Visit our website to learn more http://www.uklebhub.com

  5. Couldn’t hold a tear in the eye while reading the article; saddened that you are leaving yet happy that you are on our side. I Wish you success wherever you may be and hope to meet you one day.

    Thank you,

    Charbel.

  6. Thank you dear “Lebanese” Ambassador for this motivating letter, thank you for loving our country more than our politicians do, and thank you for the great speech you gave at BHS school’s graduation… God bless you and your loved ones and keep you safe in your political journey!
    Respect!!!

  7. Dear Tom
    With the Love of Our God I want to thank you for all this years you spent serving Our Queen in Lebanon
    I pray that God bless you and your family and if you are in London one day I would love to meet for a Lebanese Coffee
    Much blessing
    Jean-Louis

  8. Wow ! That really says it all… you will be missed… The UK is lucky to have you back… your successor will have a big challenge… Good luck and thank you for everything you did during these 4 years. You left a big footprint not only for the BC or BOC’s community, but to all Lebanese.
    Yalla bye !
    Nadim

  9. Your Excellency,

    I had the pleasure to attend one of your speeches at AUB. I was so impressed that I started following you on social networks. I must say, you have brought us a breeze of fresh air as to how a civil servant serves his country. If I was a Brit, I would have been proud of your service, as a Lebanese I can only feel contempt of the honor to have had you in our midst.

    Your ideals, professionalism and charming personality embody a standard I am yet to see in the realm of our politicians.

    Wherever life may take you, and you deserve the highest levels, you will always be our friend and hold a special place in our hearts. A friend of Lebanon.

    Good Luck Sir, and GOD Bless.
    Fouad

  10. You’re Excellency,

    Your kind and challenging words should be “our” new doctrine to adopt and adapt. Indeed Lebanon grows on whoever lives in it, being it for a short visit or for a number of years. We all have our “ideas” of Lebanon, but the sad thing we do not have that idea in common. The people of this nation need to look forward to a time where we all work for ONE Lebanon that we and who ever lives here feel the magic of this nation.
    You are truely an Ambassador par excellance to Lebanon.
    All the best on your move and let me say that you will always be welcome back here. Many of us would receive you and your family with open hearts, arms and mind.
    Every blessing
    Edmond Khoury

  11. Brilliant.
    Thank you for all that you have for done for both Lebanon, as well as the UK. The Lebanese, as you have come to understand gracefully have a deep lust for living conspiracy theories. You’ve certainly helped bridg a gap that has been wide widening since Sykes-Picot. My only regret is I relocate to Lebanon as you are leaving. God bless you on your next assignment. You will be missed.

  12. Very touching words…
    Gd luck in your new post and i strongly hope to see you here again one day… feltman’s way this time 🙂

  13. So..yalla bye..
    Touching words that shows how shallow politicians are in Lebanon. If they are holding to the chairs, I guess it’s a nice solution to allow them take the chairs home.
    I wish you the best Your Excellency. The best in a country where they appreciate people like you and accept working together to make a better world.
    Best Regards,
    Bechara.

  14. Mr. Ambassador, we need a new breed of leaders who embrace your passion and integrity. We are lucky to have had you as an ambassador to a country that I love and respect. We will survive but the cost has been very high.

    Yes we need to build a new economy and a new country!

    Loulwa

  15. I’ve always followed your actions as ambassador and as a human being without knowing you personnaly. Lebanon is loosing a great friend and an unique ambassador. Hope you’ll come back for you are more Lebanese than our so called leaders and other country men. You’ll be missed dearly. Myrna

  16. Your excellency,
    I am struck by how well you captured the essence, spirit and nature of the Lebanese and even the Middle East culture. As a a Jordanian, so much of what was said in your article rang true for me. The way in which Lebanon is not not asking for help, but for oxygen, the dividing line is not between Christians and Muslims, but between people who believe in coexistence and those who don’t….to fight for an idea of Lebanon, not over it. You have simply hit the nail on the head embassador fletcher. If anyone deserves to write a book on the Middle East. It should be you. By Goerge You’ve got it…it is by far one of the most interesting and moving articles I’ve read in years!
    Thank you
    Yalla bye

    1. I support your finesse WAFA NIMRI in capturing these unique visions expressed so deeply about our Lebanese spirit and soul by this Thomas More of the modern days, His excellency, Mr.Ambassador Tom Fletcher!

  17. If only they can teach this speech in schools and homes.. Lebanon would become a better place! This is the spirit we all need to unite and to stand up against all odds!
    Thank you for all your efforts, and most of all thank you for believing in Lebanon!
    We’re all looking forward to Leb2020 and i’m sure when that day comes, we’ll be singing “wish you were here” dear ambassador!

  18. Your excellency,
    I am struck by how well you captured the essence, spirit and nature of the Lebanese and even the Middle East culture. As a a Jordanian, so much of what was said in your article rang true for me. The way in which Lebanon is not not asking for help, but for oxygen, the dividing line is not between Christians and Muslims, but between people who believe in coexistence and those who don’t….to fight for an idea of Lebanon, not over it. You have simply hit the nail on the head embassador fletcher. If anyone deserves to write a book on the Middle East. It should be you. By Goerge You’ve got it…it is by far one of the most interesting and moving articles I’ve read in years!
    Yalla bye

    1. Mrs Nimri,
      I would like to hug you. Wish all our neighbours were so enlightened.
      Regards et merci bcp,

  19. Dear Your Excellency,

    Your letter makes the best message for the new generation of Lebanon, as we hope they will make the new Lebanon. It is obvious that you loved Lebanon, and Lebanon loved you too.

    I appreciate your offer, Your Excellency, to be an Ambassador for Lebanon. This means a lot knowing the power of the country you represent, that is the United Kingdom. To be the Ambassador for Lebanon will help us a lot. So, please be our Ambassador everywhere you go and for every possible cause: Peace, Military Support, Education, Economical, Agricultural, Medical, other. The most important cause we need you for would be to help our politicians learn how to migrate to the new millennium government leadership and management standards and adopt the processes of government strategic planning and performance management, to open up for public accountability with complete transparency with high sense of responsibility. This is our core problem, I am sure you know that. So, please be our Ambassador, if not for our government as we both know its current status, for the people of Lebanon. We need your help, and we are willing to help you in helping us, as we have to help ourselves as well.

    You rightly said, the UK also needs Lebanon and I assume you meant for its role in the region representing a model of democracy (at good times), mixed religions, the power of education and services it offers. We, the people of Lebanon want it to be so. We need a young diplomat like you to understand the young Lebanese and their aspirations. Please, do not forget us. You may call on me, on us, on everyone to help you to get us all to the safe shores of Lebanon 2020.

    I wish you good luck on your new mission. We will continue to follow your tweets.

    Respectfully,

    Iman Ousseyran

  20. I wish I had the chance to meet you in Lebanon unfortunately I didn’t have the privilige. I was very touched with your words they have lots of meanings and I wish we love our country as much as you loved it. Farewell, best of luck and please don’t give up on Lebanon.

  21. Your excellency, you leave me speechless!!! Your writings go straight to the heart. Hope they head up to the minds of some obscure souls. Even if it seems weird that a stranger is sending you this comment, but this is to assure you of my highest respect and appreciation. Hope you keep the love of Lebanon in your inner heart. God bless you.

  22. Godspeed Mr Ambassador.
    Thank you for helping our men in green, our entrepreneurs, our vision and hope for a forward looking, self respecting country.
    You’ve been a friend to our beloved land so may the Lebanon bug shine bright in your heart and bring you back to us.

    Allah maak ya Edame

  23. Dear Sir,

    If our politicians learned from you how to love Lebanon, we would be living in heaven! I wish you were Lebanese (I know you are at heart), cause the seat in Baabda deserves someone like you.
    Farewell

  24. Thank you your excellency I am left speechless by your farewell note and for all the support you showed to lebanon you will be deeply missed by us the common people
    Good luck in your new endeavour
    Yalla bye

  25. Dear Tom
    You have been an inspiration to many diplomats in Lebanon
    I could not be more eloquent in my description to the Lebanese experience as you did
    Keep up the spirit, and hope that one day we can meet again
    Greetings from Cairo 🙂

  26. Dear ambassador,

    We need a president in lebanon, an honest and serious one, please don’t leave be our president, i will vote for you.

  27. Much respect to you Mr. Fletcher ,,, You have touched our heart and soul with your genuine passion , distinguished service and exceptional will to make a difference.
    We thank you for the support extended to our country , specially to our army..
    You will be missed , God Bless you .

    Maan

  28. You will be truly missed. We needed your positive energy and your forward thinking!
    As my friend just said :” he should be our president, actually he should be the bloody British president!”

  29. You excellency
    I am a Lebanese Architect currently residing in Saudi Arabia which because of the 75 war my family had to disperse in different countries …..but most reside in the UK including my 95 years old mother, a daughter, a sister, and a brother.My late father who was the Governor of mount Lebanon has his final resting place in England .In short most of my family are in England.Although I never met your Excellency except on TV , and despite the fact that I regret you leaving my beloved country, I am sure that there would be an addition to Lebanese who adore England myself included and that is Englismen who like Lebanon…….God bless

  30. I must say it was a great great pleasure to have met your Excellency few times in person with Baroness Nicholson! You left an extra ordinary impression on me back then, on how much you were ready to give & help & how much you were concerned . Now after reading your sincere admiration letter to our beloved(poor) country, also after seeing you walk your son to say goodbye, made me feel even more honored to have met you… Your words furnish hope when I felt that hope itself has immigrated from Lebanon for good!!
    Good luck on your next mission. I wish you all the best
    and thank you so much.

    Rima

  31. I was lucky to have you in our seminar as the last commercial activity for you in Lebanon and as I said in my welcoming word an Ambasador that lives Lebanon more then the Lebanese, Tom your words as much as they are true as much as they are sad I wish we can move Lebanon to the level you always thought that we should be, thanks for those years you are really a special gentleman- Farid Fakherddin

  32. Mr Fletcher ,
    Read your letter with great admiration for your interpretation of a complex nation .
    I think I can sum up your opinions briefly .
    The Lebanese must unite as one and end the division of Lebanon .
    Not until ALL Lebanese stand and unite as one will Lebanon ever be able to become a peaceful prosperous nation ..
    No more blaming the west or other Arab nations for their demise .
    Lebanese and their stubborn pride are to blame for not appreciating what they have been given .. Let’s hope a wind of change is on its way .. Good luck with your future assignments ..

  33. Dear Tom
    So refreshing to read your letter. I lived in Lebanon from 1975 to 2006 when I returned to the UK to remarry.
    I had goosebumps reading your words, you obviously absorbed the true essence of Lebanon. Be careful, once it is in your bloodstream, it is addictive. I personally miss it so much. I appreciated how much you, as I do, admire the Lebanese spirit.
    They certainly sent the best man for the job when they appointed you as our Ambassador. I am proud of you representing our country. Believe me, we had many people before you who could have done so much better. I truly hope that this letter will be read in many schools and universities to the youth of beautiful, crazy, generous Lebanon. Thank you for writing it.

    Katherine

    P.S in true Lebanese fashion (yes, I have the honour of duel nationality) if you are ever up our way in the East Midlands, you have an open invitation to a good Lebanese home cooked meal in our village, near Melton Mowbray. In fact, to tempt you even more, our local butcher makes the best Melton Mowbray pork pies!

  34. I am drawn in by this ” Yalla, Bye ” that has fascinated you !

    Though I am Syrian, and probably intruding here, I should like to tell you that said expression is not unique to Lebanon, but is also very common among Syrians, and quite comical at that.

    Why am I bothering to tell you this ? Well, just to point out that Western officials are more prone to note what they see as local peculiarities, than the wholeness of the body that Sykes-Picot mutilated, and even dismembered.

    Just in case, I am no SSNP, and am happy to be considered an Anglophile !

    1. Thanks Vasken. This refers to our programme to provide the textbooks for all kids in state schools in Lebanon, in its second year now. One of our ways of showing that we recognise the impact of the Syria crisis on Lebanese families.

  35. Thank you for those amazing, genuine words, very humbling and heartwarming!
    I for one would be honored to have you represent me & my country as our ambassador of goodwill & eternal hope for a better tomorrow.
    Bless you & good luck to you in your future quests and endeavors

  36. Dear Ambassador,

    As a British-Lebanese citizen currently living in the UK I am always very happy to read your messags and blogs and also honoured to have a British ambassador like you embracing my first home country Lebanon so wholeheartedly. You brought us a fresh lens on the true Lebanon that should be.

    The next country to host you as a UK ambassador will be very lucky to have you.
    Mwaffa2 w Allah ma3ak

    Hoda Salman

  37. Thank you for your genuine care for lebanon and serving brilliantly HM’s government and supporting many of the Lebanese dreams . I am sure that you will continue to add value to us when back in london via lobbing to impact positive change in lebanon in one way or another . Best wishes for a prosperous carreer

  38. Dear Mr.Ambassador,

    Am speechless no more words to add., you are fantastic.God bless you and the only word I say to you is : Thank you! <3

  39. Our hearts grow bigger with people like you in our country. you maybe still young but your an idol for any person who is willing to work for his country the way you do. I met you ounce, in jounieh area table fine. I actually met your kids i guess or young kids who were playing on the shore and then left with you. With your humbelness and smiles to everyone I actually never thought of you as an embassador. But you surely and without any doubt is a real embassador and an idol for all youth and educated people. Thats how any diplomat, politician, military…everyone should be. Thank you for loving our country. With you, we hope for a better future. Yalla bye:)

  40. Thank you M ambassador for such an inspiring letter to a people who struggle for coexistence. Thank you for showing us that even though we complain about our lebanon we will not give up on making it a better place. And thank your for taking the time to actually understand how complicated but loving we are. #tomfletcher trouh w tirja3 bil salamé!

  41. Dear Tom (if I may),
    It has been an honour to follow you on Twitter and discover, not only the diplomatic/political approach and how graciously you represented my adoptive county – yours- but most importantly how you have done that with humility, humanity and LOVE!
    I have been living in the UK for 6.5 years, got married and my son was born here. Since the first second I landed, my heart has been beating to the rythm of Lebanon’s, scarfed when my Lebanon was hurt and equally prideful watching my resilient people fighting for a new Lebanon…
    The constant during most of these years has been your dedication and masterful diplomacy that has redefined what politics is and should be about.
    I would like to think that, although I have become a proud Brit, I am and will always remain a PROUD RESILIENT LEBANESE to the core making his contribution while being a humble “ambassador to the UK”, through his Charity work back in Lebanon and by raising awareness around Lebanese that made/are making an IMPACT across the world through my never ending Facebook/Twitter “famous” (amongst my friends) serie of “Another Reason to be a proud Lebanese…”!
    Good luck in your future endeavours and as a token of my/our gratitude, and exceptionally in this case, I would like to dedicate my (once again) humble serie next post to you… Another Reason to be a proud Lebanese… Tom Fletcher you reminded me and all my other compatriots how PROUD, against all odds, we should be for BEING LEBANESE!!!
    Thank you w Yalla Bye!
    From the Heart!
    Basile

  42. Dear Mr. Fletcher,

    Lebanon has been very lucky to have an ambassdaor of your enthusiam and compassion. Your love of our country is flattering. You seem hopeful when many of us start to have second thoughts about hope, and you understand our situation more than most lebanese do – or care to do.

    Please allow me to share with you 3 thoughts that may cast light on the root causes of our never ending turmoils.

    1. A country is never negotiated into being, it is forged with – I hate to say, but refer you to Mr. Bismark.
    2. History repeats itself. We are living Europe of the middle ages. Our clock is some 500 years behind yours.
    3. Democracy is not that each has his say or vote, it is that the other accepts it.

    I have always admired your work and words, but tend to disagree with you on your last statement: Yalla, Bye? No, Yalla See you…

  43. Dear Tom,

    As a lebanese citizen studying abroad, I cannot tell you how much your words mean to me.. I am constantly frustrated by my country’s oligarchical system, and by the fact that the same warlords who ran this country to the ground during the civil war still run it today. Thank you for your positive attitude and for not giving up on Lebanon when many of us, the Lebanese, already have. Lebanon has given you Cedar sunsets and Bekaa sunrises. But you’ve given us hope, and are a role model for other ambassadors.

