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, December 08, 2006

The Post War Diaries

Dear World

I entered the Monoprix Concorde yesterday and a glittering sparkling
Christmas tree was standing at the door. Inside, life was going on in
an attempt to create a peaceful and happy Christmas mood maintained by
Christmas carols playing on the shop's speakerphones, Christmas
brochures handed at the door and small chocolate Santa clauses wrapped
in colored aluminum sheets. Fruits and vegetables were fresh and
colored, branded products were yelling to be bought, people were
shopping in a fake calmness and patience. These days, everything
around feels like a lie.

I wrote a month of war diaries upon the Israeli assault on Lebanon in
a shout of despair and helplessness, as an attempt to get a reaction
against violence and wasted lives. The war ended and all is as numb
and dumb, including myself.

Today, Lebanon could be on a threshold of a civil war. Is it? Isn't
it? I have no clue. People are talking here and there, wondering,
questioning or giving very certain answers from very reliable
sources. (I would like to note here that all reliable sources in
Lebanon can also be referred to as gossip.)

Whoever has been following up the news in Lebanon would know that
right now, the country is divided. Needless to say between who and who
because it is meaningless. Mainly between two sides both heavily
anchored to their ideals and not willing to make any compromises.
Stubborn and stuck. Manipulating and manipulated. Half of the people
are currently residing in tents and sleeping on the floor in the area
that, not long ago, was witnessing an immense waste of money by Saudi
tourists and Lebanese Bourgeoisie and Nouveaux Riches over abundant
food, ugly (but supposedly trendy) clothes and other useless things
that contribute in making you feel complete when you truly are a
complete fool. An area that was once the ground of expensive glossy
cars and huge Hummers bought or rented at a rate that, if spent in a
little more awareness, would solve the poverty problem on the face of
our planet. Downtown Beirut.

I don't know what to think. I don't know who to believe, whose side to
be at. Some people claim this conflict is that of the poor against the
rich. Others that it is the poor headed against the smart. Others
that it is Iran and Syria against the US, and others that it was all
planned by Israel, as usual. I have been living weeks of talks and
arguments, assumptions and uncertain certainties, intolerant
expressions and stupid remarks, irresponsible leaders and numb ones.
And I am fed up.

Somewhere, I feel everyone is right but on another hand, this whole
scenario is still hard for me to comprehend and accept. A waste of
time, money and human energy to fulfill the huge inflatable egos of
the political leaders. Leaders whose photographs carry so much more
weight than the people themselves. All of them. Greed and arrogance,
delicately coated in flaming speeches, rich in style but devoid of any
sane human content. Does it take really that much for people to live

I walk on the street and I don't recognize the people anymore. Some
political, religious, intellectual or social identification has taken
over their brains and they refuse to see that there is no real problem
in Lebanon, but only trouble-makers. I look at the infinite posters
hanging here and there, on the poles, on the billboards, over
balconies, on the walls, on the doors, on the windows, on the people,
on the cars, etc. Posters of leaders, dead leaders, surviving leaders.
Colored sheets of paper with some slogan that, repeated over and over
again, is emptied of its meaning and reduced to the status of some
cheap expression we throw to shut somebody up.

Do you want the truth? Of course you do.
What truth is it?
How valid is some truth when there's nothing true within us?

We have become mirrors of somebody's ideology and we are proud of it.
We go on the streets and shout it loud and clear as if it is a truth
for us. Is it?

And it kills me because, in the middle of all this mess, it is
becoming harder and harder for me to find myself. And I love it
because it is making me look. I love it because I am more confused
than ever, but I would rather be confused than sure from a "truth"
that could be nothing but utter nonsense.

Dear Leaders
Get off your stands and go home. Take a deep look at what you are
saying, doing and not doing and ask yourselves: what do you want? what
do you want to make out of this country? Because as long as you are in
a position where thousands of people are willing to execute your
orders, you better be clear and unselfish since anyways, someday you
will die and any profit you could have had out of this will go with
you to the grave. I am not being arrogant, I apologize if I sound so,
but if I were you, I would, as the French say, "rotate my tongue 7
times before speaking" and have a long and deep thinking about the
repercussions of my actions.

But hey, then again, aren't the international forces deciding everything for us?
Hell! I really know nothing!

Peace 'n' love
An air-headed Lebanese Citizen.


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