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 amyabdou@gmail.com We will work together to end this violence.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

War diaries, day 22

Dear World

August 2nd, Day 22

I am going to work daily now. Sitting and working actually helps me overcome the anguish resulting from sticking my nose on the television and constantly watching that grey band that keeps repeating the same news over and over again. But still, even at work, I can't help checking the news websites for updates.

"Israel is considering bombing the depths of the Lebanese lands, including Beirut."

That was it. Enough to ruin my whole day. I couldn't help it. Somewhere I wanted to see that this was just a psychological torture, but my heart started pumping and cold fever started running through my body. Bombing Beirut. Where would everyone go? There's no place left to go anyways. Then rumors started running, rumors that they sent flyers over Beirut for people to evacuate. Rumors are the worst. Nobody knows anything and yet people talk. This is when your neighbor becomes your worst enemy, and you become your mothers'.

It is at this stage that I started thinking. Why am I doing all of this? Why am I opposing this war? Is it really a concern for humanity or simply an instinctive self preservation?

I was talking to my sister when the war exploded, and I was asking her how it was possible for people to see a war on television and yet not move a finger. And she said "Well, we didn't move a finger during Kosovo or the Iraq war."

Self preservation. Maybe not exactly. It is just that it is only when disaster strikes you that you see the scale of it. I watched for years massacres on television and never felt concerned. I saw the most terrible photographs of the wars in Rwanda, Palestine, Iraq and didn't feel the revolt. And I am trying to see why. Maybe because these people did not resemble me. Their skin color was different, I could not understand their language, their dress code was foreign to me, so I excluded the priority of doing something for them.

I am not drawing any conclusions here, I am only thinking out loud. Why I it so hard to get an immediate cease fire? Why is it so hard for the forces in question to see the human calamity that is happening? Is it because these children dying are not Playstation and Bratz kids? Is it because the women dying don't look much like the international stereotype? Is it because they are not ashamed of screaming in anger and displaying their deepest emotions in whichever way they can? Is it because they dress different?

I have no clue. I have no clue what makes us look at another human being and yet be able to exclude him. All I know is that, once you know what pain is, you don't want anyone to go through it. And that is the problem. Israel, the US, everyone supporting this have not known enough pain yet. And they should because somewhere it's a gift. Simply looking at another human being and knowing what they are going through.

The electricity just cut. I lit the neon and, except for the laptop's light, the house is bathing in darkness. And I am unable to sleep, once again, because I don't want to wake up at another explosion's sound.

Day by day, this is how we are living now. Everything around us has stopped and we are moving in a slow motion. Slowness is not a problem, it is a space to look, hopefully see something. I am just wondering, when all this is over, if it is over, whether we will be able to go on.

What a question. Of course we will. There's no other choice anyways, better deal with it.

Day to day, hour to hour, moment to moment.

My deepest apologies if I am not making any sense today. 22 days of war can be really exhausting for one's brain cells. Anyways we are bathing in a totally mad situation, it is okay if we gather a little bit of madness within us at some point. It keeps us safe from the routineā€¦

"When people run in circles it's a very, very mad world".

Love,

A Lebanese Citizen

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