    And yes, we all have a responsibility to protect in Syria. I hope that both the UK and Lebanon can accept that responsibility together.

    In your own words, “Let’s not give up on the idea that the Middle East can find security, justice and opportunity.”And maybe one day, Lebanon will achieve the security, justice, and democracy (a real one) it deserves.

    But until then, and even after, you’ll always be an ambassador for Lebanon in our hearts and minds

    Shukran Habibi!

    Your friend,
    Rani

    1. Hello Tom. Hi, Kifak? Ça va ?
      In an authentic Lebanese language, I will not write to you: Yalla Bye but necessarily: Au Revoir 🙂 or See You :).
      Your positive energy is contagious. You have succeeded during these last 4 years spent in Lebanon to spread around you positivism, boosting energy in lots of areas.
      I will not repeat the content of messages I read on your blog commenting your letter of farewell, but I would really to remind you of Alec Ross’s words, Ex adviser to Hilary Clinton, during one of the conferences organized by MCF:
      I predict you to become in 12 years the British Foreign Minister.
      I join him in his prediction. I hope it will soon come true. Then, you will definatly be the best Ambassador of Lebanon, the country you dearly carry in your heart.
      Meanwhile, I hope you will take full advantage of your 2 sabbatical years, knowing that you are still very young and full of vitality.
      I’m sure your students at NYU will have much to learn from the experience you have accumulated during your career as a diplomat.
      I know you’re not allowed to return to Lebanon before 6 months. They will be too long, but we are looking forward to see you again in the Land of the Cedars.

      Goodbye dear Ambassador. We already miss you.
      May

  44. As a Lebanese , I want to personally thank you and your nation for your tremendous help in all aspects of solving lebanon’s problems especially securing the Arsal sector . Looking back , unlike many westerners including journalists, have understood the complexities of our tiny nation.You did brilliantly ; second to none under the circumstances. We are all saddened you are leaving us and wish you best of luck with the rest of your career.
    P.S Don’t worry about us too much , the best is yet to come. And one more thing , if you some spare cash , invest it in a property in Lebanon , something of Biblical proportions is going to take place. 🙂

  45. Your Excellency,

    Like you I have had to say farewell to my beloved Lebanon, but it was a pleasure to have met you there, and to be inspired by your words, actions, ethic and genuine love and concern for ALL the people who found themselves in this wonderful, maddening country.

    May God grant you the wisdom and strength to continue in the same way, wherever you find yourself next, and know there are many who have appreciated your work and efforts over the years.

    Respect to you sir!
    Lindy

  46. Very true and sad at the same time. All I can say is thank you for your candidness. There is always hope for this country, but first the people of this small country has to go back to the basic which is GOODNESS…..

  47. Your Excellency,

    You summarised the essence of the lebanese elite culture, can you now please, lobby for the queen to send us some surface to air missiles and prevent our oil rich neighbours and the so called “God chosen ones” to leave us be or at least stop trying to “halalise” or “Wahabise”our present.
    All the above is nice but actions and pragmatism speak more than words.

    AHLA WOU Sahla anytime et à bientot.

    Ray Chidiac

  48. Dear Tom,

    An excellent and lovely piece of writing – you definitely have a future book or three lurking within.

    I met you too briefly when you first arrived, and share your passion, frustration and love for our adopted country. Wish I had been there more often in the last four years and seen some of those Bekaa sunrises and Cedars sunsets with you.

    I am glad you were happy there and also that you understood the place and were loved by so many Lebanese – the essence of good ambassadorship.

    All the very best for your next posting.

    Max Milligan

    1. Thanks Max, your incredible Lebanon photos have been up at the house most of my time here, and loved by everyone who has visited. See you by a sunset soon. Tom

  49. A breeze of fresh unpolluted air passed by Lebanon for 4 years….unfortunately as you well said we cannot extend that fresh air for more time….we are the losers….thank you for passing by and hope for future same clean air….

    Yalla the best for you & for us!

  50. Dear your excellency,

    Lebanon loves you. Sorry about a goodbye loaded with garbage and politicians still
    fighting like old children on the school play ground.
    May your message be a wake up call for all of us: those who just want to survive and the others who are fighting over a country but not for it.
    Tolerence is the tool that the most resilient of people need to learn yet.
    Thank you for taking this journey with us.
    Good luck wa il lika2!

  51. Dear Mr. Fletcher
    Your words are much needed ! As a U.S citizen of Lebanese origin, I want to thank you for your energetic, optimistic and funny words on behalf of Lebanon, a country often misunderstood by the west!
    You are truly an honorary Lebanese! Yala, Godspeed

  52. Mr. Fletcher,

    hank you for the above letter that was written with the heart and not by the hand. a lot of us wish that we had a chance to meet you in person but then you wouldn’t have had time to do your job.
    job well done, you will always stay in our memory as someone that believed in Lebanon more than many of us did. We wish you a safe journey for your new post, although you said you will remain an Ambassador to Lebanon and this will make us very proud and give us a boost, as we almost stopped believing in our own country.
    All the best and allah yehmik.

  53. Tom esquire.
    If we have Lebanese rulers love Lebanon like you do, my country will be in excellent shape with happy citizens. Thank you & respect.

  54. Mr ambassador
    lovely and deep words
    we should “elect you” to be our ruler,u love lebanon and it’s citizens more than our “elected” politicians
    thank you for ur faith and love

  55. Hey Tony: Interesting reading. To be hoest, I followed you intermittently, as it was noticeable, that you were quite different from most of your predecssors (British Ambassadors to Lebanon….yawn). It surprised me how your letter evovled. We know was written exclusivly to a Lebanese adience (us suckers!!). Not sure what your bosses at the Foreign Office will think of it. Net, net, you are telling us that Lebanon is hopeless. However, you are saying, it is like the rolling of the dice, and we will / may have periods of prosperity. I expected much more insight from you on how to deal with our politicians (what you offered, every man on the street knows and says – actually, I was surprised you took a dig at them!) and a glimpse of an action plan for a better Lebanon, rather than just raise the banner of 2020 and doubling the British trade to Lebanon (big deal). But reality, no one has that action plan beacuse we all know that we are govenered by the laws of entropy. What I am sure of is that Lebanon has left an impact on you that is quite profound, (more than your impact on Lebanon) and I leave you to ponder whether this will be a hinderance in progressing your career / life as a diplomat in the rest of the functioning world!

    Good luck on your new role, and if you have a say in the appointment of your successor ( I am sure you don’t), it will be nice to expeirence a British rose.

    Thank you

    1. – Corrected –

      Hey Tom: Interesting reading. To be honest, I followed you intermittently, as it was noticeable, that you were quite different from most of your predecssors (British Ambassadors to Lebanon….yawn). It surprised me how your letter evovled. We know it was written exclusivly to a Lebanese audience (us suckers!!). Not sure what your bosses at the Foreign Office will think of it though. Net, net, you are telling us that Lebanon is hopeless. However, you are saying, it is like the rolling of the dice, and we will / may have periods of prosperity. I expected much more insight from you on how to deal with our politicians (what you offered, every man on the street knows and says – actually, I was surprised you took a dig at them – that was lame!) and a glimpse of an action plan for a better Lebanon, rather than just raise the banner of 2020 and doubling the British trade to Lebanon (big deal). But reality, no one has that action plan beacuse we all know that we are govenered by the laws of entropy. What I am sure of is that Lebanon has left an impact on you that is quite profound, (more than your impact on Lebanon) and I leave you to ponder whether this will be a hinderance in progressing your career / life as a diplomat in the rest of the functioning world!

      Good luck on your new role, and if you have a say in the appointment of your successor ( I am sure you don’t), it will be nice to expeirence a British rose.

      Thank you

  56. H.E Mr Tom Fletcher,

    After reading your blog the morning of the Lebanese Army 70 years anniversary , I became speechless. You made my Day on the morning of my 46th anniversary. Your words are a boost for the Army but also for each individual living in this country whether he is Christian , Muslim , or Druze. I wish your Politicial system would have allowed an extension of your Mission in Lebanon but it isn’t even an option since it goes against the basis of any modern Democracy (these things could happen only in Lebanon !!) . You believe in Our Country more than we do . We lost hope at least for our generation who witnessed several wars (1975-1992 & 2006-2008). Instead of encouraging our kids to hold on , we are encouraging them to immigrate for a better future we couldn’t have. Too bad !!! We lost the courage and the drive to trigger a change in the country like any other Democracies ( we claim we are one!!) . We are overwhelmed with Trash and we still didn’t bother to shake things on the Streets. The main problem is that we became Careless and Individualist !! That’s the main danger !! Wish you Good Luck in your Political Endeavors . Hope we will keep hearing from you in th near future.

    1. Happy Birthday Rony.

      I hosted many of the senior Army officers this week, to say thank you and to mark Army Day. The country is rightly proud of the LAF, and they deserve the international and domestic support to match their courage.

  57. Definitely not too young for the job! A good round up, an innovative approach to diplomacy, thanks are due.

  58. I had the honor to receive you Mr.Ambassador at my office at UNHCR when you came in a delegation visit to meet the Syrians.I hope Lebanon 2020 will leave you the same impression you left me when you had a chat with a Syrian family: extreme kindness, motivation to help, readiness to implement and most of all considering yourself as one of our partners.I hope the Lebanese in 2020 will reach this level of partnership rather than opposition.

  59. Your excellency,
    Thank you.
    Your description full of truth and humour brought tears to my eyes. This is a text I will print, and keep, and share every time I want people to understand why my love to Lebanon is also shared.
    Good luck on the rest of your journeys, May God bless you always.

  60. dear ambassador,
    We haven’t met but I was following all your speeches and admired your attachment to Lebanon… You have been a great a great Ambassador and a great help to Lebanon ! We will always remember you !!! God bless you … Ce n’est qu’un au revoir as the French say .

  61. All my respects..No need to take our permission to be our ambassador..It will be an honor for us…Regarding your dreams and ours about the future in our country, unfortunately our politicians have another ones…I hope that some of them will read and understand your ideas even if I am sure that they won’t…Anyway Good Luck and we will still remember you as a great friend as much as a perfect Britain and “Lebanese” ambassador..

  62. To my fellow Lebanese fawning over this letter,
    Nice letter with many valid points but I wonder how many assassinations were carried out by or with the help of the UK in Lebanon as the US’s junior stooge? How many intelligence reports were sent or shared with Israel? How many deceptions (of which this letter is one), how much encouragement, support and patronage to our corrupt politicians? The history of the UK should teach us not to let our guard down by the clever and partial truths of the words of one of their politicians. Their devilish ‘work’ in Iraq (bombs in places of worship and getting their perpetrator UK agents out from prison by the force of arms) to create the sectarian strife there should give us pause. As someone said ‘those who will not learn from history are doomed to repeat it’. A sample of history with this link:

    https://www.facebook.com/nffares/posts/1108267015853632

    All people are the same but some systems are anti-humanity. The UK system now is part of something truly monstrous. Listen and learn from this letter but do not let your guard down towards an agent of this system.

      1. Nabil is confused between judging Tom as a person and Judging the UK’s foreign policy.

        We are here witnessing an outstanding personality and a unique Ambassador.

        1. I second you Fadi Saad…God bless you. Our apologies to you Mr. Ambassador for feeling necessary to answer our friend Nabil. The forgiveness you show in your response stems from your understanding of our Lebanese spirit ! It is no harm…You’ve proven yourself so divinely !

      2. Mr Fletcher,
        I should know better than to joust with a trained diplomat (my training is in the sciences). However, your remarks are ironic when aimed at someone who ‘imagines’ in the sense of your compatriot J Lennon (no Satan:))
        I don’t really know what your world view is really but there are many filters to being placed in your position and hence my inference of what you serve should be quite reliable. One of the main problems in Lebanon is the cult of personality and the utter obsequiousness towards figures of authority, especially foreign ones. You forgot to include advice against such tendencies and to include an advice for people to look at evidence, especially historic, rather than status by association or to be lulled by simple charm.
        Again, all people are my family but some systems are quite destructive. You serve the dominant destructive one. Perhaps, you really do have a ‘Lennon’ tendency and , in that case, I advise you to reject TINA and seek to promote the alternatives.

        1. Thanks Nabil. Please see some of my other blogs, where I encourage Lebanese to stop listening to outsiders, including me, and take ownership.

          1. Nabil…while your writing is exquisite I believe that you are too much of a prototype that tries to give reason to illogical statements. You are a good writer but a pathetic analyst. You are one of those that see the glass half empty and not half full. Change or you will live in darkness…again we are giving tribute to the person and not debating the UK’s foreign policy. I rest my case. Fadi

        2. Dr. Fares, Right on their first web page there is this paragraph which you should read: “Our Embassy represents British interests in Lebanon. We are passionate about our work in this extraordinary country, and determined to do all we can to promote UK interests in Lebanon.” So you are not telling us something we don’t know.

          However, we are “fawning over this letter” because Fletcher is speaking to the very issues, the day-to-day issues affecting me and you and the rest of the Lebanese living in this corrupt society. I don’t see the British embassy standing in the way when (or rather, if) we decide to elect a president. Tom Fletcher is not instructed by his “system” to stop us from fixing our electricity. (Notice, they didn’t send their assassins to stop Zahle’s mayor from working to provide his town 24-hour-per-day power.) I don’t believe the British secret documents are encouraging our selfish leaders to put their own tribe’s interests ahead of their country’s, or asking them to drag their feet on the issues of the waste, oil/natural gas, Internet, etc. The UK embassy personnel are not giving out flyers telling the people of Lebanon to drive like maniacs, thus endangering the lives of many, or to throw out trash from their Mercedes’s and BMWs, thus keeping our street filthy. I don’t believe the Queen of England has authorized Nabih Berri or Ashraf Rifi to hijack some of the nicest streets in Beirut and Tripoli for their own comfort and security, thus making the lives of many motorists pure hell.

          Playing the victim and blaming others for our woes is a toxic waste of time. It is incumbent on us, no one else, to make the Lebanon that we want. Each one starting with themselves.

      1. David, did you see what Mr. Nabil said about “the obsequiousness of some lebanese towards figures of authority, especially foreign ones”, well I’m afraid that you fall into this category of people, and that’s just another caracteristic of you besdies being ignorant.
        Now regarding Dr. Nabil getting a job, I don’t know if teaching engineering courses in one of the best universities in lebanon is considered a job, and by the way he has his PHD from MIT.
        Dear Dr. Nabil, truer words have never been said, well done.

        1. Elie, education is far different from culture. Having a PHD from MIT does not give Nabil or Dr. Nabil vision and sight..unfortunately he missed the boat. As David said “get a life” and I add, a life that neither science nor engineering, not even a PHD from MIT, can give…such a life comes from an analytical view with a positive and constructive approach to the subject. Never mind why worry about Dr. Nabil when most of our politicians are educated, with many having a PHD, but are far from being role models…

        2. Elie,
          Just so you know, obsequiousness is a behavior characteristic of all people from all nationalities, not just Lebanese. When I worked in Beverly Hills, California, we used to see a great majority of the most famous Hollywood celebrities at our medical building. Almost everyone who worked there, including some of the best known physicians, exhibited the same behavior you’re begrudging the responders in this forum.
          As to the so-called satanic British behavior in our country, I think Samir Hafza (below) has addressed it beautifully. It boils down to our personal responsibility (or lack of) toward our country and our everlasting proclivity to blame everyone else but us for our failings.

    1. Mr. Fares,

      Right on their first web page there is this paragraph which you should read: “Our Embassy represents British interests in Lebanon. We are passionate about our work in this extraordinary country, and determined to do all we can to promote UK interests in Lebanon.” That’s “British interests!” So you are not telling us something we don’t know.

