In the aftermath of a freak event or a natural disaster, it is normal for guilt, pain and fear to be a part of the equation for those who witnessed it, but the absence of reliable formal state institutions to provide urgent support adds to the pile a giant burden on the backs of the youth in the city. The supportive void is so large, in the midst of an also gigantic Pandora’s box of ailments in the country, that the need for their informal manpower becomes incredibly urgent.
In great awe, we watched their leaked pictures after the meeting, which took place on the quiet away from the media. It was as if we just found out that Fairouz was real, that she has a house, a laugh and that her door was open… but not for us.
He picked up a pack of cigarettes to show me what was written on it: “Smoking kills,” he said, “Beirut kills, not smoking.” A little girl approached him, laying her face on his shoulder. He looked at me again and said: “I do not need help, just take the girl and her brother out of the country to live. I don’t want them to die here.”
The symbolic gallows and the calls for accountability for those at the top of the authority pyramid in Lebanon, not those at the bottom, was the problem that angered Lebanon’s leaders and perhaps made them really fear for their lives.
All we had wanted when we left was survival, but today we want something even simpler than that. We merely want a hug from our family members, to remove the mountainous weight from our chests, which the murderous Lebanese authorities have accumulated there. We wish to hear any good news from Lebanon, any… but unfortunately, our homeland only sends us sorrow, misery, oppression and more alienation.
In their capacity as the governing authority by force of arms, Hezbollah bears the major responsibility for the Beirut blast, but this never absolves those who turned a blind eye to the equation that brought him to power in the first place.
Smoke rising, bloody scenes, and broken-down cars in the middle of the road, as if we were in a Hollywood film. Women and children with torn clothes, their faces covered with blood, shocked, wounded and civilians’ faces injured with glass chips. It’s another Chernobyl.