The Lebanese Diaspora: The Arab Immigrant Experience in Montreal, New York, and Paris

By Dalia Abdelhady | Go to book overview

5
Conclusion
Global Predicaments and Cosmopolitan Quarrels

The fact of migration is extraordinarily impressive to me: that
movement from the precision and concreteness of one form of
life transformed or transmuted into another … And then of
course the whole problematic of exile and immigration enters
into it, the people who simply don’t belong in any culture; that
is the great modern, or, if you like, post-modern fact, the stand-
ing outside of cultures.

—Edward Said, “Reflections on Exile”

I was introduced to Michel through other Lebanese friends. He is the first respondent I interviewed, and luckily he quickly became interested in my research project and offered much appreciated help. He lived in New York but knew others in Montreal and Paris and promised to introduce me to them. In the fall of 2001 I joined him on my first trip to Montreal as a researcher. I had visited the city before but had not established any contacts with possible informants. We arrived in the city after dinner time, on a Friday night, without any plan to meet specific individuals or participate in organized events. I did not even know where I was spending the night but was promised that “everything would be taken care of.” Michel was confident that his friends would accommodate and entertain us for the weekend.

And Michel was right. As soon as we arrived in Montreal, we headed to the restaurant where one of his friend, Tony, was finishing his dinner. Tony invited us to join him for the evening, as he was headed to a social gathering at a friend’s residence. We obliged. Tony’s friend, our host for the evening, lived in Le Plateau, one of Montreal’s trendiest neighborhoods. Upon learning that he was a French immigrant and had been living in Montreal for five years, I immediately thought of asking him if he knew any Lebanese immigrants in Paris, but I did not want to seem opportunistic. A few Lebanese

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