      However, we are “fawning over this letter” because Fletcher is speaking to the very issues, the day-to-day issues affecting me and you and the rest of the Lebanese living in this corrupt society. I don’t see the British embassy standing in the way when (or rather, if) we decide to elect a president. Tom Fletcher is not instructed by his “system” to stop us from fixing our electricity. (Notice, they didn’t send their assassins to stop Zahle’s mayor from working to provide his town 24-hour-per-day power.) I don’t believe the British secret documents are encouraging our selfish leaders to put their own tribe’s interests ahead of their country’s, or asking them to drag their feet on the issues of waste, oil/natural gas, Internet, etc. The UK embassy personnel are not giving out flyers telling the people of Lebanon to drive like maniacs, thus endangering the lives of many, or to throw out trash from their Mercedes’s and BMWs, thus keeping our street filthy. I don’t believe the Queen of England has authorized Nabih Berri or Ashraf Rifi to hijack some of the nicest streets in Beirut and Tripoli for their own comfort and security, thus making the lives of many motorists pure hell.

      Playing the victim and blaming others for our woes is a toxic waste of time. It is incumbent on us, no one else, to make the Lebanon that WE want. Each one starting with themselves.

    2. Dr. Fares,

      Right on their first web page there is this paragraph which you should read: “Our Embassy represents British interests in Lebanon. We are passionate about our work in this extraordinary country, and determined to do all we can to promote UK interests in Lebanon.” That’s “British interests,” in case you didn’t notice. So you are not telling us something we don’t know.

      However, we are “fawning over this letter” because Fletcher is speaking to the very issues, the day-to-day issues affecting me and you and the rest of the Lebanese living in this corrupt society. I don’t see the British embassy standing in the way when (or rather, if) we decide to elect a president. Tom Fletcher is not instructed by his “system” to stop us from fixing our electricity. (Notice, they didn’t send their assassins to stop Zahle’s mayor from working to provide his town 24-hour-per-day power.) The British secret documents do not encourage our selfish leaders to put their own tribe’s interests ahead of their country’s, or ask them to drag their feet on the issues of waste, oil/natural gas, Internet, etc. The UK embassy personnel do not give out flyers encouraging the people of Lebanon to drive like maniacs, thus endangering the lives of many, or to throw out trash from their Mercedes’s and BMWs, thus keeping our street filthy. I don’t believe the Queen of England has authorized Nabih Berri or Ashraf Rifi to hijack some of the nicest streets in Beirut and Tripoli for their own comfort and security, thus making the lives of many motorists pure hell.

      Playing the victim and blaming others for our woes is a toxic waste of time. It is incumbent on us, no one else, to make the Lebanon that we want. Each one starting with themselves.

  63. I never forget the inspirational speech you gave at my kid’s graduation at the Lebanese Evengelical School in Louiaze. Few Lebanese appreciate this country like you do , and for that I bow my head in respect for you. I wish you the best in your life and promise you to do my best to change this society one soul at a time. As you might know by now, we are optimistic people nature. We have no other choice! !!!!! God bless you.

  64. Dear Mr Ambassador, Tom Fletcher… Im Grateful, Honored & Impressed For The Great Person & Ambassador U Are…
    Your Genuine, Heart Warming, Hard Work Is Precious… It Is A Reflection Of your Super Great Quality Of Human By Nature & Personality…
    Your Creative & Dedicated Plans To Help Lebanon & The Lebanese (The Walk… The Medical Assistances Among Thousand Other Things You Did) Are Examples To Follow For History, Political Science Majors And All Sincere Politicians.
    Me & Many Many Lebanese, Thank You Profoundly, We Love You & Wish You All The Great Successes In Your Future Plans. Knowing For Sure, You Will Leave Your Post But Not Our Hearts & Minds.
    Warm Regards To You & Your Family,
    Rafi Sabounjian

  65. Your excellency, I wish this impressive letter is spoken out in your own style in front of all politicians and I would really like to see if they are touched by that as much as we are. Would it sparkle a wake up call? Or am I a too positive person living on hopes and always optimistic that things will work out one day??
    Best Regards to a an inspiring person who left a beautiful memory with his out of the box activities and great speeches and tweets.

  66. Dear Mr. Ambassador Fletcher,
    All my respects, please don’t leave us we need true man like you.

  67. Tom, thank you for your service, what you did in the last four years is priceless. Yes we love our Lebanon but we choose to be in the bleaches watching the game and participating with gasps, laughs, jeers and boos. But you Mr Ambassador you rolled the sleeves, came down to the arena and did something about it.

    I am grateful for what you did for me, you give me a ray of hope that Lebanon has hope.

  68. Your Excellency,

    We need a President.

    Tom Fletcher, if you ever met him 🙂 , marked Lebanon and the Lebanese. He has been different, standing out of the crowed…a crowed made of our Politi-Liars, and the voiceless Ambassadors of the East and West. Tom Fletcher lived Lebanon and dived into, both, its garbage and its treasures.

    This fair well note is a charade that requires our politi-liars to read it, boil it and drink it. It is the truth blended with love, laughs and tears…tears over our fights over Lebanon and not for Lebanon.

    Tom, before you leave, and since you have lived Lebanon to the fullest, and understood the complexity of our specie (as we believe we are unique and as we say in Lebanese “God created us Lebanese and broke the mold”, I urge you to pay a visit to the Maronite Patriarch to convert you Maronite and give you his blessing to run for presidency…we are so much like tribes, we approve a Maronite President, even if he is not Lebanese. Well in your case, you have proven to be more Lebanese than most of the Lebanese…If your duties do not allow you to run Lebanon…May I Kindly ask you, in your free time, to keep writing to the leaders (or those who believe they are) and the people of Lebanon so they see the realities and wake up from their mis-perceptions, dreams and Lies.

    Thank you your Excellency for all what you were and all what you will, hopefully, keep being.

    All the best in your endeavors.

    Fadi Saad

  69. Mr. Ambassador,
    Although I haven’t met you in Lebanon in the past 4 years, unfortunately, I can’t but express my admiration to what you have done during your stay in Lebanon.
    I followed your tweets and blog posts, and to be honest sometimes it felt like your attachment and pure love to Lebanon was a fake propaganda; only to understand that such a negative thought is nothing but the residue of years of corruption survived in my country, and in reality you are a decent and honorable man, who served a foreign country, my country, much better than its own people.

    Aside of your actions and actual support to Lebanese people and causes, your words of hope and the positive vibes you spread about our country are the reflection of who you truly are, and possibly the most powerful weapon that Lebanese young people should be using against everything dragging us to the bottom.

    It was an honor to have hosted you and we do owe you a lot.

    “..It is time to thrive, not just survive”; and we will keep loving, hoping and we will build the new Lebanon at all costs.

    ~Rabih

  70. Mr. Fletcher,

    your words makes us proud of our country and proud to have friends like you, your words should make our politicians ashamed of themselves – if they have grains of dignity they should commit suicide after reading your note especially when they realize their failures and inability to be true leaders.

    all the best.
    Saeed

  71. Mr. Tom
    Thank you for your continuous support to my country, you been honest, positive & believing that Lebanon can be a successful country despite the wrong image they want us to believe it. God bless you. Edward E. Chaaya.

  72. Your Excellency,
    What you wrote is simply a masterpiece that matches Khalil Gebran’s… I am lost for words… so a simple thank you for now and best of luck for a great new beginning… Tom, I’m so looking forward to see you and your beautiful family again…
    Yalla see you soon!

  73. Your Excellency,
    I hope every politician in Lebanon will read and understand your blog. Obviously, you have been charmed by our Lebanon and the authentic people! Your optimism is impressive and hopefully will be contagious. We, the Lebanese, are capable of “exporting solutions instead of importing problems” if only we can deport all our politicians. We all aspire to have a peaceful, prosperous future!
    Thank you and Her Majesty’s government for all the diplomatic and political support extended to our country. May you always be an “ambassador for Lebanon”.

  74. Dear Tom,

    Thank you for all the work you have put in Lebanon, I first knew you in BDL Accelerate 2014 and you were an inspiration, UK Lebanon Tech Hub gives us hope.

    You left Lebanon with 1 uncomplete task, why didnt you just take all our greedy Lebanese war lord politicians with you, put them on a ship back to the nearest rehab in the UK and keep them there, they are useless, youve done to Lebanon more than they have done.

    See you back in Lebanon. If not as a Diplomat maybe as a key speaker on startup events.

    Wishing you a great journey on your next tasks.

  75. Only saw you few times on TV….and if the role of an ambassador is to be there to explain his country’s political stand without any other role…he surely must be elegant, intelligent,subtle and why not appealing to the people, you were all that with a nice smile…..Sure that you made a lot of friends and that you’ll be missed…

  76. Mr. Ambassador,
    Tom Fletcher,

    Your words are so touching and your persistence to love and show the real Lebanon is amazing…
    You will always be a Lebanese friend of Lebanon with a Diplomatic UK passport 🙂

    We thank you for everything and wish you all the best. We love you all…

    Best regards

  77. Dear ambassador,

    We consider you as one of us, thank you for all your efforts done to lebanon, we really appreciate it. We wish if you could our president..

    We will miss your simplicity and your spontaneously and even your smile!!

    Don’t forget us…

    Wish you all the best!!!

    Yalla see you soon ☺

    Best of luck!!!

    Rima Lahoud Barsamian

  78. Mr. Ambassador,
    Thanks for the clear message “Work for the idea of Lebanon, not over it”.
    I hope everyone gets it including followers of all political parties.
    I wish any politician would ever be that proactive and asks his followers to be for Lebanon not for “him”… hehe
    Good luck in your next mission
    Yalla Bye
    Hiba

  79. Your blog says it all… in no time you had real understanding for Lebanon and the underlying dynamics.

    Just imagine how positive things would be, if all ambassadors follow your lead…

  80. Mr. Ambassador
    your words are utterly touching, your vision about the new Lebanon or #Leb2020 is remarkable, thank you for sharing these words with us, thank you for giving hope and letting everyone knows that our country can be beautiful if we’re united not divided.
    I’m not gonna make it long to read, you have many and more important tasks to do, so here it is… you’ll leave the country physically but your touch will stay for many years to come and our Lebanon will stay in your mind wherever you go, you’ll hold it close to your heart, you loved it (maybe more than most of us did) So…Yalla, Bye?? well, I’m not gonna say that, it’s just a farewell hoping to see you here again….soon

  81. Thank you Mr. Ambassador for this sensitive, emotional, ice bucket open-eyed portrait of our country. Thank you for your involvement and to having taken your time to understand Lebanon and the Lebanese fellows. Men of high and extraordinary caliber are rare. Wishing you all the success in your future endeavors. N

  82. Dear Mr . Ambassador Tom Fletcher.
    Your words have touched our hearts . You have been more than embassador to our country . I’m one of your fans following you on twitter and reading your articles. Your caring, made us feel that our country is still fine having people like you. Knowing that you are leaving is a real disappointment to me and to a huge number of the Lebanese people.
    Wish you all the best!

  83. “And we need you to fight hard. Reading your history in a musty Oxford library over four years ago, I realised that if we cannot win the argument for tolerance and diversity in Lebanon, we will lose it everywhere. That’s why we’ve helped – it is in our national interest too. This is the frontline for a much bigger battle. The real dividing line is not between Christianity and Islam, Sunni and Shia, East and West. It is between people who believe in coexistence, and those who don’t.” Excellency, you summed it up in those lines. Thank you for helping us always and by all means in our strugle for a peaceful constructive brotherly coexistance.

  84. I have had the honour, and the pleasure to have met you , anjad ! It saddens me ,and i know , many more expatriates here in lebanon ,to see you go , you have made me proud to be British , you are one of the finest our institution has produced , and i have seen many, in my 40 years as an expat animal in African\Asian and the Middle East territories , just reading the responses indicates just what kind of contribution you have made , to Lebanese and foreigners alike , and how you are revered, and will be remembered , go well Tom ,go safe , into a new and brilliant political future , you an inspiring person who left a beautiful memory with your out of the box activities , i have witnessed many changes here over my 16 years residence , your posting here was one of the better aspects ,and this, your final amazing speech, has touched us all , you will be missed i hope to see you again ” Yallah” into a bright new future ,
    Your excellency “Maasalama wa yaatek el aafie ” Bob Dooley

  85. Dear Mr . Ambassador Tom Fletcher.
    Your words have touched our hearts and souls.You have been more than embassador to our country . I’m one of your fans following you on twitter and reading your articles. Your caring, made us feel that our country is still fine having people like you. Knowing that you are leaving is a real disappointment to me and to a huge number of the Lebanese people.
    Wish you all the best!

  86. Respect!
    I really think you should consider running for presidency in Lebanon,
    Maybe this would change our minds about leaving this crazy country…

  87. Dear excellency
    You are really really a good friend of Lebanon and the lebanese people.
    You give us hope and espoir. Your words touched me deeply. I hope that our politicians feel these sentements for our country.
    Your words reflect a great love for our country.
    Thank you and be sure that you will have all the time many good friends in Lebanon.
    I am from bekaa and your words about the sunrise in this beautiful gives me hope
    Warm regards

  88. Dear Mr. Ambassador,
    Unfortunately, We didnt have the chance to meet in Beirut during your stay. You met my husband on one encounter though.
    We were supposed to have you over for dinner at one point, however, my husband who is a political journalist had to leave the country abruptly due to security reasons.
    Lebanon is the country of Controversy in all its versions and all levels. Many times I think we are all schizophrenic to be able to live there. To accept the unacceptable on the citizenship and political levels. To bare injustice and privileged rights in all its aspects. To allow chaos and bipartisanship to rule our life endlessly. And to party till dawn every night just like tourists do in Ibiza!
    I don’t know if we should fight for our country anymore; for our kids to be able to live there in dignity.
    We always blame others for our misery while it is not true. We are neither stupid nor helpless. We are just selfish and opportunistic. We were not raised to have a community sense of living or belonging, but Sectarianism is our source of power.
    I think that we are too corrupt in our heads that we need a miracle!
    Best wishes from Dubai!

  89. Dear Mr. John
    Reading you letter was fascinating, it even caused me goosebumps. I would like to thank you for your honesty and clarity in addressing the real situation without trying to round corners (wish if all ambassadors had the courage to follow your lead).
    Reading your letter also makes me understand that Lebanon did have a certain impact on you and I truly believe that you’re attracted to that very small but magical country. We are all attracted to it too and hope that the political situation changes to the better one day so we can really serve our country better (unfortunately that hope is fading).
    I thank you for your honesty, love to the country and for the support of you and your government.
    I wouldn’t end my comment with yala…bye (though I
    Ike it), I’d rather end it with Menchoufak karibaan
    Regards
    Wael K

  90. Dear Mr. Tom,

    Im really disappointed with you. I read your letter with grief and annoyment. I am not fully impressed by the achievments you proudly highlighted knowing that you were not obliged to do all that for our Lebanon. You did soo much in soo little time and yes that is a shining star in your personal resume. I congratulate you for that.

    Dont be shocked from my comment, but i was hoping in your letter you were going to say that you planned to enroll the so called politicians of this country in your school of ethics, accountability, loyalty, fairness, patriotism, proffessionalism, integrity, responsibility and all the proper qualities of a true politician should have such as a humble person like you.

    I am proud to call you a TRUE Lebanese politician, ambassador and citizen. Now that you are about to leave us, my worries for this piece of land remain but with a topping of some delicious garbage smell proudly صنع في لبنان.

    Mr. Tom, friend brother and son of Lebanon, this is not a letter of just words but more of disappointment, grief and shame. Shame that you have to leave us instead of the so called fake and greedy politicians.

    Im running out of words, but before i do please allow me to wish you the best of the best wherever you go and on your way home i pray that the airport, sea port and any other means of transport outside this country will be out of business the day you plan to leave us 🙂

    So long and godspeed Lebanese brother.

    1. It’s OK. As they say, all good things must come to an end–except for our perpetual politicians.

  91. Your excellency

    I had the chance to be in London two weeks ago for my son’s MBA graduation.
    I fell in love with your capital city, but mainly I was moved by the history and art treasures in the Westminster Abbey, standing amidst its glory galores, and strangely enough, I Was swamped by all the thoughts and reflections you wrote to Lebanon and to us the Lebanese…
    All I can say is:
    Your letter is a witness to your success in your demanding career, communication skills, and progressive mind, but mostly it is a witness to your human qualities as an evolved soul for the new age of Oneness.
    We are happy you left your marks in the Lebanese daily life, but I am happier to realize where ever your assignments take you, you will make a difference and impact the human daily life with more of the love it craves!
    Showered shall you remain with Peace , Love, and harmony.

