This is Beirut

This is Beirut is designed to give voice to the millions of Lebanese who are suffering while the world sits silently. We are not interested in propagating hatred. We want the world to witness through the eyes of Lebanese citizens the destruction and the suffering that has been brought on in the name of defense. If you have a story, poem or letter to share, please email We will work together to end this violence.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

War Diaries- Day 18

Dear World

July 29th, Day 18

Over 600 deceased.

Over 3220 injured.

Over 800 000 displaced.

I don't like to give numbers. I don't know how significant they are. I believe that, from the moment one person is murdered, from the moment one person is suffering, finding a solution is a must because people's right to a lead a decent life should not even be asked for. I should simply be there.

Today, a friend of mine told us a funny event that happened to her, and I have been hearing the same story from people around me. She received an international call on her cellular phone, at 3:30 in the morning. Being too tired to wake up and answer, she ignored the sound and went back to sleep. As the phone rang back at 4:30 in the morning, she answered and heard: "The State of Israel speaking." In a state of panic, she hanged up, refusing to hear what they had to say next. But all the stories I have heard give some insights about the content of the phone call being: "Beware of Hezbollah."

I cannot but express, once again, all my respects to the integrity and pride of the Israeli Government. Killing civilians is not enough. Nor is bombing bridges, roads, homes, hospitals, trucks, cars and motorcycles (which makes you want to live in a tent and move on the back of a donkey). Now, they start their psychological bombing, similar to the one expressed in American movies where the murderer traumatizes his victim with a series of threatening phone calls. My friend actually woke up in the morning, thinking she had been hallucinating, then checked her sanity by browsing the "received calls" section of her cellular phone. Brilliant strategy. I hope they are aware of how desperate their approach is. Personal phone calls? There's really nothing I can say about this.

On television, Marcel Ghanem is hosting the war photographers, who have been exposing some of their unpublished photographs and video shoots. Unpublished because, if people see them in the morning on their daily newspaper, their very desire to go through the day will be compromised. And I am seeing things I have never seen before. Hands, detached. Masses of flesh, what once was a human being living his life. A man killed in his own living room. An elderly holding a box with what's left of his belongings, trying to circulate in the core of his pulverized neighborhood. And that is only a selection. The photographers are talking about their experiences, how many times death skipped them by pure chance. They talk, and show photographs, and it sounds like a story, a nightmare, our current reality. I am thinking how beautiful it would be to organize a live exhibit of these photographs, not through the net, but printed, framed, exhibited in a glossy museum. So that people can look and see, so that nobody says that the media is distorting the facts and numbers.

An exhibit now, so that people can watch and actually react. If we do it in ten years, it will be just another human disaster that we regret and cry. It is just a thought… Because it seems to me that, if there's one thing that can (barely) still shake humans around the world, it is frozen moment of suffering printed on Kodak paper.

As a closure, I would like to propose to the Israeli Government other means of puzzling our heads via the phone, probably less costly:

  1. Missed calls, our favorite Lebanese code system. One missed call: "beware". Two missed calls: "evacuate". Three missed calls: "too late, you're dead".
  2. If missed calls seem too fuzzy, they can still resort to SMS. "Feeling safe? Don't! We are constantly watching" or "Please purchase candles ASAP, we will be bombing electricity plants soon."

So much care brings tears to my eyes, really.

"Allo? Hayeteh!"

A Lebanese Citizen


At 1:20 PM, Blogger bluebird of paradise said...

i am so sorry for what is happening to your country. is there anything i can do?


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