Monday, July 24, 2006

From my brother in Lebanon

. . . The first seven days here, I would type whenever I could to Josef, my favourite cousin who lives in Germany. I probably have told you about him. Brief, he is a person who touches my inner waters, which is why I love him so much. I had started counting the days that stood between us forty days before he was supposed to come. That night, when we were done with (the exquisite) Fairuz, and when Ma called us, telling us to meet her and Pa at our mountain house because it was not safe to sleep in Beirut, I thought of Josef and asked God not to take him away. I repeated "please please please" fervently. The subsequent morning we were woken up by bombings, and the Israeli army was bombing the airport. It was six days before Josef would come.

I started typing to the boy that same day I guess. I made extra sure that I was not being dramatic. I wanted to tell him what was going on without big words, without "mourning" was the word that I used. Over seven days I typed four pages, by the end of which I had told him nothing. Something in me said that he was too young and innocent, that it was futile to worry him. By the end of the four pages, I had dropped narrative and levitated to shreds and bits. I told Josef, like I used to last summer, of the dreams that I had and the songs that I listened to in my head. I recounted to him a couple of pieces from a beautiful nationalistic song by Marcel Khalifé called "Rita." I did not tell him of the 300 citizens dead then far, of the 1000 people wounded, and the 600,000 "naazihine," people like me who had to leave their houses. I am very lucky to have a mountain house.

To-morrow I shall hopefully visit my house in order to get my passport, for Ma said that things might worsen and that the Israeli army might invade Lebanon. In case it did, we would have to leave, at least until things get settled. I shall see my favourite cat and would bring with me my corn badge and CD's. When we fly, I do not want to mourn. I just mourn my feeling of usefulness to my country.

When I see my country being raped and know that all I can do as a citizen of the glorious Lebanese Republic is flee and flee some more, I wonder what I am good for. I feel guilty because all I am having from this war is being trapped in my mountain house and hearing bombings on my home region from afar, but had I lost my mother, would it have mattered? Would I have loved Lebanon any better? Love is treatment.

I feel guilty because I miss Josef while people are being slaughtered, but I miss Josef. How many apologies do I owe my country? Before I started typing this, I stood at the balcony railings and thought that I am very sane although I have been bouncing between two mountain towns for ten days so far, then I thought of how sane I would be in ten weeks and in ten months. My God, people lived worse than that for seventeen consecutive years. How did they? . . . (more)


Firas said...

What's up Ashraf. It's been a while.

Firas from IC.

arch.memory said...

Firas! How good to hear from you! Wish it were in better times... I did hear from Eve that the Firas on LBF is you... What a small world, huh? I hope you brother and your family all alright.
My best regards,

Daniel said...

For what is being done to your country, can I express my sadness and horror? Besides my blog, it's all I can do.

Would I were younger, I would go to fight against the Ungodly even though I'm a pacifist. Would I were younger...

arch.memory said...

All the time I wish I could do more, Daniel, but sometimes words are all we have. You are doing a great job on your blog. Please keep it up!