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.

Friday, August 04, 2006

War Diaries Day 23

Dear World
August 03, Day 23
I will not talk about the war details today.
Everyday, opening my mails and seeing these series of bad news in my mailbox is draining me, so I decided to take a break from the news and simply go through the day.
I decided to spare you from the war news. Just for one day…
The work routine is starting to re-establish itself. And as I go to work everyday, I realize the absurdity of the whole situation. Let me make it clearer.
I graduated as a graphic designer, and work in a design house in the center of Beirut.
And here's my confession: today, my task was to design Ramadan Cards (not for Lebanon, but for another Arab country). Don't be surprised. It is actually a very fulfilling task, makes you feel like Marie Antoinette telling the French people about the hungry population: "Let's feed them cookies!"
Ramadan cards in golden and silver colors, on glossy or matte paper. Embossed or de-bossed? Big dilemma. Ramadan cards that say "Happy Ramadan" and "Seasons Greetings" in fancy calligraphies or elegant geometric styles, organic or geometric shapes, the choice is yours.
I spent two hours creating a Kufi Arabesque that said "Ramadan Kareem" and I cannot describe to you my satisfaction when I succeeded in fitting it into a perfect square (Hurray!) Ramadan cards here, Ramadan Cards there, Ramadan Cards everywhere from 9:30 in the morning till 3:30 in the afternoon. Intersected every once in a while by some bad news about the war, or some threat by the Israeli state, or some phone call by a friend living abroad who, strangely enough, I end up comforting that the war will soon be over and that everything will be okay (isn't it supposed to be the opposite?) Or the office manager who silently climbs up the stairs to check if we are working properly because one wasted minute of work means one wasted cent.
Less than 20 meters away from the office stands the Sanayeh Garden. One of the living witnesses of all the nightmares we have been going through since the late seventies. Our only source of greenery during the civil war. Our Sunday picnic spot, our very own Champ de Mars and Parc de la Villette, in smaller, much smaller scale of course. The very place where, at the age of 7, I bought my first pet, a rabbit called Lulu who ended up, after 2 years under our supervision, eating ham sandwiches and chewing gum. Now inhabited by hundreds of refugees waiting to be housed in an indoor space. Sleeping under the moonlight on bed sheets lined on the grass. Sitting under the trees or by the bushes and waiting. And waiting. I am glad the Sate of Israel is assisting us in being in touch with Mother Nature, but is it really the time for this?
No. It's the time for Ramadan Cards, of course.
Happy Holidays,
A Lebanese Citizen.


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