  92. Dear Mr. Ambassador Tom Fletcher,
    You have been more than just a remarkable diplomatic attaché to Lebanon, but also a friend to our country, a mentor to our free-thinking youth, a captivating blogger, and one of the catalysts of the “digital/social media wave” in the region.
    You respected our history, understood the complexity of our present-day challenges, and kept encouraging us to build a better future for ourselves and by ourselves.
    You always seem to believe in us, and to inspire us to continue believing in ourselves and in the potential of our great country.
    Thank you for everything. Wishing you all the very best and hoping you always keep a dear place for Lebanon in your heart and in your mind.
    So yalla, take care!

  93. Excellency,
    I love Lebanon the way you do. Will my kids be able to live in it? I hope so. I am contributing in my limited means for that goal.
    if they decide to stay to live in this country, we would have succeeded.
    God bless,
    Gilles aka abou ziad

  94. Your Excellency

    Maybe we did not have many personal encounters, but your friendliness to our Makassed on the occasions that our staff and students participated in Embassy and British Council activities (BIG DANCE masalan) they all came back with big smiles for the “chumminess” of HAM, the Ambassador showed them !!!
    You have left with Lebanon, obviously, an image of a wonderful friend.. I know that your smile has always lighted the room wherever you were

    Bless you and Good Luck

    Amine M Daouk

  95. (a small correction of HAM to HMA.. sorry)

    Your Excellency

    Maybe we did not have many personal encounters, but your friendliness to our Makassed on the occasions that our staff and students participated in Embassy and British Council activities (BIG DANCE masalan) they all came back with big smiles for the “chumminess” of HMA, the Ambassador showed them !!!
    You have left with Lebanon, obviously, an image of a wonderful friend.. I know that your smile has always lighted the room wherever you were

    Bless you and Good Luck

    Amine M Daouk

  96. Dear Mr Fletcher,
    Your words made me follow you on twitter 🙂 thank you for such a sincere call to action for the lebanese patriots.
    Yalla for a new lebanon!

  97. Hi Tom

    Now that you are free and all. We are hiring in Baabda , shit job but great office . What do you say ?

      1. NO experience needed, just a membership in the ruling elites.
        Sorry to inform you that your application is denied because you’re not “corrupt”.
        Mr ambassador, you are truly a great being and a leader and the world will align with your vision.
        All the best.

  98. Your excellency,
    I was very touched with your letter. It is obvious that you loved Lebanon and we did love you too.
    Hope one day Lebanon would become a better place. Thank you for your efforts and thank you for beleiving in Lebanon.
    Good luck with your futur assignments. God bless you and keep you safe.
    Helen Accad Karam.

  99. Dear compatriot,

    Thank you for loving our country , understanding our past, respecting our differences and believing in our future. I always thought that Lebanon should be led by a foreigner who would run the country like a corporation. Why? Because he will be accountable for his results at the end of his tenure. Each decision, change , law … will be implemented objectively without religious considerations and with success as a target. I cannot think of a better person to do the job . We are touched because of your love for Lebanon and hope you will remain our ambassador and spokesman. God bless you .

  100. Dear Mr Fletcher,

    Extremely touched by your words. They have a soothing and encouraging effect, comforting us in our choice of staying here, in spite of everything …
    Best of luck … Yalla, bye

  101. That made me cry. Not sure we still have the energy. Never seem to decide if I can face going back there.
    Thank you for being so hopeful and pulling our spirits up.

  102. Thank you mr embassador you really know about us more than we know about ourselves I would like to visit your country but still don’t know why you refused to give me a visa lately I’m still shocked about the reasons of the refusal I will keep trying because my dream is to visit uk hope I can make it any way wish you good luck always you have been an amazing diplomat
    Yala bye

  103. Dear Mr. The Ambassador

    You are one of the rare ambassadors who loved Lebanon from their heart, and more than many many Lebanese, Thank you for that. Thank you for all the help you gave.
    Thank you for supporting this country who suffered a lot. Suffered because of the bad luck. The bad luck of Lebanon is being in this region of the world and being between such neighbors. Thank God our third neighbor was the sea. God Bless you and God save the Queen.

  104. In my short time in Lebanon I have often found it difficult to explain to folk in UK what Lebanon is all about. Your words are nothing short of superb and hit the nail on the head precisely. I hope to continue to be able to contribute in some way to develop the foundations you have put in place, especially at Tech Hub (perhaps should be called the ‘Fletcher Institute’?) and in the educational programs such as Chevening.
    I am sure that wherever you go you will inject your unique brand of goodness! The world needs more Fletchers. Good Luck to you and the family.

  105. Dear Tom,
    We are lucky to have you as our ambassador, our privilege, I am a student of a British oriented school BHS ( Brummana high school), as a child in the 1980’s I was amazed by the books and methods of education used in BHS, when lebanon had civil wars and no creativity for children to dream on, BHS delivered an exit to our problems. Your colored science books, literature, grammar…etc all contributed to give us the opportunity to experience what was impossible for children back these days, a foreign education, I was so amazed by the quality and contents of these books that I used to look at them continually with amazement, I became a different person, a happy open minded person looking forward to grow up and one day will join the society that helped me in my childhood. Times changed and my dream was shattered by the problems the Middle East had scheduled for us. We felt left alone left behind, less open minded people and more close minded ones started showing up, we were a country sinking and sinking fast.
    I would like to thank You Mr Tom Fletcher for playing the greatest role ever! A young British ambassador full of life,gave me my dreams back, lebanon was not left alone. You danced with us, played football with us, you showed our close minded governors how to be down to earth, how to join their people with events ( useful events), always smiling and giving positive vibes to our people.
    I am 34 years old now, maybe my dreams are delayed but at least I know there are other children in lebanon dreaming, dreaming of growing up and working abroad, dreaming of having foreign friends, dreaming of a country that a foreigner calls it home.

    We thank you Mr Tom Fletcher for the great role you were responsible for and we hope Britain will always be the torch lighting our way to success.

  106. Dear ambassador fletcher thanks for all you have done for my anchestors country.lebanon great britain and the whole world need human beings and leaders like you . all the best for you and your family.luis de la fuente abdala from Uruguay

  107. Dear Tom,

    Thank you for all your services in Lebanon and for your love of our beloved country and people. Your departure is a big loss and although I did not have the honour to meet you in person, I am sure you will be missed by those who knew you personally.

    You possess a beautiful and adventurous humble spirit and you embraced our culture, our quirks, the good and the bad… You are truly an embassador and I wish there were more Lebanese who could be minutely as human as you are.

    Bless your path, wherever it may lead you sir, you will be missed…

  108. Dear Tom
    Your are an inspiration to us all!
    Yalla bye but hope to see you in your second homeland once again…you will always have your Lebanon in your heart as I have my Lebanon . Wishing you and your beautiful family all the best and whatever you do I know that you will give it your best shot. Yours Sabina

  109. Dear Tom,
    No one described us better than you did ! Country of all odds we’ll remain certainly.
    Hope your positive approach and precious advices will have some applications here.
    Didn’t have the chance to meet you before but wish to welcome you again as a privileged guest.
    Good luck for your next tasks.
    We’ll miss you.
    Au revoir.

  110. Dear Friend Ambassador
    We are lucky to have someone like you serving at the UK embassy,in Beirut.You understood this country ,its dilemma, like no one else.Your letter is printed in our heart.

  111. Thank you for your honesty, and for calling out the numerous illogical things that keep holding Lebanon back, despite the many rays of hope that shine and fade.

    Your logical analysis is a blueprint for collective progress, something Lebanon tries to avoid, in favor of leaving things as they are. Sadly, for the fear of rocking the boat, we don’t realize that the waves are sinking it.

    “I’m finishing my time as an Ambassador to Lebanon, but with your permission I’ll always be an ambassador for Lebanon.” – A very noble pledge, indeed.

  112. Dear Tom,
    “Many of you ask me why I remain positive about this country. All I ever tried to do was hold a mirror up and show you how beautiful you really are. Shine on, you crazy diamond.”
    I wish The Lebanese saw themselves through your eyes and your positive attitude and then maybe we might still have hope for our future generations!
    I read your first blog when you arrived 4 years ago. You came in with a big bang and sadly, though you are leaving now, but its definitely with a bigger one!!!
    We couldn’t be any prouder than having you as the Ambassador of Lebanon to the world.
    Wishing you the best of luck in your future endeavors, knowing deep down that whichever country you will be posted to, you will leave an impact on it but more so the people of that country!

    so…Yalla, à bientôt
    Maha

  113. Mr Ambassaor,

    Thank you for your faith in the Lebanese people & the future of Lebanon..
    You shall be greatly missed .
    All the best of luck in ur next assignment

    Larissa

  114. Tom Fletcher a true legend,
    You embraced us with your kindness and generosity, we are forever grateful.
    Best wishes from the SOS children’s villages.

  115. Sincere testimony that is a model of what you called impact of “digital diplomacy” on Power… etc.
    Lebs know the importance of British diplomacy around the world. We hope that it will not take sides with some groups in Lebanon like it did for so long.
    Thank you for your wonderful tenure as ambassador.
    You actually softened our suspicions of your Government that perfected the play on multiple cords while speaking of others…
    We actually need more action, like the amazing Queen Victoria who, long time ago ordered to protect the cedars…
    Good luck
    grh

  116. Dear Tom

    All I can say is thank you. Thank you for the clear passion you had towards my infuriating country. Thank you for the British wit you brought into the Lebanese political arena. Thank you for the many interesting issues that you’ve raised and for challenging our beliefs in a clear and logical way and always with a bit of humour. Before you, I had never really known the name of a British ambassador. You have engaged us in a way no one else has. I am glad Lebanon has left a mark on you because you have also left a mark on us. It is a country that is very difficult to forget and I do sincerely hope you continue to have our back wherever you go.
    As a British citizen myself, I would like to say this, it’s people like you that make me proud to be British.

    All the very best to you wherever you go and whatever you do

    Salim

  117. Dear Mr. Fletcher,

    Thank you for your inspirational words. You exemplify what an Ambassador is: you have brought the Lebanese and British people closer together through your work in Lebanon. You have also raised our morale by showing us that there are still some in the West who care about Lebanon, although in many ways we are just a side-show to the events taking place in the Middle East.

    I wish you luck in your future endeavours; and I will personally be very happy to see these words one day: Tom Fletcher MP.

    Best,
    D

  118. Your Excellency,
    Your trust in our country is invigorating.
    You made me shed a tear while having my lunch in a food court in the UAE. Can’t wait to go back to my homeland.
    Wish you all the luck there is.
    Stay in touch- We need Lebanon believers like you!

  119. Dearest friend of Lebanon,

    You are leaving behind you lot of friends, few you personally known and a lot you have never met, I am part of the second category, we never felt so close to a foreign ambassador since the exceptional Armand De Blanquet du Chaila previous French ambassador, we will surely miss your love to Lebanon expressed in speeches and articles in local newspapers, I do not know if I should call you Sir or friend, good luck wherever you go, we feel so proud having you as our ambassador.

  120. Tom (after reading your article, with tears in my eyes, I permit myself calling you in your first name and not Excellency),

    I wish I had known you… Thank you for all what you have done and the inspiration you have given to many…

    I appreciate you asking us the permission to be the ambassador for LEBANON. Please do…

    You will be missed by many! Good luck!

  121. Mr. Embassador am speechless a huge thank you for all the support you mentioned, all your efforts, all your initiatives and for everything you thought can help my wounded country… You are a real clear embassador for Lebanon more than most of our politician you avoided mentioning in your good bye … Mr. Ambassador stay and good luck in your next challenge

  122. Excellency ,
    I am natal Lebanese living in Germany since 55 years and still attached on my so
    Tortured country ,was always following your authentic and sincerest activity .
    I would like to say thank you . Long live for all human spirits like you

  123. Dear Mr. Tom,

    With all due respects to your positive and encouraging words;

    Diplomats and expats are enjoying Lebanon, dealing with the same social class ie. less than 2% of Lebanese population and reflecting what they see or hear from this very marginal minority; reality is something different and less rosy… Once, you leave in Lebanon, as an expat or diplomat, you are either corrupted by your immediate environment and/or blind

    The reality, everything is fake, from politicians to ladies nose ; auhenticity is in poor areas, in Beirut south suburbs, Northern Lebanon, Palestinian camps… What is visible to diplomats and expats are beautiful girls, excellent restaurants, Kafra, Ksara wine, Faraya, mountains views, cuban cigars and beautiful sunsets ; the latest events are confirming the reality of the country; politicians are not able solve the househokd waste issue ; the population is not much better , voting for the same corrupted Mafia in Power.

    Lebanon is a hopeless case country, a failed state and unawre population ; I use to consider Lebanon as a wonderful county ; despite all your positive thoughts, this country is going to disappear…..

  124. brilliant , genuine and touching… And yes thank you ktir for being an extraordinary Ambassador For Lebanon . Cheers

  125. Beautiful things ends fast…
    Thank you for your 4-years-long-positive-attitude HH Embassador, but I think you know the myth of the phoenix bird that always rises up… this myth was originated on the beaches of Tyr, Beirut, and Byblos….
    Hope we can leave this reincarnation to a progressive continuous life.
    Thanks again for your words

  126. Very touching letter, good luck with all your future endeavors and hope to call you PM one day. Thank you for all your support, the world needs great people like you to take our planet to new frontiers.

    Best of luck and always know that Lebanon will always be your home.

  127. Dear Tom

    Thank you for your honest thoughts and your work for Lebanon (more appreciated than what most of its own citizen have done lately). Thank you for believing that corruption can be checked and your support of Sakker el Dekkene (among other NGOs).

  128. I wish u had stayed more to pay us that visit as u promised ?however I also wished we had ppl like u with integrity ,value and principles .i hope u can achieve one of ur agenda is another country .best of luck ur excellency
    I’m very touched with ur words and I was very impressed when I met u

  129. Pretty much inspiring!:
    ” …If the power supply doesn’t work, build a new power supply. If the politics don’t work, build a new politics. If the economy is mired in corruption and garbage piles up, build a new economy. If Lebanon doesn’t work, build a new Lebanon. It is time to thrive, not just survive…”

  130. As a Half Brit, Half Lebanese, you have managed to make me very proud of both of my nationalities Mr Ambassador. How lucky the Foreign office is to have a British representation such as yourself, and how lucky Lebanon is to have had you represent this small but beautiful country.

    Good luck with your next chapter. You have left your mark on Lebanon and very big shoes to fill.

    Samantha

  131. I wish few of our divine leaders will one day have the same belief in our country as you do Tom Fletcher. Politics might take you one day to 10 Downing Street, and if it does, don’t forget those sunrises and sunsets here

  132. Dear Mr. Tom Fletcher,

    I am glad that I’ve witnessed how you led by example!

    I was honored by your visit yesterday to our humble Primary Healthcare Center in Bourj Hammoud & how you mingled with the people & our staff members

    Thank you for your encouragement & humble presence.

    Serop Ohanian
    Director
    The Howard Karagheusian Commemorative Corporation
    Primary Healthcare Center in Bourj Hammoud
    Beirut – Lebanon

  133. Thank you your excellency for the inspirational and honest letter to Lebanon…good luck to you in your new endeavor.

  134. Dear Mr. Ambassador
    Thank you for an excellent and clear mirror for all of us to look into. One big thing to note is that Khalil Gibran’s Lebanon is growing and the other Lebanon is shrinking. You certainly have contributed to this millennial process. Thank you

  135. Dear Mr. Ambassador,

    Thank you for this heart-warming goodbye. You have articulately expressed the sentiments of most Lebanese repatriates, those who have decided to come back to “their” Lebanon, only to be caught in the whirls of the “other” Lebanon. We wish you the best in your new endeavors. which will probably never match your never-a-dull-moment experience here.

    When you’re a private citizen, you should come back and visit–and get those glutes sculpted. Life’s too short.

  136. I was born in Rome and moved to Leb in 1993 when I was 12. I left the country in 1999 and never went back again. I could never find the right words to explain my feelings about my life there.
    Lebanon is everything, and all its opposites.
    I just want to thank you, because you have found the exact words to explain what has been hidden at the bottom of my heart for so long.

    Yallah, bye!

