July 14, 2006
I woke up at 4:45 am from a powerful explosion not far from my place. I got out of bed and found my roommate already up and about in the livingroom. No explosions followed, however, and I soon went back to sleep. I woke up four hours later, feeling encouraged by the fact that we had power in the apartment. I turned on the TV and went online to find out what had happend throughout the night: more attacks on the airport; bombings of the southern neighborhoods of Beirut; and threats of more violence to come.
It is strange how a place can change overnight. Walking in the streets of Beirut now is an eerily quiet experience. I never thought I'd miss the loud, chaotic Beirut, but I do. The other night was sitting in Jamazeih, the trendy new clubbing area, relaxing with some friends and a cool drink. Today, all I'm trying to do is stay as close to TV-news and Internet connections as possible. All the joy I felt over being back in Beirut is gone; everything I love about this place has been eclipsed by a dark cloud. It can't go on forever, I tell myself, while knowing perfectly well that it could, in fact, go on for a very, very long time.
I contacted the housing people at the American University of Beirut regarding the possibilities of moving in on campus. I don't really want to, but it would mean a stable supply of electricity, since AUB has its own generators. Should Israel bomb the main power plants supporting Beirut with electricity, I'll be completely in the dark where I live now. Perhaps I'm being childish, but it almost feels like a betrayal to move in on campus and give in to the terror campaign. At the same time, these are days to be pragmatic; the access to power, air-conditioning, and a daily shower is worth way too much to be ignored.