Sharekkna storytellers write:
All the crises of the world are at the moment congregated in 10452 square kilometres. Yes! It is inside Lebanon, the littlest and most charming spot on earth, where the world decided to throw its trash and absurdity. We had a red flag representing the bloodshed for liberation before 1940. Now red epitomizes the blood of 4 million persons who have been bleeding since 1940. The Beirut Port Explosion is a cherry on top of everything red. The sounds of people are roaming inside the heads of each other. Every single person in Beirut is hurt.
I live only 2 kilometres away from Beirut Port, in a silent neighbourhood that has witnessed a bloody civil war and sectarianism for years but surged out of the trauma in peace. I thought that this ended. But August 4 awakened everything again. On August 4, Beirut trembled under our feet. An earthquake for the first moment, Oh no! a seism! Not bombardment! No! Not all of these. In Lebanon, we’re used to hiding during wars. We have shelters and we know where to stand and hide back to back to the walls when there is bombing by whoever. We know which is the safest wall to stand behind. On August 4, no one could hide. There was no place to hide behind. There was no wall to side with. The floors and the ceilings, the walls and the windows, the doors and the glass, were all exploding inside the houses. Like every single person in Beirut, I have been overwhelmed by an acute sense of helplessness and anxiety for seconds as I have watched my home descend into a war zone and my city fall away to a battle precinct. 1 week passed and I don’t remember having lost sleep and appetite and not being able to think about anything else for years on end ever before.
Talking to others, we are all on the same lane. As another week of violence grips our dear country, normal life is on hold. People cannot work, schools and universities are closed, hospitals are inoperative, roads are paralyzed and everyone is terrified. Every time I go out, it feels like I am going to a battlefield with a strong need to pack a helmet and a gas mask into my bag, besides the Covid face mask and the alcohol sterilizer bottle. What happened to you my dear country? Your people are riding a rollercoaster. No one knows what will crop up. No one knows where are we heading.
In the global news, the Weekend donates 300,000 $ to Global Aid for Lebanon. The baby born moments before the blast is alive and well. The dead are buried. The injured are cured. The houses are being reconstructed by civil and international support. Representatives of Beirut blast victims call for an international investigation. Siemens to provide Lebanon with free electricity following the blast. Everybody is offering free medical consultations to anyone affected by the Beirut blasts. To me, this is all misplaced help and support that will serve up to nothing? Crises usually expose anger in populations and unleash frustration. But there is nothing. The people of Lebanon are numb. They are lost. They are shocked, traumatized, and cruelly shaken.
It was an ominous signal; perhaps a turning point. I took a drive to the seaside, to the not-anymore-existing dear Beirut Port, there is nothing. I gazed at the sea where the Doulos library boat used to park. Nothing but roadblocks, broken pieces of everything, and hardly any protesters. Beirut is now gloomy. Speechless, and time, this time, will never heal.