    Renée

  137. No words to describe such a man , such a friend to lebanon, such personality , Tom fletcher , i never met you in person (sadly)i only knew you through the media ,thank you for everything you’ve done for this country ,thank you for believing in it, i can assure you that no Ambassador have left such a mark in this community as you did…
    its such a loss
    So Yalla Bye

  138. Dear Tom,
    throughout the years, Lebanon suffered from external interference (KSA, Iran, Qatar, Syria, UK, France, USA) delete when applicable. Unfortunately, our politicians surrendered to the temptations of power and money. They managed to create an organized chaos from which they took the country to our present dilemma.
    They say: “power is to the people”. What power are we talking about if the same people are getting hungrier by the minutes? Yet, we rise. You must heard the famous phrase “Rise & rise again until lambs become lions”. We are the land of the phoenix. from ashes, we rise and we build.
    from simple sources, we create wonders.
    Our jeita grotto challenged the wonderful places on earth.
    Our Baalbeck temples witnessed History
    our Byblos offered the word to the world.
    We are Lebanese, we are a proud people and we were more than proud to have you here for 4 years. Our Cedars enjoyed receiving you in their shades…
    Our coast will miss your walks.
    Thank you for being a real human!
    Thank you for loving Lebanon
    And Thank you for believing in Lebanon!
    Lost of Love and respect,
    Faithfully yours,
    Elias El Beam
    just another Lebanese Citizen

  139. I usually hate when an outsider talk about my country. I really do as I used to believe that no one will get what we are passing through. I had an open reply to your open letter dear ambassador back in 2013.
    This time, I have to admit that I admire your knowledge about my country, your thoughts about our problems and your attempts to keep our hopes up.
    Hats off dear ambassador.

    Until you, us and the new Lebanon meet again!

  140. Thank you for your great words and for your hope in our country despite what you have seen while in office. Most of all, thank you for your service and for giving back to Lebanon.

    I want to have hope in my country too and in a new Lebanon, but I can’t see us getting there without a leader who rises above the politics and the divisions and unifies us all. My hope is that all Lebanese people stand unified one day with a leader who represents us and our future not our divisions and our past.

    Good luck on your next move.

  141. Nicely said. Without reading your past posts or tweets, I have to ask for specifics. Where does one start? If you were Lebanese, what would you do? How about some references to a few good resources?

  142. Dear Tom,

    What a great blog, completely in line with your leadership, your social media skills and the current politics of a fascinating country. I had the pleasure of hearing you speak at the Publish What You Pay workshops held in Lebanon two years ago! Hopefully we will meet in another country, but thanks to your support we have an emerging pool of PWYP members in the country to help ensure that in the future all Lebanese will benefit from the recent oil discoveries!

  143. Romancing Lebanon with such an eloquent article us no doubt genuine !… Reminiscent of Gertrude Bell, T.E.Lawrence & John Bagot Glubb and their attachment to the Arab World…..However through the past 100 years, has Britain been as honest in its intentions as some of its appointed functionaries to the region has been? (Let’s start with the infamous: Messrs Sakes & Picot agreement).
    On the positive side let’s hope more in the Foreign Office are of the same mind as you Mr. Ambassador.

  144. Romancing Lebanon with such an eloquent article us no doubt genuine!… Reminiscent of Gertrude Bell, T.E.Lawrence & John Bagot Glubb and their attachment to the Arab World…..However through the past 100 years, has Britain been as honest in its intentions as some of its appointed functionaries to the region has been? (Let’s start with the infamous: Messrs Sakes & Picot agreement).
    On the positive side let’s hope more in the Foreign Office are of the same mind as you Mr. Ambassador.

  145. “Building international conspiracies for Lebanon, not against it.”

    Though not evident that has been true indeed; particularly since 2004. Not to worry, some of us know. I just hope enough of us do, coz the clock is ticking harder now.

    I feel your Spirit, you have clearly shared ours well, and have our Love and appreciation; and yes, inland, and in the diaspora, we’re resilient indeed, we’ll remain & keep, with your prayers and support.

    May the Lord blow kindly around your wings, and take you to healthy & happy places.

    Thank you for your work.
    Joe

  146. Dear Mr.Tom, When I first met you at the Lebanese Evangelical during my son’s graduation, I was impressed by a diplomat who was that modest and highly accomplished.You have proved to all that in politics we can have men of honor. May God bless you and your family!

  147. Tom Fletcher, you are more Lebanese than most of the Lebanese politicians. The United Kingdom is lucky to have you as a UK citizen. I work outside Lebanon, and everytime i read any of your blogs about Lebanon..I become more attached to MY country..God bless you.

  148. Very eloquent blog sincerely reflecting the sentiments of many non-lebanese who live here and express the same feelings everyday, great people and country despite the garbage and corruption.

  149. Dear Ambassador!
    I can”not remember ever reading such beautiful well written letter of saying good bye to a Nations and its people!
    My cousin forvarded it to me this morning and after reading I hade to write. I’m so deeply moved by and will always remember your wowrds. You will be remembered by the people of Lebanon and by all who read your letter like myself on the other side of the World.God bless you andkeep you so warmhearted loving and caring!
    Agi

  150. Dear Ambassador Fletcher,
    Thank you for shaking us and giving us hope in our country!
    Your article is exceptional like the personality you showed during your mandate! Good luck

  151. Cher Tom,
    Votre discours est le plus beau chant d’amour
    Et la plus belle déclaration de foi en le Liban que vous avez aimé.
    Merci Grand ami
    Fabuleux Tom
    Ô cette foi ,ce regard
    Souffle de visionnaire qui rameute
    La terre sacrée du Liban
    Sache que le Liban t’aime
    Toi qui ne cesses de le chanter

    Merci cher Tom,
    Notre Terre est tienne
    JC de Magdala

  152. Wow! I am a lebanese canadian reading this from my home in Ottawa and I was very touched by your words Tom, we all need to make a difference in lebanon to make it a better place, the beautiful beirut it was once, there might be alot of damage done but I truly beleive if we work together we can help lebanon return to its origins and it starts with sharing this message as well as educating our children all over the world on importance of protecting and embracing our land, our beautiful country and one of a kind democracy!

    Thank you Tom Fletcher for opening up to us and please always know our home is your home wherever you go.

    ohttps://blogs.fco.gov.uk/tomfletcher/2015/07/31/19389/ur

    1. I read that you are in a sort of a dilemma. If you are living now in Canada Ottawa with a capital ‘O’ then you are a Canadian. You have already bid farewell to Lebanon with the small ‘l’ you wrote and so you can do zilch about it.

  153. Dear Amabassador,
    I never reply on posts on the internet, but I must admit that I feel compelled just to say thank you for such a Wholehearted insight into The Lebanon that we love; the Lebanon that was torn away from us at a young age with the Civil war that kept dragging on and on, and the Lebanon that keeps Orphaning so many young men and women… The Lebanon that keeps splitting families apart, each member in a different country due to the lack of job security in our own country… Lebanon brings so much joy to so many and so much sadness to others.
    It fills my heart with joy to see someone with your stature put it so well.
    Again, thank you for the kind words, and off course, wishing you luck in your future postings.
    God Bless.
    Fadi

  154. Mr.Ambassador
    You have expressed the pain of few lebanese people , why i said few because the rest of them are only holding lebanese ID. They are here to milk the cow (lebanon) at the same time they don’t want to feed the cow and now the cow is dying and they don’t give a damn as long as their wives have their mades, and their botox ….etc
    I don’t want to say more i think you know more than me.
    You wrote down your honest feelings i can read that, but the problem our politicians have no feelings nor visions why because they are all basters and what is worse that we keep on electing them to make our story short pls ask your government to bomb lebanon with an atomic bomb to wipe them all and after forty years we hope to have new generations unpolluted came from another planet to live in this paradise because believe me we DON’T DESERVE IT
    Sorry i have been to harsh , but what can i do with my pain.
    God be with you where ever you go
    The new Lebanon loves you.

    1. Thank God an honest comment .
      The Lebanese do not deserve the blessing that God has given them .
      They are too greedy , arrogant and proud .,
      They are not humble enough to do what’s good for their nation .
      They’re too worried about their own personal wealth and gain .
      This is why Lebanon has suffered ..
      No one says I’m From Lebanon . It’s more I’m from the north or the south or jbeil etc etc . They will never unite as one .. For such a small country , the division is astronomical ..

  155. Thank you sir for your kind words and love toward our country Lebanon but it’s a shame that our people lives in a deep coma and the youth are leaving their country to find their future outside!! We will never say goodbye to you but we will say see you soon…

  156. Thank you Mr. Ambassador- May our politicians learn something from your positive analysis of Lebanon- Please stay in touch

  157. Your Excellency,
    Your heading straight to becoming soon The Minister for Foreign Affairs!
    Eloquent , Diplomat par excellence,Humane, saying it as it is and snatching a nod of approval from friend and foe.
    Perhaps a newly would be formed position as High Commissioner of the UN for a new Palestine would suit you well.

    Superb Personality

    Freddy Lama. ( not a Brit, not a Lebanese but a Palestinian,Armenian,Jordanian and a Canadian at that )

  158. Hi Tom- All the subtelies and nuances have been captured and it was a first class post.
    Now that you are no longer an Ambassador to Lebanon, will the 140 quid gift limit be lifted?
    Our word is our bond the buttock lift voucher will be there anytime you would like to redeem it.
    Thanks,
    B

  159. Your excellency,

    Thank you for being human.

    I left Lebanon 15 years ago and settled in your home country. I observed and embraced the values that make societies thrive and people prosper: democracy, equality, accountability and freedom of speech to name a few. And the more i did, the more the Lebanon i dreamt of coming back to one day faded away. Some people call it time and distance. I call it realism and despair. I wish i had the courage to believe in Lebanon as much as you still do. Thank you for relighting some hope in me. My first son was born a few weeks ago in London. I hope i can teach him to love Lebanon as much as i used to. Or maybe as much as you still do. And in doing so, i am sure to be quoting you. A great diplomat and above all a genuine human being, who always inspired us by touching our hearts and minds, not only through his words but more importantly through his deeds. It is our honor to have you as an ambassador of Lebanon…keep our beloved country in your heart and prayers. And good luck

    1. If you are a Lebanese then you must be living in Lebanon, oops… but you are in London.

  160. Mr Ambassador,

    You are truly a breath of fresh air, Lebanon and the Lebanese should be privileged to have your support and love.
    I speak for all my fellow countrymen when i say that you have deserved the title of #TomtheLebaneseheart

    With deep appreciation and utmost respect

    Charbel

  161. You have reignited a passion for the country which I represent in passport but have never lived in. You’re an ambassador to the struggling humanity, and not to a geographical spot. Chapeau bas!

  162. Dear Tom,

    “A winner is a dreamer who never gives up” as Nelson Mandela puts it…. and we shall never give up…. you left your footprints, your smile, and most importantly you offered to leave your blood for those innocent victims who fell prey to our warmongers…. so how can that be goodbye?…. you were amongst us…. and the Cedars of Lebanon will patiently await your return, to put the sun to bed in its bed of clouds.

    Wishing you all the very best,
    Sara Jane

  163. Your words capture so much of the Lebanon I love – and also make me proud to a British citizen represented by someone of your calibre and your humanity!
    Thank you! Britain needs more representatives like you … in fact, the world needs more leaders like you.

    Could they work out a way of cloning you? 🙂

  164. For someone who doesn’t even believe in nationalism or national-pride, this letter almost brought me to tears. If only half of it is genuine (and not niceties for the sake of political-correctness), reading this just gave me a sudden and unexplained rush of motivation and hope..

  165. Dear Tom
    Thank you for loving Lebanon that much. You are right Lebanon and Lebanese are beloved by instinct.
    Thank you for taking diplomacy to that level of humanity and love.
    Thank you for remembering my country Syria and include it in your love piece of art to the middle east people.
    Lebanese and Syrian deserves the best.
    I am a Syrian in love as you for Lebanese and Lebanon since the first sight.
    You expressed your human side, we express our gratitude and history will remember the Ambassador Lover.
    God bless you.

  166. Your excellency,

    This Manchester United fan (since 1975) dearly wants to know who you support. Then I can decide whether to issue credentials as”Lebanon ambassador at large”.

    On a more serious note, thanks for the kind words about my country and all the best on your future endeavors.

    Maher Baz

    1. West Ham United. Plucky, often underdogs, brilliant youth, difficult neighbours, some glorious history but some pretty bad periods.

      Bit like a country I know.

      Do I still qualify?

  167. Dear excellency ,
    My deepest regret is that i never had the chance to meet you. With those words and the ones you wrote before you simply reached far into our souls and pressed that button, yes that button inside each and every one of us Lebanese, the one which makes us cry of what have we become. I will never forget this tap on the back – punch in the gutts letter of yours, thank you for reviving the hope in me.
    I am so sad your finishing your duties as an ambassador to Lebanon but i will surely,definitely,always be proud and honored to have you as an ambassador for Lebanon.
    Allah ma3ak , trou7 w tirja3lna bil saleimeh.
    Natrinak…

  168. Mr. Ambassador,

    Thank You and wish you and your family health and prosperity.

    Pity you are not Maronite, Shia or Sunni: we have vacancies. Keep in touch if your status changes. All the best.

  169. Dear Mr. Ambassador,

    Thank you so much for this letter and for your love to Lebanon.

    All I can say is that I consider you not only a friend to us the Lebanese people, but with all my respect to your excellency I consider you one of us and a “Fellow Respectful Lebanese Citizen”.

    It was a great pleasure having you in our country. I hope I can meet you in person one day just to know this amazing and beautiful personality that resembles most of us the true Lebanese people.

    Thank you,

  170. Ya zalame with Ambassadors like you and politicians DIFFERENT from ours, Lebanon would’ve been 3anjad a better place.
    All you had to do was to post a picture of yourself eating Sawda w Kebbe Naye and the post in Lebanon would’ve been yours forever, her majesty would not dare to appoint you anywhere else.
    You will not be missed, laano yalli metlak dayman bel alb.
    Thank you from the heart.

  171. Ok, that’s humbling. What can I say, you made excellent points and the closing statement shone.

    Let’s hope and root for Peace.

    Imagine.

  172. Dear ambassador
    I just read your farewell note as a friend shared it on Facebook..very well said/ written. I am a Lebanese born but lived abroad most of my life and don’t follow Lebanese politics much not because for lack of interest but rather due to disgust in the political and government system in the country. You were there for four years and it looks that your post was a prosperous one and your contribution is well
    Noticed and appreciated. And for that I thank you on behalf of the Lebanese people and not the politicians.
    I just want to comment on one tiny part of your letter, regarding Mr. Walid joumblatt, in particular the fact that you helped him open a Twitter account. I am not sure what were the circumstances of that action but it kind of struck me for few reasons. I am not sure why Mr. Joumblatt or any Lebanese politician, for that matter needs a Twitter account where they have their supporters following them blindly mainly based on religion or sect beliefs. You might have mentioned him in particular because he is a personal friend, or I at least I hope so. Because as a politician he is like all other Lebanese politicians who have renewed shamelessly to themselves and they have inherited their seat from grandfather to father.
    I really hope your dreams of your future Beirut and Lebanon come true but I hardly see it myself . As long as we have the same warlords running the country nothing will unfortunately change. As you might know Mr joumblatt is preparing his son taymour to inherit his legacy the same as did his colleagues in parliament. I find it histerical that after 30 years not only the same families are still
    Running the country but men with the same names. I left with a sleiman Franjieh and we still
    Have a sleiman Franjieh. A Pierre Gemayel replaced a Pierre gemayel. At least the jumblatts changed the game from the first name basis. I wish I could have your optimism
    But I don’t. I on the other side wish, and think that the only way others, can help Lebanon is by condemning and not supporting most of the politicians running the country and who I believe belong at the international
    Criminal court and not in the parliament.

  173. Your Excellency,
    Thanks for your continuous support for Lebanon. We know you did your best. Highly appreciate your enthousiasm and courage to name things by their names.
    Would highly appreciate if you could help us finish the plight of the Palestinians due to the role plaid by Great Britain in this regard. This would help Lebanon and the region in so many regards and maybe will help leading the Lebanese to held their politicians accountable for their acts.
    Respectfully
    Hana

  174. Mr fletcher,
    I have a bit of a dream that maybe, one day, we could exchange our members of Parliament for 3 months. Consider it as a way of reforming our MPs on Democracy. Maybe it’s a dream or a wish but if it happens or be taken in consideration, it’s a long shot, but who knows. It was an honor having a great human like you between us.

