Stories from Afar & Up Close

Far from disillusioned

I feel empty, like the streets of the city I live in.Betrayed, by the promise to withdraw all gunmen from my neighborhood, whereas in reality the building across the street is still the base of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, the guys waving their guns at the army patrol passing by. Defeated, by the accusations of friends that I have been brainwashed because I have a different opinion than they do– friends from both sides of the political and sectarian divide. You are either with us or against us. Drained, trying not to lose faith in people; the people I know, and the people I don’t know. Empty like the streets of the city I live in.

In the media, the past few days have, yet again, been classified as ‘the worst violence since the 1975-1990 Civil War’. How many times can something be ‘the worst violence since…’ until it becomes the new civil war? How many rockets need to be shot from one apartment into another until we call it a civil war? How many masked gunmen on streetcorners, how many houses burned, how many people kidnapped or stabbed to death with knives?

On Thursday everyone said: it will be over by tomorrow night. On Friday everyone said: Saturday it will be over, at the latest. Saturday, everyone was convinced it wouldn’t last another day. It is now Sunday night. The fighting has moved from Beirut to Tripoli, to Choueifat, to Aley…

I have heard enough stories about the beginning of the war in 1975 that I don’t need to add ‘disillusioned’ to the list above, should the current situation last another year. Or fifteen.