Monday, July 31, 2006



Tomorrow my life will attempt to return to normal.

Tomorrow, i'll go to work for the first time since this disaster began.


But today, I hope everyone goes to sleep with the promise of something better.

Today, I want the nightmares stop.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

A Rag Doll's Plea

Dear all,

I am a little rag doll who has lost her owner. Yesterday she played with me, combed my hair, and showed me off to all her friends. There were quite a few of them, all huddled together in the basement. For a moment I was lost as a little boy grabbed me by the arms and tossed me high into the air, but then my owner rescued me and cradled me in her arms once again.

Today, I am discarded, just another toy buried underneath a pile of stones, which used to be our playroom.
My owner, that beautiful girl is laying near by, eyes closed, clothes torn, her fragile body coated in white dust. Has she become an angel? She seems to be at peace, I wonder when she'll wake up and keep me safe in her arms. I am a bit scared... I heard rockets overhead, but i'm used to them by now. My owner used to count them, but she is silent now, so I guess she doesn't know how to count that much.

People are running around me. I guess the game of hide and seek is over. Quick! Wake up! Let's hide in the toilet!
Quick! I see a man wearing a red cross coming towards you, lifting you gently... Why don't you take me along? Aren't I your favorite doll? You promised! You promised!

I'm worried now. Your nap usually lasts 1 hour, and since there has been constant bombing you haven't been getting much sleep, but you were never quiet for so long. Why aren't you singing? Why aren't you soaking up the sun, teasing your brother, hiding his slippers?

Then I see your mother, the woman who washes me when I get dirty after being dragged around the house all day, but she doesn't pick me up as usual. She is crying and calling your name, over and over. Answer her! Why are you so silent? Where are the others? Why is there so much noise? Who are all these people?

Wait! Pick me up! Tell me what is going on!Don't take her away!We haven't finished playing... We haven't... She promised to comb my hair before we left Qana. She promised...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Poetic injustice

We are a butterfly still immersed in our cocoon
Isolated from the rest of the world
We are suspended - left out to dry: dripping out patriotism, leaking pride

Yet they expect us to bloom and grow and I doubt we have enough energy left in us to spread our wings - or to soar
We have been singed...
by the rockets
by the hunger
by the tears shed by our families as they fled and dared to look back
by those who are left searching for lost loved ones

for those who have watched their dreams of a better future shattered, torn apart with every blast

a proud people reduced to begging for their next morsel of food, for shelter, for international support, for condemnation of this invasion, of this destruction, of this pain...

so much to say, but even words fail to do justice to the sentiments of a devastated country:
ravaged by war
raped by indifference
strangled by hatred

...poetic injustice...

What we crave

We now crave silence.
The city that never sleeps is weary.
Slowly being depleted, it is showing signs of aging
And its tired cry is no longer being heard: drowned out - phased out - shut up
It has been burnt alive and rockets are nailing down the coffin
What can we say; we are watching the lid closing down on us, we are savouring our last supper, our stolen moments
The light once bright, is now barely a ray struggling to break the foggy cloak that pollution has envelopped us in
A furtive glance, a gentil touch, are keeping us human and humane
We have stood are ground together - it may well be our saving grace
We lock hands and wait and hope... we might still be able to lift this heavy lid
Granted, we are afraid of what awaits us - on the other side of the inside of our country which is being "hung, strung, and decapitated all at once."
Paralyzed from the waist down, from Beirut to the South and the upper part is feeling numb.
We are trying to shake this feeling, but fuel shortages, supermarket cues and televised reports are wearing us down.
We lift our head, only to hear an ambulance screaching; drowning out the twitter of the birds who have yet to migrate; who are still stuck here with us. These days, it seems everyone is flying away, escaping our country. We seem content to become refugees and immigrants instead of citizens. Parents are frantically searching for visas, nationalities, anything that enables their families to leave.
Why does our livelihood come at the expense of our lives? Shall we exit our identity and leave our country at the border? SHall it become just another hot spot on the Middle Eastern front? Just another headline?
Why is travelling abroad becoming a necessity instead of a luxury?
Rocket reports, international summits, humanitarean relief, threats and demands, everyone is talking but no one is listening. Please be silent. Please listen. If you will not help, at least don't hurt... our wounded heart wants none of your pity, or your condemnation, or your approval.
Right now, we are focusing on surviving this inferno. Later on, we will ponder the possibilites made available and we will calculate the cost of our freedom. We will check the price of peace, and wonder if we gambled our future along the way.
Then we will be silent and we will think.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