  175. Mr Embassador

    Such a great letter from a great country representative
    I had to read it more then once for all the affection and great love to this small country struggling to prove a point of living together and to be an example

    a modern though fighting rotten old believes

    In the end i am worried here
    Every new Embassador have to present his paper to the president
    But we do not have a president how can we have a new british Embassador?

    For everything you have done to lebanon thank you

    1. Don’t worry. There are lots of excellent new ambassadors arriving, and a fix has been found to allow them to do their work.

  176. This is why I love British people. Respectful, caring and lovely. Thank you Ambassador we’re embarrassed how bad we are, you love our country more then we do. Sorry for seeing you leaving, just be sure this is your second country your not an Ambassador you’re a family. Hope to see you back here 🙂

  177. Well done Mr Fletcher, and thank you for being a fan of Lebanon! We hope to see you the British PM or FM one day as your impact and power would increase… Meanwhile, thanks again for loving and admiring and respecting Lebanon so much, and you surely have been granted our approval and moreover our respect and happiness for being a “Lebanon” fan and ambassador forever (or for as long as you keep meriting it, whichever comes first…)! Regards, Rammah

  178. Your Excellency though I commented earlier on this fabulous letter of yours, I have one question:

    WHEN WOULD THE LEBANESE GOVERNMENT ACCREDIT THE UNITED KINGDOM’s A-LEVEL so our children get a fair entry to universities without losing a year? Appreciate your push before you vanish away from Lebanon (not from our hearts). Thank you.

  179. Ambassador Fletcher
    As an Anerican married to a Lebanese lady, and having visited that INCREDIBLE country several times to visit family, I must say that I’ve never read such an accurate description of the current state of the Lebanon experience. It is both hopeless and hopeful. As was said by a good friend of mine from the Land of the Cedars: “until the Lebanese leaders put LEBANON before personal gain, the country will never move forward.”

    God Bless you.

    PS. Can you transfer the butt lift to a yank? 🙂

  180. What a speech, it gave me tears of joy how someone who is not lebanese show true passion about a dying country. You say let’s hope for the future, let’s build our lebanon, but what future you see when you find new and young generation who we dream of giving them the torch of life, see them help the old in distribution, littering, not obeying laws, hating the other, holding guns, always looking for troubles, thinking lebanon is in bars and pubs, in fancy cars and mobiles, sorry sir but the future I and you hope for is nothing but a lost dream, I’m pessimistic, true, I hate lebanon, no, I love my country from the bottom of my heart, but unfortunately my country doesn’t love me, my country loves politicians and blind men who after all still believe in such criminals. We want to save lebanon, we should start with us, we are the future if we believe in it, we are the hope, if we work for achieving it, we are lebanon when we start loving it and not the men who run it.

    Best regards

  181. Thank you mr. Ambassador,

    I am a Lebanese citizen, and because of all the reasons you have mentioned earlier, I’ve decided since like 2 years now to stay in Lebanon and to have my fight right here and not in some other foreign country. We have the right to build a strong country to live in. We have the right to build a good future and we can do it if we want if we just stop paying attention to the rubbish of politics and start paying attention to our work and our life.

    Thank you

  182. Dear Mr Fletcher,

    Thank you for being there in the worst time ever and still loving us, bcos that’s what love is all about 🙂
    I would like to thank you for discussing My lovely village Hamet, it made it even more popular.
    Finally please make sure that who ever is coming to take your position is someone special like you .
    Kind regards,
    Issam

  183. This a moving and passionate blog post.
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and would love to visit the Lebanon.
    Hope that you have time to do a stint in Switzerland sometime, we’d love to welcome you. 🙂

    1. Welcome in Lebanon anytime! Once upon a time, it was known as Switzerland of the East… So, you’d surely find some similarities somewhere, somehow…

  184. Dear Ambassador,
    From a Lebanese who loves his country, went to Britain a few years ago, and got a visa without a Wasta !
    How to thank you for your deep,moving thought? Just know we will never give Lebanon to anyone else, whoever he is and whatever he tries.
    I think Thomas Friedman wrote once during the 15-year war:
    After a night of terrific bombardments, i thought that it was over, there is nothing called Lebanon, only a wasteful land with crazy people. But then in the morning, I saw people cleaning the rubbles of the bombing, students going to school, and merchants opening their shops, and i thought this country will never die. It will not !!

    75 years ago, the British people stood fiercely in the face of oppression, dictatorship and tyranny. We did the same later on, and we will keep doing it.

    Thank you for grasping the true spirit of Lebanon, with all its defects but also its beauty and dynamism.

    Hope to see you again in our lands..

    Simply thank you a lot for what you have done !

    Fady Nassar
    University instructor

  185. Dear Mr.Fletcher,
    Don’t know if you left Lebanon or not yet but all i can wish that “Our Lady of Lebanon” protect you and your family , this is the only thing we can offer you .
    Give me the right to call you
    Mr. Full of Enthusiasm
    Good bye and hope to see you in higher positions.

  186. Dear Tom

    Lebanon will be loosing a great ambassador but has gained a great friend.
    I am speechless, didn’t find the best words so far.

    Yalla, Bye
    3asha Lebanon
    3ashat UK as well.

  187. Your Excellency,

    You are the epitome of what makes Britain GREAT!
    Reading you made me more conscious of my inner self: British-Lebanese forever.
    Thank you for what you have done for my 2 countries.

    GF

  188. Tom, you captured the very essence of not only your Ambassadorial role but also the zeitgeist. Your abilities on social media are second to none. That’s social and that’s media and the combination of the two. So look forward to your new posting and congratulations on getting Walid Joumblatt onto Twitter. Next challenge Tyler Brule!

  189. Dear Tom,

    Look at all the replies and shares you got! it’s gone viral.. you’re a rock star now!
    See, we, Lebanese love poems.. love to hear how “beautiful we really are”..
    We would have hated for you to tell us how badly we failed at electing a new head of state AND taking our garbage off the streets, least yet stand up for a man getting stabbed at the witness of a handful of walking dead..
    Yes, they’re right you grasped the true spirit of Lebanon, a poem about its great people and lovely valleys.. Am sure you’re even off to tell the Brits how they can swim and ski on the same day! yey!
    No Mr. Embassador, we did not deserve such a farewell from your end, we deserved to hear the truth, about how we’re letting our Lebanon down. About how we are letting the future generation down. Tell us that we’re a flock, too stupid and lazy not to let them renew their terms.. to fire them.. because, you know, they paid us to hire them at some point.. Tell us that we’re too sheep-y not to claim our oxygen in the streets without a sectarian hypocrite Shepard’s call..
    We failed and still failing at every turn.. can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel..

    Please offer my son the British citizenship.. I am dying of fear for his future..

    Yours, truly,
    A long gone Lebanese..

    1. Straight to the point! A wake up cry from the denial most are living in, and others are enjoying and taking advantage of our denial, and total absence, we are like drugged. But there are a lot who have your same ideas, and mine, I wish we all join forces and let all the corrupt leave instead of the good ones. Is it only a wish, would it ever come true?
      The answer is in our hands, me & you & you & you…

      1. There are many indeed.. but unfortunately my dear Lisa we’re outnumbered by the dumb ones (excuse the expression)..
        Let’s just hope ur wish come true..

  190. Dear Mr. Ambassador,
    Very touching, and I believe your bird’s eye view of the situation gave you the ability to see it clearly unlike most of the Lebanese who’s so drawn into its mess and the only thing we’re seeing are pixels. I would like to quote here your fellow British James Barr the author of “A line in the sand”, which I am sure you’ve read it, he clearly portrayed where the whole issue started from, but what he probably missed is the effect of those geographical lines on the citizens of these adhoc countries and on their willpower to earn a nation instead of borrowing it, so sad to see the scar of those 100 years old lines so apparent and that the plastic surgeries are applied elsewhere.
    All the best with your new endeavour,
    Dori

  191. Dear Mr. Fletcher
    Thanks for your message ,wish you all the best and lebanon will miss you.god bless you.

  192. “such an accurate description of the current state of the Lebanon”
    God bless you and hope to see you again in Lebanon with higher grade in diplomacy.

  193. Mr. Fletcher, I believe every word in your speech comes right from the heart, you will always be remembered, you are our new “Laurence” God be with you! Keep loving Lebanon, a country that always return love with lots of blessings 🙂
    Layal Z

  194. I salute a man, who in our exceptional national circumstances, rose above it all, and gave us a brilliant lesson in civic sense and humility, while challenging us to remake our country
    Heartfelt thanks for such an inspiring and uplifting farewell blog

  195. Dear Tom,
    Seldom have a read such soulful description of the Lebanese and Lebanon. And for once I sincerely believe you are not, unlike many others, doing a sale’s job.
    We should have met, my fault if we haven’t, in a simple place on a cool evening in a mountain top, to exchange ideas and admire, as you so well put it, a beautiful sunset.
    Who knows, maybe one day….
    Reading YOU makes me proud to carry a British Passport.
    I wish you a pleasant journey of life.

  196. Dear Mr. Embassador,
    That is all nice letter & nice comments.
    We are all impressed, that for a westerner & an embassador, you could give a blind eye to all the negative points existing in our country and society and focus on the positive and love our Lebanon.
    I’m married to a British citizen since 2004, I’ve lived in Britain for the first 3 years & a half before my husband receives a call to come serve in our church in Lebanon and come back in 2008.
    It’s very good to focus on the good and give words of encouragement, but I would like if you, since you have this spirit of love & compassion & understanding to our complex nature & personalities, if you would give few words of advice to the fellow Lebanese who are following your blogs & writings.
    My husband taught me an important lesson: you are responsible as a citizen to ask for your rights from the government and to share WITH the government in its responsibilities. In other words, we should not stop asking for our rights as citizens and VOICE IT LOUD.
    It’s a common sense status, but in a country where no complaint received by the government institution entities whichever it was, receives the right & fair intervention, on the contrary, the people have developed a new culture, a culture I have heard from many mothers around me saying to their kids since the war started (I was 5 years old) : ” if a child hits you, hits him back, don’t allow him to bully you”.
    It’s like this in everything, you can see why people are killing one another in the streets, because this is how their parents taught them: take your right with your own hands.!!!
    Sad to the point of feeling cracks in my heart, pain and so much tears and pain, pain…
    My Lebanon the way I see it, the way I read about it in the books of Khalil Gebran, Mikhael Neaymeh and all the other great writers ( especially during the long days of war & shelling, sheltered on the stairs of our building) is unfortunately different than how many of my other compatriots see it.
    Is there a solution? How can they accept my Lebanon when I don’t accept their Lebanon? If they see Lebanon as an extension of Iran regime, Syrian regime or Saoudi regime?!?!?!?
    Please tell us, is there a solution? Do you have an advice?
    Thank you for everything, and I apologise for this dark message and interrupting of all the positive previous messages.
    God bless you & your family, we pray for a change in the hearts and minds, we pray especially for wisdom & Peace only given from above.
    Yalla bye,
    Lisa Cleary.

  197. Thank you Mr. Embassador. Unfortunately 1- our politicians don’t read 2- if they read they don’t want to understand 3- the majority of our people can read, understand, but don’t take action.
    Hope your note will wake them up!

  198. Dear Tom,

    Amazing words. Humbling that a foreigner loves our nation more than we do. Sadly, we have allowed the crooks (politicians) and heads of sects to suck our joy and love of our country. Damn them all to hell. Lebanon deserves better than all of them, and Lebanon deserves more than its own people! Please Continue to advocate on our helpless selves!!

    So many times hopes and dreams were killed, we no longer dare to hope or dream. Many of us left, and would never go back, because we want our kids to have a chance, to know life, and not have to suffer like we have.

    You honored Lebanon with your service and commitment, I hope the Lebanese crooks learned a bit.

    Until we meet again!!!

  199. It is true that Lebanon is beautiful but its Warlords are UGLY . You are so eloquent in a way that reminds of Shaekspeare and Bernardshaw . It is clear that you have succeededas an Embassador but before that as a humain being clearly wishing peace and progress for others . You mentioned Palestine once wishing Obama can succeed …. etc. i am certain no one in the middle east has a slight hope that this will happen .
    You as a citizen of HM I ask you to address a letter also to the Palestinian People whose Dilemma ( Al Nakbbah ) was created by your country’s policies .
    Humanity is indivisible , isn’t ut ?? Or the Pals. Live on Kepler Planet ( thirty million years distance away ?? As Netenyahoo dreams … T. Sorour

  200. What do you mean waiting moderation ? Unfortunately reality is reality it cannot be moderate or not moderate ….
    Citing facts has nothing to do with moderation or harshness .
    I believe there is full respect for the Embassador .

  201. Dear Tom,
    Your msg is very appreciated; but the problem has been the Balfour
    Declaration! Hope you can still help in influencing a just settlement, when Lebanon and Middle East can live in peace

  202. Your excellency
    We have never met however allow me to say thank you my friend. Whenever you are back in Lebanon you are more than welcome in our house with our family.
    All the best
    Yallabye

  203. Dear Sir,
    Well said, I guess no words would appreciate your big thoughts and humble feelings about the better lebanon (we) dreamed of but literally doing nothing to protect it well.. Am absolutely hopeless of the current generation to make any move nor this corrupted set of politicians (no execptionals), Let’s be real, but one thing am pretty much sure about is that the new coming generation of an educated and open minded people will be remembering well what you have clearly said. Again thanks for the inspiration,
    “Shine on you crazy Diamond”

  204. Your Excellency,
    The message you wrote brought tears to my eyes. I hope it will break down our politicians and their followers (sheep) and make them come to their senses,
    We love you.
    Thank you again.
    Please come back.

  205. Your Excellency,
    Your words touch deeply the heart and the mind. Diplomacy is an art and science.
    I wish you could recommend some courses to our Lebanese politicians where you made your Political Science studies (at Oxford). To keep the positive vibes; instead of burn them: save them.
    Yalla Bye,
    Farid Karam

  206. Spot on Mr. Ambassador!…I wish one day soon, the Lebanese people will wake up and unnimously tell those corrupt politicians and oligarchs, YALLA BYE.

    Thank you.
    Raymond Khalife

  207. Dear Tom

    I have read your farewell message to Lebanon and its people. I smiled, and predicted that sooner rather than later you will be leaving the foreign service and public office, and will be moving to the objective, honest and humane oriented academic world. My predictions and forecasts had been more right than wrong. Your ideals will not be tolerated in a world of international economic and political competition, conspiracies , and immoral alliances. Your humane values and frankness are not appreciated by the Big Political Bosses all over the world. Voicing such moral stands will be an impediment to your career in the foreign service. While I can see you and assure you that you will be a respected academic authority on the social and cultural causes for underdevelopment in the third world. Hurry up dear Tom and get enrolled in a doctors degree program at Oxford…better now than tomorrow. I expect to read your first book on ” The right Path to Development in the year 2018.

