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.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

War diaries, day 29

Dear World

August 9, Day 29

I am sitting in my living room couch.

I could not write yesterday. I successfully reached the 'blank head' stage for a few minutes, but quickly got caught up by the presenter's voice on television.

There, they are talking about the risk of diseases spreading because of hygiene problems and lack of water in the refugees' centers. Some Lebanese political figures are vaccinating children and people are applauding. I don't understand why. They are even wearing black suits and sunglasses. At the bottom of the screen, the Flash News Gray Bands keeps on hypnotizing me, and announces that the number of victims of the Shiyyah massacre has risen up to 42. They have been gathering bodies from underneath the rubble for two days now. People buried under their own roofs. I hope none of you ever tries this. It is not a very nice way of going.

Outside, the generator is on. Starting next week, electricity will only be available half of the time. I don't hear the generator's roaring anymore, it has merged with my experience of silence. Bomb sounds still haven't, but they will someday. Baby steps.

I saw some photographs of South Dahieh today. I never saw so much rubble anywhere. The colorful 'vernacular' neighborhoods have taken a grey shade of dust and death. From time to time, a couch stands on the miraculously-standing balcony of a quarter of –what I think was- a house. Remains of street signs, shop signs, books, clothes, toys and other remains of household lives are scattered here and there and add specks of color to the de-saturated landscape.

Today, my neighbor told me that we have to get used to the war, that it might take months, so we better live with it.

We are, but it is not always easy. It is not easy to watch people die on television, familiar faces, familiar places simply crumbling before your eyes. It is not easy to entrap all your thoughts in a bubble where 'war', 'bomb', 'dead', are the only available words. It is not easy to wake up in the middle of the night to a deafening bomb sound, then force yourself to sleep again because we haven't slept in a month; to wake up every morning hoping that no carnage has taken place during your sleep, thanking life because you are still breathing. It is not easy to sit and watch a war when all you want to do is shake those politicians so that they wake up and look, and hopefully see.

It is not easy to choose not to dream.

Yet we did it and we are doing it everyday. Because somewhere, we know that this war can be a great growth for us. Everyday, it is bringing us closer to life, closer to death also. Anyways our life is not guaranteed. It is just that these days, the war made it more obvious. The risk of dying has grown a little bigger, so what? This will not keep us from living, as wonderfully as we can. We will just look at this war as an intensive training in living skills.

I guess one of men's biggest gifts is their ability to adapt.

I also guess that one of the Lebanese's people greatest gifts is their ability to adapt to non-adaptation because anyways, life is never 100% certain. And that's the wonder of it.

Alive and well living,

A Lebanese Citizen


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