My angel

I toss and turn. Finally, I awake and the day unfolds. Same as yesterday, hopefully different tomorrow. Days have blended into one another; this week it feels every day is a Monday, slow to start, heralding a new week full of empty promises.

I'm restless, so restless. I venture out of my cocoon and soon return, not any less restless than when I started out. There is only one place where I can find peace, and it is not in any geographic location. It is not in any architectural structure. It is in the arms of my love.
Funny how one smile can mellow anger. Funny how one hug can instill confidence. Funny how one kiss can overcome fear. My angel, sent to watch over me and keep me safe, keep me sane.
I'm grateful we are close by during this stressful time. Somehow, as long as we're in this together, I know we'll pull through.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


I have been wandering around my house late at night. Sleep is eluding me and the deceptive silence of the night does nothing to calm my fears. I fear the unknown, what comes after this. I fear for my friends, stuck in "danger zones". I fear for the economic situation. I fear for the people who have lost their homes. I fear for the students who wonder if school will resume next year. I fear... and I cannot sleep. I try to distract myself so i'm too tired to think and when I finally sleep, it is only to find that it is morning all too soon and we are still stuck in the same situation.

Yesterday I painted my fingernails pink. It is an act of protest. I refuse to be sucked in to this war. I refuse to let it get the best of me. This self imposed confinement will not break me, not yet anyways. For someone used to going to Beirut daily, the Metn area is growing dull. I refuse to be one of those people who think that Dora is the Lebanese border. Lebanon is a place buzzing with life, and no matter what state we are reduced to after this war, life will still emanate from every fiber of its being. I want to conquer my fear. I want to sleep. I want to dream.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

For me - For you

I have been trying to forget. I am not turning on the tv and I am not listening to the news. And yet this feeling of desperation is seeping into my soul. My best friend, who arrived from Canada less than a month ago is leaving again tomorrow, and we might not even get to say goodbye face to face.

Reality is dragging us down, killing our dreams... A young woman reporter was killed yesterday; she was only 22. I am a year older than she was. I also dream of writing professionally and being heard by everyone in the world. I identify with her and i cannot get her out of my mind. She's so young, she's younger than me. Would I be ready to die tomorrow?

You know at first, I would write for me. Then I started writing for you. Now again, it is all for me. Words used to bring me comfort, and now they are doing no good. They are only making me realise the futility of the situation we are in, and I wonder; how long will we have to be brave? For how long will we bear the consequences? Are we making a difference? Does it count? Is it selfish to consider such thoughts? For me - and for you, I hope to have answers soon... though I know that such quests are a journey rather than a destination.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


The reason we Lebanese are resilient is the fact that we carry our identity wherever we go. I am very proud of this fact and I have seen it stand the test of time.

Lebanese located all over the world are starting protests and march to shed light on the injustice being done to their people. It doesn't matter that they are miles away, on different continents, daughters and sons of immigrants, their voices still shout out: Leave MY country alone!

This brings great comfort to all the people still rooted in Lebanon, because after watching scores of people, foreign and Lebanese, leaving the country, we kind of feel left behind.

Today I can't concentrate. It's dawning on me that we're in this for the long run. I have not been able to go to work for nearly 2 weeks now. This forced retirement is draining me more than 8 hour shifts... I have dreams. I want to build my house. I need to work. I need to save. I need...

