Dawhet El Hoss:
When I was first writing this entry, my family and I were still in Dawhet El Hoss, in our outside-Beirut summer house in the luxurious Dawha Hills residential compound. When I say luxurious, I mean it has practically everything, a pool, playgrounds, and a gym, everything except for a tiny detail: people! It got lonelier and lonelier after July twelfth. Cars driving up the highway and down the hill became a rare sight, and heavy silence, mixed with occasional sounds of Israeli planes and falling bombs were all we could hear. A week into the war we decided to move back to Beirut. You see, "up there", all we did was listen to the news. Imagine five people, trapped in place isolated from all civilization (including hospitalization facilities), doing nothing but keeping track of the rising casualty toll, looking at bloody pictures, and trying to predict where and when the next bombing is going to be. To put it in lay terms, we were going insane! We were practically at each other's throats. For fun we would sit on the balcony with our binoculars and watch as the Israeli bombs fell on the runways of Beirut International Airport. Staring at the blazing fires at night was a real treat. Suddenly, balconies with a panoramic view were not such a great outlet. Eventually the bombs got closer and closer. We thought that if we were indeed to die, we would like people to actually know about it. Proper burial services would be nice, rather than have birds pick at our rotting bodies. I am sorry for the imagery, but that is how it was in Dawha: us, the birds, and the blue sky!
Next thing we know we are packed in one hour and on our way to Beirut. I was with my mom in the car, while dad was driving the other car and had my two sisters with him. Mom, being the religious, sentimental, on-the-verge-of-a-nervous-breakdown that she is, was sobbing and reminiscing the whole time while driving me and my cat and the maid to Beirut. Mom's raging emotions and misty eyes, with her already deviated sense of staying in the middle of one lane (she is one of those in-between-two-lanes drivers!), had me at the edge of my seat, checking the road for any rubble that we might "accidentally" bump into. I genuinely felt bad at the sights I was seeing, but I had to keep my composure because what mom was feeling was a tad deeper than an anxiety attack. One of the tunnels that we usually take and lead from Khaldeh to Ouzai'i was raided in the middle, leaving a huge hole on top of the tunnel through which the metal skeleton hung down and sunny rays shone through. The wreckage forced drivers to take an extreme left to avoid the ruins that were all over the ground and could possibly damage their cars.
A typical afternoon on our living room looks something like this: Dad is zapping through seven or eight TV news channels. Getting a comprehensive idea of the situation is crucial, especially when, in order to get a hint of what is going on, you, as a viewer, have to add up and average all numbers that are thrown at you from all directions. After listening, processing, frowning and mumbling to himself, he turns to us and waits for mom to shower him with questions. Mom's approach is rather a plea, she literally begs dad to tell her that everything is going to be fine. That is far-fetched of course, and dad tries to burst her bubble with a smile. He is a realistic person, too realistic, so realistic that he is pessimistic about the whole ordeal. But he does with such poise and acceptance that it almost kills us. Mom, like some expert on middle-eastern issues (aren't we all at this point?!) starts discussing with my father the dire consequences of the events. When she finds she is not going anywhere bright with those deliberations, she resorts to doubting the patriotism of Hizballah, wishing Prime Minister Rafic Hariri were still alive, condoning US foreign policy, and cursing "whoever led us to where we are now", namely Mrs. Condy Rice, also known to her as the Anaconda!
As for me, my masters degree is on hold for now. I enjoyed the first few days of vacation, but then started feeling rather useless, vegetable like, watching TV and breaking the record for the most DVDs and movies seen in one day. So I joined the ranks of volunteers at my faculty in AUB. I go there daily, from nine to four. I must say, it is quite delightful working again, even if the nature of work is quite mechanical. Picture this, a production line, much like a bulb factory during the thirties, long before everything operated on machines. Like human robots, we just pick stuff and package them. I even took my sister with me yesterday, but I think today she woke up with a permanent back ache and an even more enduring thought that she should kill me if I even mention work to her again! At night, we get together with the neighbors and watch a series called Lost. Due to the earlier lack of social interaction, I have actually grown a fixation on the characters of this series, especially an Iraqi character whose Mediterranean accent just kills me! I think my addiction has suddenly taken a sick psychotic turn… but who cares?!
I am sorry if what I posted has a bit of sense of humor, or at least I hope it does. I just think we have cried enough, haven't we? Israelis do not think so, but I believe that we have to keep going and smiling occasionly. I hope I did not offend anyone in this entry, and if I did, it was not intended. I am trying to adjust, like everybody else!That's it for me… until I post again, in more hopeful conditions, I extend to you my love and prayers for safety!