The Lebanese love long goodbyes standing at the door. So, being the perfect guest in our imperfect nation, UK ambassador to Lebanon Tom Fletcher indulged us in the most touching extended "yalla bye", and a truly thoughtful farewell gift, a much-needed dose of inspiration. This is what we took away from his beautifully-written letter to the confusing little country he has come to love over the past four years.

He's become so Lebanese that he's mastered the Lebanese "latché":

"Unlike your politicians, I can’t extend my own term."


He's also mastered the art of alliteration:

"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."


Fun fact:

"I was even offered a free buttock lift – its value exceeded our £140 gift limit, so that daunting task is left undone."

("Daunting" #lolz)


This might just be the worst sound in the world:

"When we think we’ve hit bottom, we hear a faint knocking sound below."


Props for quoting the poet of the year:

"Kahlil Gibran said ‘you have your Lebanon, I have mine'."



"The Lebanon I will remember is not asking for help, but for oxygen."


The Lebanese are like cockroaches (#winning):

"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."


This scary phrase:

"… box office brutality of Da’esh"


Shifting from import to export:

"You can build the country you deserve. Maybe even move from importing problems to exporting solutions."


Lebanon's extremes (and more alliteration):

"You can’t just party and pray over the cracks."



"You need to be stronger than the forces pulling you apart. Fight for the idea of Lebanon, not over it."

world peace


"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."


These building lessons, and maybe a nod to Maya Angelou towards the end?

"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."


Somebody write this book:

"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."


On Lebanon's beauty:

"You gave me Bekaa sunrises and Cedars sunsets."



On the highs and lows:

"I loved your hopeless causes and hopeful hearts, shared your tearful depths and your breathless heights."



These stages are not exclusive to ambassadors, except maybe the last one:

"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’m finishing my time as an Ambassador to Lebanon, but with your permission I’ll always be an ambassador for Lebanon."



This is where we all cried:

"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."


Fletcher has given us enough reasons to grant him an honorary Lebanese passport (Hey, if Salma got one, why not?!) Thank you for all your work and lovely words Mr. Fletcher.

Read the complete letter here .