This limbo can't go on forever, stuck in a hellish situation waiting for the miraculous save...
And after, what comes after? How long will it take to pick up the pieces? This time, will we stop trying to mend a broken jar, and create a new one, more in light with our needs? Will we brave enough to do so? For the sake of my unborn children, who will live in my dream house, I hope for a re-born Lebanon.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Routine... that dangerous mode we settle into after every adventure...
Routine... that safe haven we know we can depend on...

The scary part of this war is that it has broken our routine.

No more waking up, going to work, then going out afterwards.
We are stuck in our home, in our part of the country and we are slowly being eaten away by this wary silence which has replaced our busy overcrowded lives. Suddenly we have no where to go, precious little to do, and we are faced with the uncertitude of the future, which at the best of times, is a challenge.

But the even scarier thought is of this becoming our new routine.

I don't want to grow accustomed to this feeling of helplessness while all around me people are dying. I don't want to have to stay put, trapped in my own home. I don't want to think of all the people who are leaving, leaving us behind. I just don't. I don't know how to end this, maybe because right now, it has no ending... all i know is we have to be brave... i just don't knwo for how long...

Friday, July 21, 2006


For the past week now, the sky has been a bland grey, color of indifference. Hours go by, then days, and now weeks; and we are still stuck in this awful mess. It is easy to pretend that this is not happening; to pretend that what you see belongs to a different people, that the reason you're not at work is because you're on an extended holiday. It is easy to sit at home, watch tv, and stuff yourself. As a friend put it, we may die, but its certainly not going to be from hunger, since everyone who is not subjected to bombardments has stocked up on supplies, because they feel they should depend on themselves and no other.

This is where they are mistaken.

Today, the sky has cleared, and for the first time in what seems a long time, the sun is shining, though meekly, it is shining. And for me, it is a sign that this wallowing in self-pity must end too, as must our self-centered world. It is time to look up and gaze... to absorb the aftermath of this ungoing dilemna. And it is time to make a difference. Anyone and everyone can make a difference. For me, today it is through cooking for some refugees with a group of friends. Tomorrow, it might be through this blog. The day after, it could be by phoning a friend who is feeling down. And beyond, it could be by sending a thought your way.

Let's not bail out on our country, though the tv is telling us otherwise. Let's not turn the blind eye and pretend it doesn't concern us.
Instead, let's look beyond the name and religion to the hunger and despair in the eyes of the people who need our help.

Our Humanity

Just sending out thoughts to prevent myself from losing sight of my humanity.. Joumana Mattar Moukarzel

I remember when I was younger, I was always being spirited away to Africa to avoid the war in Lebanon. Back then, I believed it was an adventure.

I had not lived through a war. I had no way of knowing how it changes people.

Now I am here, in my country, that I have grown to call my home.

I am scared. I am scared of what this war is doing to people. We are losing our humanity.

Cues in supermarkets are long, people fighting over a kilo of lemon which has tripled in price.
The highways are alternatively jammed with cars fleeing to the border, or silent and empty as the threat of fuel shortage looms overhead.

And through it all, we are glued to television sets and radios praying we won't be hit next.

It just puts everything into perspective: what's a new job or a new house compared with the destruction and gradual meltdown of our country, where we planned to live out our dreams?

The most dangerous thing to me, is not the destruction of our bridges but the abolition of our hope... our hope...

Without this butterfly of hope, that can fly through the barriers of oppression we would indeed lose our humanity. We would be reduced to selfish animals grabbing on to anything we can get our hands on and not letting go, simply because we're not sure when we'll be able to acquire it again.

I think im writing this to all of you for all of us; let's be here for one another. Let's remind ourselves of what's important, of this bond of friendship that can help us be brave and endure.

I dont know how long we'll have electricity and phone lines, I dont know how long this situation will last, I just know that if I feel there is someone out there who's thinking of me; if there's someone who needs me to send a thought their way; things will be alright.

Take care, hope to see you soon, safe and sound."