Tuesday, August 01, 2006

An e-mail from my sister in Lebanon

To Bouboo in war

. . . We’re staying here, where the war hasn’t reached yet, for how long, I don’t know. There’s no bombing here, no shooting, the children play football all day, and people are gathered on the balconies having coffee and argheeleh, and yet we don’t feel safe. Every night when we go to bed, we fall sleep on the sound of “ta2irat el-2istitla3” [reconnaissance planes], and on bad nights, the low flying of military planes. The sound makes you wonder whether you’ll be tomorrow’s headlines or whether it’s someone else’s turn. Most nights I wonder if I’m going to wake up the next morning, and if we’re all going to be OK. I got used to sleeping on the ground after we decided that the living room is safer than our bedrooms (since the bedrooms have a panoramic view whereas the living room faces another building). For 19 days now, every night, I pull down the living room “tara7at” [cushions], spread my sheets and my pillow, and gather the things that are dearest to my heart in a small bag that I keep right next to me on the floor. Every morning I wake up, take my sheets and pillow to the bedroom, make my bed, put “el tara7at” back into place, and hide the small bag in my closet. The lies we like to believe…I’ve watched hundreds of buildings fall since the war started, and not one, not one, had a preserved room. They crumble like sandcastles, and the waves make no difference between a living room and a bedroom, or between a mattress and a bed.

I’m not complaining. In fact, I thank God a million times for being so lucky. I’ve seen families standing on the pavement waiting for a ride to safety when the Israelis threw “manshourat” [flyers] on El-Da7yeh, but all buses were full, and everyone was escaping with no regard to whom is left behind. I’ve seen men leave their houses and their stores with nothing in hand except pocket money and ID (el-hawiye), and then sit in a stranger’s house watching on TV their lives’ work and savings getting burnt into pieces. I’ve seen children, women, and elderly stacked in school corridors, waiting for someone to pass food and water for them and their babies. I’ve seen youngsters in the prime of their lives, sleeping in gardens (jnaynit el-sanayi3), being photographed and videotaped like zoo animals, deprived of any form of shelter and privacy. I’ve seen doctors in the South screaming on TV that the hospital in their surrounded (mo7asar) village needs anesthetics because they ran out of drugs and they’re operating on lucid and conscious patients. I’m talking about living people since I started out by saying that this e-mail is not going to be about the massacres, it’s not about the dead. . .

(Please read all here.)

6 comments:

heidi said...

Thank you for sharing your sister's thoughts. What city is she writing from? I wish you, your familiy and all the Lebanese and Palestinian people all the best and send my deepest regrets for what is happening.

Ank$ said...

its very sad indeed...i wish u all the best.
BTW nice blog.

thepoetryman said...

Ashraf,
My thoughts are with your sister and the rest of your dear family. I am glad she is able to send you word. Tell her I will write a poem regarding her bag of precious things.

Peace my friend...

chienchito said...

It is heart breaking to know your dear family trapped in this inhuman tragedy. I am grateful that you are able to hear from them. There are too many unnecessary lost already. May the rest the world to understand…

sterzilla said...

I really hope your family stay safe

Billy Jones said...

There's nothing I can add to this except... My anger makes it hard for me to... Good luck, Ashraf. Good luck my friend.