    All the best…Yalla to to Cambridge

  208. Dear Mr Ambassador Tom Fletcher, thank you for loving our Lebanon more than we do and Good Luck

  209. Dear Tom,
    I was touched with your comments and views about my small and struggling country, your inspiring thoughts came as embarrassing to most of us who always complains, criticize and under-estimates the values of our homeland , You just ascertain us that Lebanon was not a geographical mistake, it is rather a necessity, wishing that the majority of the Lebanese people start thinking the same positive way and transform their thinking into real and efficient actions to prove you right.
    Best wishes your excellency,
    Elie

  210. This is insulting and it didnt move me one bit sorry. I might have swallowed it if a german or french diplomat had said so but a british diplomat ? Britain caused all problems in the middle east starting with implanting israel ( in the case of lebanon leading to palestenian takeover of lebanon and expulsion of christians and change of demographics which still plagues us, thats aside from the chaos it caused in palestine and syria), and doing a coup for a democratically elected government of Iran and then causing havoc for Iran for decades, and invading Iraq which was a joint British-American decision. You also supported corrupt politicians such as Jumblat because his ancestors were your agents in the region. Your “kingdom” also is the most avid supporter of the black kingdom of terror of saudi arabia simply because it preserved your interests in the region for a century now. You have no shame coming here throwing all this on lebanese’s shoulders when your country single-handedly destroyed any prospect of a nation for lebanon and syria and palestine when you let Israel’s emergence change the region’s demographics and even change the outlook of the levantines from statehood to Arabhood/Islamism VS Zionism/Judaism. We ceased being a country slowly since then, the more your israel caused havoc and took land in palestine the more the formula changed in lebanon and syria. To make things worse, if we had any chance to fight off such problems, your close and century long alliance with saudi kings and lately qatari emirs made sure there is no hope for syria and lebanon, because their minorities became the targets and without these minorities the whole existence ceases to make sense, since its the cultural-religious hybridity that makes the nations of syria and lebanon and palestine. Now these areas are just vacuum ….mere space for fighting to continue till as far as possible. The worse thing of all is that you speak of the present when to this day you are one of very few countries that cover up for Israel’s crimes and settlements. Even if we were to forget the past, the present still reeks from the stench of your crimes against lebanon. Also we dont want a lebanon that is a banana republic or a hong kong, so the lebanon 2020 means nothing to us, we want the cultured lebanon , not stacked with companies and businesses whilst erasing the last remnants of our culture. Sorry your words were insulting to me. I am not going to praise your “majesty” like the other lebanese here who are actually participants with your country in causing our problems. Goodbye and hope you think of coming back. Of course one might say you are just a diplomat but you represent your country and its policies and im sure you should know that responsibility for this country’s mess is beyond the capabilities of the lebanese anymore. Only a total overhaul can fix it and this means possibly a big war ala syria. Thanks.

    1. Dear Syrian Social Nationalist Party, it seems we disagree on many things. As a rule, I think avoidance of big wars is best, but maybe that’s just because I’m a diplomat. Anyway, unlike the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, I respect the rights of people I disagree with to share their views, so all comments welcome.

  211. I am speechless, I am not gonna say good bye, thank you for the 4 years that you served in lebanon, I live in the UK and I love to see a change go leb2020. Cheers tom. Regards Rab

  212. Dear Tom,
    A couple of events out of many that I would like to recall, which took place in Britain. They demonstrate the virtues of accountability by the population towards their leaders/politicians.
    1. In 1945, Churchill leads his country and the Allies to win perhaps the bloodiest war known to mankind. In the 1946 General Elections, the British public votes Churchill out of office.
    2. Jonathan Atkins (Tory MP and minister) accepts a gift > “£140”. His wife and daughter apparently accepted to stay at the Ritz in Paris for free. After long legal proceedings, Mr Atkins received a 2 year jail sentence for perjury.

    As soon as the Lebanese population politicians & judiciary begin to operate close to the standards setout in the 2 examples above, one would start to feel that the Lebanon that Gibran, yourself and the vast majority of the Lebanese thrive for, will begin to come true.
    Thank you for being an inspiration and for trying to make a difference.
    David Gilmore & Roger Waters’ music will keep “shining” also on Lebanon and hopefully the “Bricks” will become more stable in our flimsy “Wall”.
    Who knows, perhaps Lebanon will rise one day before the Hammers win the
    Premiership!
    PAX

  213. MY FAMILY AND I LEFT OUR BELOVED COUNTRY FOR A SAFER PLACE. I AM AN OLD MAN AND FEEL VERY SURRY FOR THE YOUNG EDUCATED LEBANESE BOYS AND GIRLS WO ARE UNABLE TO FIND DECENT JOBS AND HAVE TO SEEK WORK IN OTHER COUTRIES. I HAVE TWO EDUCATED CHILDREN RESIDING AND WORKING IN THE USA.IT BREAKS MY HEART TO SEE SIMILAR PARENTS WHO MIGRATED LIKE MYSELF .JOBS, JOBS , JOBS IS WHAT IS NEEDED SO WE DO NOT LOOSE OUR EDUCATED PEOPLE. EDUCATION WILL LEAD TO MORE TOLERENCE WETHER ONE IS MOSLEM CHRISTIAN,JEWISH AGNOSTIC ETC. THE LONGER THE POLITICAL SITUATION LAST, THE WORSE OUR PROBLEMS WILL BE. I CAN GO ON AND ON BUT A CHANGE MUST HAPPEN IF WE ALL UNITE AS LEBANESE .

    1. If you love Lebanon so much and you feel so bloody nostalgic, then come back to Lebanon with your children, put up with all of its mess and then speak about the subject. You are just another Lebanese living abroad and ‘binazir min baiid’

  214. Dear Ambassador Fletcher,
    Thank you for holding the mirror and for recognizing the diamond in the rough.
    We are grateful that for being our ambassador for life.

    Cheers,

    Ferris

  215. Dear Ambassador,
    Someone once said that diplomacy is basically “telling someone to go to hell in a way that makes him look forward for the trip”… your words and actions are the exact opposite. You acted and spoke as a believer in a project called Lebanon… not yet a nation but a project in process.
    Your faith in us humbles every Lebanese and makes us realise the extent to which individual excellency is plagued by collective mediocrity.
    Thank you for being who you are!!!
    Adib Basbous

  216. Dear Sir,
    We thank you from the bottom of our heart.
    I for myself was trained in radiology in the UK.
    Most of what I know in this field came from there.
    Certainly, the Brits did help us.

  217. Dear Mr. Fletcher,
    Your words are very soothing and they indeed come from the heart. However allow me to note that in all your stay here, your life was in a way facilitated by, first your position and second by those who accompany you everywhere (like they do for all other politicians of course) , making sure that all goes smoothly with no glitches. This is not the case of the vast majority of Lebanese, who see year after year that nothing changes, who see that certain things get worse, who see that the Lebanese youth (Lebanon’s real wealth) , also in their vast majority, leave, or dream to leave, the country to go work and live abroad. More than 15 years now that the war has ended, and still no regular electricity, many many public services inexistant or corrupt, etc…
    But I still think that your words are very touching, however I can’t help but think of those foreign visitors who come to see Lebanese friends, and who, during their stay are chaperoned, and taken to the nicest and best places in Lebanon, and who, when they leave, are just amazed by the country.
    Long life to you Mr. Fletcher.

    1. Dear Ambassador and Habib Libnan

      I was so moved by your heartfelt letter to our “bipolar”Lebanon. You described it with accuracy and fondness. Like the many before me who have commented I am both humbled and heartened by your faith in us and in what Lebanon can be.
      I left Lebanon over 35 years ago and unfortunately have never been back but it has never left me. I sense from what I read that the people are war weary and long for a brighter future. The Lebanese are so good at “phoenixing” – from the ashes they rise again and again but this has over the years taken its toll on them. However we must not give up the hope that we can “defy the history, the geography, even the politics”and build the country that we deserve.
      Thank your for holding up the mirror and shining the light of love even on our darkest side. The Lebanese will miss you and our loss will be another country’s huge gain. Please don’t forget the “crazy diamond”.
      Go well and keep shining , God bless.

  218. Mr Ambassador,

    You are a Legend. Much respect to you sir.

    You will always be remembered for your good work in Lebanon. God bless!!!

  219. Dear Ambassador,
    judging from all the answers to your letter, it seems you touched the right cord in the heart of the Lebanese silent majority who is aspiring for change and true leadership.
    best wishes

  220. Your Excellency

    Please clean up your paedophile parliament and government
    then try using humanity while receiving unwelcome refugees
    then apologise for invading Iraq
    and then come back to give us whatever lessons…..

    Farewell

    Raja I. Chemayel

  221. Excellency
    Always amazed by your positive attitude, your genuine way of thinking and the simplicity with which you address complicated matters.
    In one of our several encounters throughout your 4 years in our beloved country I had discussed with you that being Lebanese is like owning a Ferrari that we cannot use since we don’t have a license to drive it.
    Our country has all the assets to succeed yet we are failing rather our political system is failing us. Proof is when we are studying or working abroad we are successful as individuals or as companies.
    God Bless You Excellency and thank you for increasing the awareness of the Lebanese People. We need more people like you to show us the value of what we have.
    I cant wait to see you one final time before you leave and hopefully our paths will cross again after you leave Lebanon
    Best of luck always
    Sincerely
    Ramy

  222. Dear Tom,

    After reading your Yalla! I just hope more men and women like yourself will manage through swift diplomacy to bring peace and prosperity to the region.

  223. Dear Ambassador

    As Oscar Wilde once said, we’re all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. It was a privilege to serve alongside someone always looking up.

    Thank you for encapsulating the maddenly frustrating, wonderfully enervating, hopelessly optimistic paradox of this country that we love.

    Luke

  224. Dear Tom,
    Your analysis is very flattering to us. Very often we are completely discouraged.. then someting pushes us to overcome obstacles, dim thinking and depression… As you say we are gifted to Lebanise what we import like the “Croissant with thyme”; etc … but I think we stuck ourselves with this “urf” politics where every Leader is stricly defined from which community he/she should be , etc… the day we destroy this formula (history has proved a Lebanese is a Lebanese no matter to which community he/she belongs) then we’ll do wonders….
    We are very communicative and we believe hard in exchange: we admire our enemies, we admit when they are stronger and we strive to beat them up!
    We did export solutions: what Patriarch Sfeir did, permitted to Benedictus XVI to find a solution out for him (which happened few months after his visit to Lebanon).
    When we liberate ourselves from the “Urf” politics, we’ll be able to win this war!
    Thank you for your support.

  225. Dear Tom,

    As a Lebanese and a Brit, allow me to say I would vote you as my President or Prime Minister any time.

    Tarek

  226. In fact, there are two Lebanons, a Lebanon of beautiful landscapes, generosity and hedonism, and a Lebanon of ugliness, greed, hatred and violence.
    The millions of Lebanese who left the country just couldn’t deal with the second one. It seems the Ambassador has managed to avoid it.

  227. wow!!!!!!!, he really said all that, yes thats lebanon, but frankly I am SPEECHLESS. its amazing….tears in my eyes and proud to be british and still wish I could be lebanese being there constantly, its a phenomenal country with most amazing people.

  228. Wish I could read sincere letters like yours, written to the Lebanese people by our leaders and be able to engage with them Mr. Ambassador.
    Media is polarizing opinions and our politicians are shy on social media. They should all maintain a personal blog not just twitter and write us personal letters in these times of uncertainty and expect an answer. Maybe you can convince them of the benefit before you go 🙂

  229. Dear Tom,
    Not sure why I’m replying, your letter is kinda hard to read.. Couldn’t stop my tears! It brought back beautiful and harsh memories that I’m trying so hard to forget.
    I sadly gave up on my country and left.. Even my family.. Because I couldn’t do more for Lebanon and save it or myself from what they made it.
    I really want to thank you for understanding and seeing my Lebanon and I wish more people like yourself would leave this beautiful footprint!
    Chapeau Bas.. And best of Luck!!
    Respect w allah ye7mik!

    1. Dear S
      Your story is the story of many Lebanese who left because they were beaten by the system or shall I say the no system. We deserve better but have been let down again and again. War weary and disheartened we seek brighter futures in kinder countries.I try not to loose hope and every once in a while a “Tom Fletcher “appears and teaches to believe in ourselves again.

  230. Dear Tom

    I may be a number among thousands and be left unnoticed or unread.

    But I wish you could be our missing president who dont care about any politician just the people or better yet If you could invite the british army to invade us without beid biased to israel then sir no one will defend the land we would be happy that you can cleanse our country from this rooted corruption in its every aspect.

    Please dont leave us we need a saviour like you …the last person who was positive and thought like you was blown up Mr Hariri…. people like you are not allowed.

    I bow my head In the upmost respect for you brother.

    Thank you for making my day

  231. Dear Mr. Ambassador,
    The Lebanon experience can be very disappointing because it is obvious that there is so much potential for excellence to be achieved in that country, but so grossly insufficient effort is collectively made to achieve it.
    On self reflection, as deeply wounding as it may sound, perhaps in the final analysis such a people deserves such a government.
    God bless you Mr. ambassador.
    Yalla, bye.
    John

  232. after returning for almost 20 years i am finally giving up and going back to the States. I have an amazing life and a wonderful job here but I dont have hope. It’s so sad. it’s eating me up. but there is nothing i can do

  233. Thank you for your work ambassador. If only you can have a position in Lebanon that can advise the government on particular issues. Sometimes what is needed is an outsider to press their views for the government to listen. Then again…. It appears that you love Lebanon more than our politicians(who do appear to be acting like the outsiders). We need new blood in the political scene. Anyone who had any affiliation with the war should not be given a podium on television or radio. We need a new ‘United’ political movement with new politicians. Not the same rubbish that swapped army uniforms for suits. Speaking of rubbish, a good solution for Beiruts rubbish is too dump it at the entry to the parliment, politicians in-house of course.
    Shine on Mr Ambassador

  234. To the Finest Diplomat Lebanon has known,
    I say this without exaggeration for during my lifetime I haven’t come across an Ambassador to Lebanon that was so interactive, proactive and with such true care about Lebanon and the Lebanese.
    Tom Fletcher always came up with, out of the box ideas and carried them through with great passion.
    Your words will remain in our memory and we will miss your energy and blog.
    It is a privilege to have you as Lebanon’s ambassador to the World.
    Best wishes of success in your new endeavors.
    Mazen Salha

  235. How lucky you are to be able to breathe the air in my country, ,and how happy i am for you,. those who haven’t known my country don’t know what they are missing.Lebanon made you who you are toda , right now and i am sure you found there what you couldnt find anywhere else in your life with all my respect!!!

  236. Dear Mr. Ambassador,
    I’m Lebanese living in California. Thank you so much for your “Yalla Bye” letter and love for Lebanon. I visited Lebanon last year since my last visit 12 years ago. In spite of all her problems I can sum up my unshakable everlasting feelings using Fairouz’s song “Bahibak Ya Libnan”.
    God bless you.

  237. Your Excellency,

    This article is extremely well written and accurate around our current situation. As a Lebanese living abroad I salute you for your service to your country and mine. To a brighter future for you and our beloved Lebanon.

    All the respect,

    Sara Nader

  238. Keep Walking Tom,
    This world needs leaders like yourself…
    You are a skilled Fletcher that arrows pass through hearts 🙂

    See-eh thoo haal…

  239. Your excellency.
    Thank you for your kind words. We hope more people will retain the core of your message. My generation lived thru war and know what Lebanon could become (either way). I am sure most of us will join you in your believe:
    “The real dividing line is not between Christianity and Islam, Sunni and Shia, East and West. It is between people who believe in coexistence, and those who don’t.”
    Cheers we need more people like you.
    Sincerely.
    Ramy M.

  240. We are blessed to always have you “an ambassador for Lebanon,” a voice to the Nations many blessings! From strength to strength and from glory to glory

  241. Your Exellency,
    Those clowns in power don’t deserve you.
    You are more Lebanese than they are.
    Best of luck.

  242. Dear Tom,
    It is very rare to see an ambassador who is involved with the daily lives of the people where he is assigned to.
    We admire your high sense of observation and frankness.
    Yes, we are and will always be a special nation.
    We bid you farewell with tonnes of garbage trash on our streets, that as you kindly said would have toppled the British cabinet. While ours is still surviving mired with unfruitful debates and flourishing corruption.
    We are in need of your advanced social values and ability to make politicians accountable for their deeds.
    We wish you good luck, and hope you will always stand for us in political/diplomatic circles.

    Lebanese citizen

    1. but its only the Lebanese citizens that can make it happen for themselves, noone will do it for you. If all stick together and demand from their politicians, what they are to do for their people, not for their pockets. thats worth burning tires for!!!! if all for one and one for all, you will be amazed what can be achieved.

  243. That was truly heartwarming to read. Sometimes we need an outsider’s perspective and opinion to remember be us that we can do more and give us hope. Your words touched many Mr. Ambassador…
    Yalla bye w sallem:)

  244. That was truly heartwarming to read. Sometimes we need an outsider’s perspective and opinion to remind us that we can do more and give us hope. Your words touched many Mr. Ambassador…
    Yalla bye w sallem:)

  245. Your Excellency,
    Your extremely touching farewell letter made me cry. You pointed on things that we know and ignore, pretending that everything is fine.
    With your permission I will spread the “It is time to thrive, not just survive”, hoping that changes will happen.
    Thank you for your genuine love to my country,
    Good luck

  246. As a former Canadian Ambassador to Lebanon (1995-1998), I can relate to everything in this post (well, almost everything). You managed to bring back to the fore many good memories of my three years in Lebanon and remind me of the resolve of its people. It is as true today as it was twenty years ago.
    Thank You.

