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Zeker twintig doden bij aanslag in woonwijk Beiroet

Omdat ik me zo erger aan de tendentieuze berichtgeving in NRC: een gecorrigeerde versie van het stuk "Zeker twintig doden bij aanslag in Beiroet op Hezbollah-bolwerk"

Buitenland (15 augustus 2013)–  door [Jules Seegers] correcties door Nicolien

Een aanslag vandaag in Beiroet, waarbij volgens autoriteiten twintig burgerdoden zijn gevallen, is [gepleegd] gericht tegen Hezbollah. De [militante] shi'itische groepering was doelwit van de sunnitische beweging Brigades van Aisha.

De groepering eiste de aanslag vroeg in de avond op. Volgens Reuters belooft ze nog meer aanvallen op Hezbollah.

"Dit is de tweede keer dat wij bepalen waar en wanneer de strijd plaatsvindt... En jullie zullen dat nog vaker zien, als God het wil."

Vorige maand werd in een [buitenwijk] andere woonwijk van Beiroet een autobom tot ontploffing gebracht waarbij meer dan vijftig mensen gewond raakten. De ontploffing vandaag in de overwegend shi'itische wijk Rweiss had plaats in een drukke winkelstraat en was in de wijde omgeving te voelen, aldus ooggetuigen. Op de staatstelevisie was te zien hoe er grote branden in de getroffen straat woedden. Boven Rweiss stegen grote zwarte rookwolken op.

Zeker tweehonderd gewonden

Reuters meldt dat het dodental van de aanslag is opgelopen tot twintig. De explosie vond plaats in het zuiden van Beiroet, een [bolwerk van Libanons terreurbeweging Hezbollah] woonwijk waar veel aanhangers van Hezbollah wonen, een Libanese politieke partij met een gewapende tak die onlangs door de EU als terreurbeweging is aangemerkt. Volgens AP vielen ook zeker tweehonderd gewonden.

Volgens het Libanese leger werd een autobom gebruikt voor de aanslag. Diverse [gebouwen] woningen en flatgebouwen in de directe omgeving raakten zwaar beschadigd.

Het oplopende geweld in Libanon kan een teken zijn dat de sektarische burgeroorlog in buurland Syrië verder om zich heen grijpt in de regio. Tegenstanders van de Syrische president Bashar al-Assad hebben gedreigd met aanvallen op Hezbollah, dat in Syrië met [Assads troepen] het Syrische leger meevecht.

Home, unnoticed

Coming to Beirut is coming home. Not coming home in a metaphorical or existential sense of 'finally having found a place where I belong' – if anything, Beirut is the slut that makes everybody and nobody feel like she is theirs.

No, Beirut has become home in the way that a hometown is and always will be home: I walk the streets and pass places that I never actively remember when I am not here, but that are part of some kind of physical knowledge, my legs functioning like my fingers that can remember how to play something on the piano as long as my brain doesn't get involved.

Beirut is home because I have memories everywhere, but they, too, are more felt than remembered, not verbalized even in my head.

I've seen places disappear and new places come up, and some of those I've seen disappear as well. It's home because I see it and I don't see it at the same time, the initial place always dominating that location without the shock that it has become something else because I have changed with this city and we both know that all those old things are still inside us as well.

Beirut is home because I am no longer surprised by her.

Beirut is home because I don't notice her anymore.

How can you tell…

… that you’re back in Beirut? It’s when you run into 11 people you know in the first 6 hours after leaving the house. It’s when you wake up from the sound of construction works and the smell of foul. It’s when you can have a cup of tea in a hidden place on the seaside. It’s when you walk past a bar called ‘Starbuzz’ that has all its TVs tuned to the ‘Fashion TV Arabia’ channel, including the one underneath the floor in the entrance.

It’s when you can’t think of anything else to do except go for lunch, go for coffee, go for dinner, and go for a drink – and you don’t even mind. It’s when you agree to meet people and they don’t show up, but it doesn’t matter because others do. It’s when you see an ad for ‘Philippina woman wanted to help 55 year old man in small house’ right above a poster for the weekly Filipina Disco; Sunday from noon to 7pm.

It’s when you wonder why everyone stares at you until you realize you’re the one sticking out again. It’s the sound of honking cars is louder than your own thoughts. It’s when you can satisfy your craving for both donuts and saj 24/7. It’s when there’s always someone saying ‘you didn’t eat enough, have some more’. It’s when you see a billboard for diet pills that promise to ‘cut the fat and burn the calories’ with free delivery, so you don’t need to move to get them.

Beirut, it’s good to be back (even if it’s only for a short while).

P.S. I have some trouble uploading pictures to my blog, but if you click on the light-blue parts of the sentences you will see examples of what I am talking about.

Like Everyone Else (Bye-Bye Beirut)

WHAT I WILL NOT BE MISSING- The daily electricity cuts - The honking cars - The clouds of cigarette-smoke in bars and restaurants - The chaos - The homophobia - The honking cars - The screaming of ‘Taxi! Taxi!’ when I walk by - The unbelievably slow internet-connections - The racism - The roofs that are not built to prevent rain from entering the house - The construction rage - The speculation about ‘when will the next civil war start’ - The honking cars

WHAT I WILL BE MISSING - The mountains - Falafel from Sahyoun - The Corniche - The golden numbers - The chaos - The ease of dance - The view of the sunset over the Mediterranean from my rooftop-terrace - Grilled halloum - (The Stooges) - Last-minute outings with friends - Mothers with inexplicable amounts of food ready in the fridge any time you pass by - The beach-road - Sneaking into old abandoned buildings of beautiful architecture - Driving around aimlessly in the North and South - The carrot-sticks in lemon juice with salt - Hamra - Bikers riding on their back-wheel at full speed on the highway to impress the girls - Street-cats - Genuine hospitality, always

WHAT MY FRIEND SAID “Oh my, you’re so Lebanese now. You leave the country to work abroad and you will come back to visit us for Christmas and in summer! Your transformation is complete!”

WHAT’S REALLY HAPPENING (in the next two years) My husband has to finish his PhD at the University of Amsterdam and I am going back with him. (Incidentally, we’re still looking for a house in Amsterdam – if you know of a house for us to (sub)let, please let me know! We’re very cute tenants, you know.)

AND THE CATS?!? In an ironic twist of fate, it is easier for two Lebanese cats to get permission to come to The Netherlands than it is for a human being – but it does mean they came with us, and will now eat Gouda instead of labneh for breakfast. Just like us.

WHAT ABOUT QUSSA.NL? Qussa.nl will be here, with stories and anecdotes from life on- and offline. (Most of them probably not from Lebanon, though, for the time being.) But you’re welcome to keep coming back.