Beirut, July 13, 2006
It was a beautiful night, I could see lots of stars, but I probably would have seen more if it weren't for the almost full moon. But there is something eerie about a modern apartment with no electricity, they are somehow designed with that commodity in mind. That the explosions I heard were from Lebanese anti-aircraft guns I knew full well from the start.
When I woke up this morning I understood that more had happened than just the bombings in the south. All the text messages from family and friends in Sweden made me suspect big headlines in Swedish media. Once I arrived on campus and could go online I understood why: Israel had bombed Beirut International Airport. It is a bizarre feeling to see the runway I landed on less than a week ago explode on TV.
So much has happened in the two and a half years that have passed since I visited Beirut last. There is less chaos, downtown is truly alive, the entire area surrounding Place de Martyr has been revived and even Hamra now has walkable sidewalks! The other night I was at St. George Yacht Club watchin the World Cup final between France and Italy. They had a big screen TV set up with the Mediterranean as a backdrop. On one side of the TV, I could see the beautiful Lebanese mountains, on the other side the ruins of the buildings that collapsed when Rafiq al-Hariri was assassinated last year along with twenty other human beings. A typical Beiruti scene, I though, normal activities such as a World Cup final is juxtaposed with abnormal activities such as a violent political assassination.