    1. Unfortunately Mr Marchand, it is true today as it was true in the 1840’s circumstances and we did not learn none. Still the mafiomediocritie running our country with no reaction but always affirming: C’est la faute aux autres.!!!

  247. Mr Ambassador, you remember me of Colonel Chirchill who lived in Mount Lebanon in 1840 for a decade and described genuinly “L’Etat de Fait” and its consequences in 1860. Is it the hazard!! Good luck and best regards

  248. mid august 14-22, I am back in Lebanon, and I WILL do the tom fletcher walk…..anybody care to join me, email me. from bhartroun to beirut. Lets thrive.

  249. I was cooking that day, dishes were supposed to be ready by 12 noon, and buffet set by 12:30. We start serving at 01:00 PM. It was a sunny winter day. His excellency showed up early, sat at a table outdoors not indoors, alone on his own, humbly asking if he could be served prior to opening time as he was hungry and in a hurry. The restaurant was empty except for him. I came out to apologize and only to tell him we could start with serving salads and cold appetizers while the main dishes are being heated. He said “yes, I have a little time, I’ll wait”. I had absolutely no idea who he was. Then they came to me and said what are you doing, this is the british ambassador you are talking to!!. How could I tell? I saw a young man, a humble young man, so elegant, so down to earth, so pleasant, so British, smiling. I did not go beyond any means to treat him as a special guest, I knew he wouldn’t have accepted it nor taken any advantage out of it. He served himself, chose his dishers, enjoyed his meal, paid his bill and left. As simple as this.

    Your Excellency you have left a print wherever you have travelled throughout our forsaken country. Thank you for being you and God bless you.

  250. there needs to be a tom fletcher walk from bhartroun to beirut….for lebanon…any body to join in? email me any time between august 15 and august 21.

  251. “All I ever tried to do was hold a mirror up and show you how beautiful you really are. Shine on, you crazy diamond.” Only great poets write such eloquent words, and likely only true Lebanese dreamers can profoundly reflect and truly appreciate the true meaning of this.
    “I believe you can defy the history, the geography, even the politics. You can build the country you deserve.” Only genuine Lebanese Believers can understand this, work to that end, and achieve it. You are a sensible dreamer who brought reality back to the masses of Lebanon Believers.
    You ask Lebanon the permission to be his/her Ambassador. Lebanon loved you then, now, and forever, for your love to that “crazy diamond” is true, transparent, and full of hope. Lebanon Believers can only ask you to please be his/her Ambassador, Mr. Fletcher.
    You can ONLY do so much and you did well, very well. Thank you Sir
    Yalla bye

  252. Dear Ambassador,

    I am deeply touched by your words, they awaken in me the belief of one unite Lebanon and encouraged me to gladly fight for our coexistence. I am proud to be Lebanese.

    Thank you and Good Luck.

  253. Your Excellency,

    It is a pity you can’t run for the post of President of the Republic. You would be perfect for the post. We need someone like you.

    I heard that they are hiring.

  254. Mr. Ambassador,
    I hope politicians anywhere in the world will be presented with your fare well letter to the people of Lebanon. The effort you have made to understand the issues and the people should serve as an example for them.
    Many politicians only serve their own (those they are indebted to) and not the people they serve, resulting in deplorable conditions for those that need it most. Good luck in your future endeavors. The country that will receive your next assignment will be extremely fortunate.

  255. Mr. Ambassador,

    I have just read your wonderfully eloquent Letter to Lebanon. You know Lebanon much better than I but you have captured perfectly my feelings about this wonderful country.

    I am a U.S. technology lawyer and have had the pleasure of visiting Lebanon many times in the past 15 years — although not recently I’m afraid. Like you I have run in the Beirut marathon (but only one time) and like you I have enjoyed the warm and gracious hospitality of the Lebanese people.

    I have also experienced the frustration of working in Lebanon. My own areas of interest lie in telecom reform/privatization and related matters — in which virtually nothing positive has happened in recent memory (at least in my opinion) and, given the political paralysis in which the country now finds itself, is unlikely to happen anytime in the foreseeable future.

    And yet, there is nowhere in the world that I would rather spend time than Lebanon.

    Lebanon offers a complex mixture of beauty, charm and frustration. Your letter has captured it all.

    Thank you for your letter and for your service.

  256. I was listening to NPR news to work in the USA this morning and to my delight your interview came on and I cried .. I read your letter at my desk and I cried..you are God’s Ambassador to Lebanon and FOR Lebanon…Please Please carry on ..

    Love..

  257. I live in California, thousands and thousands of miles away from Lebanon and the UK, when I heard your story on NPR the national radio I immediately had tears in my eyes, I have no relationship with the United Kingdom or Lebanon but when I heard the warmth of humanity it just broke me down and I had tears in my eyes… I believe if all diplomats and politicians think the same steps as you Tom this world would be a very different world today, after reading your stories, I realize that it really does not take much to touch human hearts, what do you have done in Lebanon should be an example to all diplomats around the world, with your diplomacy you have melt down big ion walls and broken down Iron fences… I hope you get deployed in a country which really needs it diplomat like you to build bridges and bring societies together. hats off to you! Thomas Fletcher… One of the greatest diplomats of our century! Hass Rezai

  258. Mr Ambassador,

    That’s a hell of a goodbye letter, it will surely be brought up many times in the future. You’re a great guy, I hope you will open your heart the same way for the people of your next posting. They are lucky to have you.

    Yalla bye
    until you return

  259. Seriously, i would want him to get the lebanese passport and be elected as our next president.

  260. THANK YOU TOM
    FOR SAYING WHAT WE ARE SAYING FROM YEARS.
    YOU ARE OUR EMBASSADOR TO THE UNIVERSE FOR EVER LEBANESE WAY 🙂
    CHEERS
    YALLA SEE YA SOON NSHALLAH.

  261. the Brits had an early start on government and law, they proved it in India, Nigeria, Kenya and Palestine there was turmoil once they left. Lebanon with all its archaic ala Ottoman laws is still the center of tolerance, higher learning and innovation in the whole of the M E. no matter who replaces the Ambassador it won’t take long for the replacement to fall in love with the people and try to help, hopefully with more success.

  262. Lebanon is the beauty that all tyrants want to own, like dark clouds events come and go
    politics are still ala Turka and still works but the power that is and will be is the people
    and to understand how it works no books or videos will help, you have to experience
    life with all its glory and failures that Lebanon has to offer.

  263. let me share this with you, maybe it will reflect the innocence or simplicity of the Lebanese and its true reflection, when news of the war of independence of Israel in ’48 was spreading in the mountains and villages
    one farmer upon hearing the news ” akhadoo Haifa mahakenash, kadou Yaffa mahakenash, ama yokhoodoo el Kuds, wallahi bil khazaranat.
    they took Yaffa, we did not talk, took Jaffa we stayed silent, but taking Jerusalem, I swear we will get the cains out. you could cry or laugh but this is the reality

  264. Dear Mr.Fletcher,
    You have been an extraordinary ambassador in an extra ordinary country.Thank you for believing in our country and describing the Lebanese as the most resilient people in the world.
    The efforts you exerted to try to maintain peace in this country are appreciated.
    We had the honour to meet you at our school “Al chayah the 2nd. Public school about three months ago.I was among the school staff when you visited the school accompanied by Mr.Gordon Brown and the minister of education.You were great! I can assure that you are a humble,kind-hearted ,intelligent ,honest and motivated with a sense of humor,determination and smiling face.
    I don’t think there will be another you.We have to wait so long to meet or have an ambassador like you.We wish that your successor will resemble you;as I read one of the comments which said,”we want to copy and paste the next ambassador.”,but I say ,”your personality needs clowning.”Pope John Paul II was a turning point in the Catholic church,and you are a turning point among all ambassadors whether they were British or from other nationalities.I agree with Mr.Nemaat Frem who proposed that you should be offered the Lebanese Nationality and then elected as a president for the republic.
    Last but not least,I wish youGood Luck in your new post and wish to see you a minister for the British foreign affairs who tries to help Lebanon as much as he loved it ;next the prime minister of Great Britain!
    We will always be proud of you and thank you for being an ambassador for Lebanon after being the British ambassador to Lebanon.
    With my warmest wishes.
    Lina

  265. Sorry for the spelling mistake I made in my comment”I mean cloning not clowning”
    Thanks!Lina

  266. Mr Fletcher’s words “the dividing line is not between Christians and Muslims, but between people who believe in coexistence and those who don’t” should be taken up worldwide as a rallying cry for for peace and to conquer the “Satanic State” (ISIL) hooligans!

  267. I found all the fawning over Mr Fletcher rather ironic,I first read an article about his departure on the BBC Magazine section and got the link to his departure letter.One of his great boasts was that they helped the Lebanese to create watch towers just like they had formerly in Northern Ireland,an intrusive device and a greet source of hatred from the minority nationalist community.Take off the “Rose tinted”glasses and acknowledge that nearly all the so called”trouble spots in the world were a british creation including the Middle east.lebanon,Iran’s residual hatred of britain for its past interference.Burma,Sri Lanka,North of Ireland.Cyprus,carving up of middle east map,need i go on.Britain needs to admit its sins as the late Tony Benn said ,not try to depict itself through some ambassador or other as an honest broker.Britain still indulges in alot of treachery and deceit.A very junior partner of the usa ,”glory’ays long past but still feels the pressure of the white man’s burden.

  268. Not appreciated, were comments like “…Botox, Diva, warlords, dictators, mafias, wasta, free buttock lift and…hummus? ” …a zest of hidden cynicism?… Do we need to hear this from a departing respectable dignitary?

    I truly wish that future-assigned Ambassadors would focus more on appreciating, preserving and nurturing the richness of Lebanon reflected in our family values, our rooted traditions and our natural beauty. Bye Bye? YES…but we’ll keep our YALLA!

  269. Tom. Thank you for inspiring. Export of beliefs reinforced by positive actions on the ground. Could a higher commodity ever be found in the land? Well done indeed. Richard

  270. Lebanon is managed from a Macro layer of powerful interests.
    Lebanon is currently sitting in a picolayer…many layers down executing on the Macro layers interests.
    The layer Lebanon needs to achieve is a Virtual government in a cloud environment to bypass all of these layers.
    I blame the Lebanese for the state we’re in. We can easily download and translate a constitution of a country like Denmark or Sweden etc and vote in a Virtual government that can run the country online not based on sects.
    This layer will be above all layers. That’s how I see forward movement of Lebanon.

  271. A most excellent inspiration for all. Your exceptional role and presence will certainly be missed by many of us…We count on your continuing engagement.

  272. Mr. Ambassador,

    Some will agree and some would disagree with what you said.

    Others will go to the source of our troubles, the religious rift amongst Christians in the East, the Muslim rise and their conquests towards the Eastern Mediterranean Basin and leaving behind them settlers who suffer from divided loyalty, the Ottoman Empire and its effects, the Sykes–Picot Agreement, Arab Nationalism (Abdul Naser), Lahor’s Muslim Summit/Convention and the said secret resolves to uproot the Christians from the Middle East, starting from Lebanon (Le Figaro-80s), etc, and last but not least the unlucky Christians of Lebanon having two dorks such as Michel Aoun and Samir Jeajea who brought shame on us like no one ever did.

    Mr. Ambassador, there are many views and paradigms to consider. What we need from Great Britain is to extend military support to our armed forces, offensive and defensive weaponry, in the quality and quantities needed, and to replace it once consumed in the speed needed. Thank you for the “erected watch towers on our boarders” but that will not win the war. It will detect infiltrations.

    Today, we need Great Britain to help our Armed Forces become the single and overwhelming military muscle in town in order to keep away the threat on our boarders and internally the Palestinian/Syrian refugee camps and the military arm of Hizbullah.

    Thank you for being a great support.

    Best
    Danny

  273. Life is all about experience,we live,observe and learn everyday, We as Lebanese “citizens” live and observe but unfortunately “never learned”Excuse me here if I sound like am generalising, we blame the politicians for our failure then we relect them, we always blame our startigical sensitive location on the world map, we talk and talk everyday about the change without taking any action towards the first milestone of the change journey, on the contrary we brag about it every day, oh ma it is ok el balad mashi despite everything people go out every night and enjoy a dinner, shisha, drink or whatever …
    I can go on and on about it until my eyes flips upside down and my phone battery drains to the last drop.
    Thank you Mr. Ambassador for the beautiful meaningful words of wisdom, it meant a lot to me and to all of my fellow citizens.
    Sincerely,
    Samer Beyh
    Founder of Globanese Social Network.

  274. May I take the liberty of misquoting you? This is the frontline for a much bigger battle. The real dividing line is not between Christianity and Islam, Sunni and Shia, Palestinian and Israeli, East and West. It is between people who believe in coexistence, and those who don’t.

  275. Your Excellency,
    While I was reading your touching farewell letter, I had many comments similar to above genuine comments, therefore I cannot add much, except that I read between the lines 2 “conspiracies”:
    -The first one by Great Britain not extending your mandate!!
    -The second one your style trying to undermine Shakespeare !!

    I admire your remarkable personality,with a great mind and a warm heart.
    I wish most Lebanese politicians and their followers join forces to extend your mandate as a unique Ambassador, in order to learn from you how to love Lebanon, and how reform it.

    I wish you the best of success .

    Respectfully
    Ghassan Hussami

  276. Your Excellency,

    Everyone including me are so amazed how you captured and described the Lebanese reality. Having said that how do we change this reality? how to move forward? and how to regain our country back? considering all of the circumstances, facts and realities you have lived and very well put into an amazing goodbye speech.

    I, the people and the Lebanon will miss an ambassador like Tom Fletcher.

    From the bottom of my heart… Thank you your excellency

    YALLA BYE !

  277. Dear Ambassador ,
    I like all your letter. Specially when you said you will be an ambassador for Lebanon. I hope you will never forget it, and help us all over the world. Yalla, bye, a bientot
    Claude Scheib

  278. Dear Mr. Ambassador,
    Thank you for taking the time to write and share.
    After this reading, I am again buying shares in Lebanon 2020 and beyond.
    We would be honored and flattered to keep us in mind and to stay our ambassador for Lebanon.
    Best Regards

  279. Dear Mr Fletcher

    It was a great experience for me to read your letter. I had loved British politics before and by coming across your brilliant letter, I got infatuated with British politics differently. I had requested for being one of FCO members in my country, but I did not get any response. Maybe I am not qualified for that position of embassy which is offering.
    I hope one day I will be a politician like you to make a difference. As you said it is time to thrive not survive. Will be s happy to keep in touch with you

  280. Mr Fletcher, just to tell you that we didn’t forget you, we still thinking about you because your words are engraved within our hearts forever.

    God bless…

  281. Thank you Mr. Ambassador.

    In my Opinion and personal experience, England, America and Lebanon are great countries.

    I am talking about the people, not their governments, secret services or the political parties based on religions.

    Thank you for caring

Comments are closed.

About Tom Fletcher

Tom Fletcher was appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Lebanese Republic in August 2011. Tom was born in Kent, and studied at Harvey Grammar School (Folkestone) and Oxford University (Hertford…

Tom Fletcher was appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Lebanese Republic in August 2011.

Tom was born in Kent, and studied at Harvey Grammar School (Folkestone) and Oxford University (Hertford College), graduating with a First class degree in Modern History. He has an MA in Modern History, and is a Senior Associate Member of St Anthony’s College for International Studies, Oxford.

He is married to Louise Fletcher and they have two sons, Charles (born 2006) and Theodor (born 2011). Tom enjoys political history, cricket (Strollers CC), and mountains, and is the co-founder of 2020 (a progressive think tank).

Tom was awarded the Companion of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the 2011 New Year’s Honours, for services to the Prime Minister.

Tom posts on Lebanon and the Middle East on this site. For posts on innovative statecraft, please visit Naked Diplomat-Foreign Policy without the Frills.

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