Showing posts from August, 2021

Abysmal and Inconsolable: A Day in the Life of A Lebanese Resident

Reader, brace yourself. I’m about to push you beyond your comfort zone. You’re being warned: the following sequence of events is not for the faint-hearted. Prepare for a freefalling nightmare of evils and darkness, a bottomless pit of misadventures. This story is about agony, grief, humiliation, inhumanity, and curse after curse after curse. After all, every day -- and not just today -- is now Friday the 13th in Lebanon. Imagine waking at half past 02:00, in the dead of night, choking on the insufferable Mediterranean heat and humidity of a treacherous summer. The air conditioner is off, the room is pitch black. You get up and fumble your way to the light switch, only to find there’s no electricity. You slide the window open, praying for a sea breeze, but the air is flat, dead, unforgiving. You’d been hearing all along about the state’s impending fuel shortages as a result of its inability to pay suppliers with its dwindling foreign reserves. But as with everything in wretched Leba

August 4, 2020: A Day That Will Forever Live in Lebanese Infamy

Every morning, my Google Photos app depicts a memory from the archive. Today, it was this capture from August 4, 2017: on the left, St. Georges Maronite Cathedral neighboring Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque, nestled in the heart of downtown Beirut. We often say that the beauty of Lebanon is in the peaceful coexistence of so many faiths, creeds, and sects, and this is one symbol-laden image. St. Georges Maronite Cathedral (left) and Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque, downtown Beirut. Three years to the day after this photo was snapped, one of the biggest non-nuclear explosions in the history of the world detonated in the port of Beirut. Annihilation doesn't begin to describe the aftermath: hundreds of lives were obliterated; thousands more, injured; hundreds of thousands, displaced; and large sections of the city and neighboring regions, completely leveled. Beirut was gutted, and its soul cast into an abyss of tribulation and mourning that continues to scale deeper and deeper fathoms as the days tran