Sunday, July 16, 2006

July 16, 2006

They say war is boredom, and it seems they are right... All day today the Israelis have been bombing targets throughout Beirut, but in between their raids, there is really nothing to do, other than think about what a depressing situation this is. They're working on the evacuation of Swedish citizens, but quite frankly, I'm in no hurry to leave. I feel so much love for this place, somehow sneaking out while this is going on feels like a betrayal on my part. At the same time, I need to get back to Sweden in time to get my visa for the States. If I turn down an offer to evacuate, who knows when I'll be able to leave? I guess there is nothing to do but to wait and see.

It's Sunday, and even if it weren't for the siege, Beirut would be in a lull, but it would not be this bad. Almost all the stores are closed and the streets are pretty much empty. I went to a supermarket to stock up on some essentials, in case I get stuck on campus and can't access food from the outside. The only places that are really busy these days are the supermarkets; everyone wants to stock up in case things turn even worse. I'm terrible at shopping for war. I keep glancing at the wine bottles, then realizing that that's hardly emergency products! Well, it could be I suppose, but I'd rather keep my head clear with the situation as it is.

The Prime Minister was on TV, pledging to employ the Lebanese army to the south, practically begging the Israelis to stop the destruction of Lebanon. They won't relent, however. I'm scared for what might happen if Hizballah turns on the army, the government is so weak and the army could very well disintegrate along sectarian lines. If I leave Lebanon, when will I be able to return? Will civil war return over Hizballah's arms? How can I leave when the one person I love more than anything is still here in the middle of everything? She's a feisty one, and I know she can take care of herself, but I'd hate to leave her nonetheless! It breaks my heart that it has come to this. B'hebbak, ya Loubnan!

Beirut has always been a place of contrast for me. Life and death, side by side in perfect harmony as it seems. This is true now more than ever; the sounds of people playing tennis is accompanied by fighter jets dropping bombs in another part of the city. I can understand why my friends and family have difficulty understanding my reluctance to leave, but quite frankly I think it's be more risky for me to try and make it to Syria on my own, and as for the organized evacuation of Swedish citizens, I think there are others that have been more directly affected by the bombings and therefore should be evacuated before me. Personally, I think I'm being quite rational.


Blogger the perpetual refugee said...

I totally understand your 'rationality'.

I wish I was there right now. I'm going to try and enter through Damascus next week.

Stay safe.

5:37 AM  
Blogger EvilConCarne said...


I am a Swedish citizen in Lebanon as well. Just wondering what you have heard about evacuation? I have not been able to reach the consulate. I don't want to leave either but I have to make contingency plans.

many thanks.

6:11 AM  
Blogger Hardig said...

Hey evilconcarne, I don't know anything more about evacuation than what the Swedish media is saying. If you haven't given them your contact information yet, I suggest you check out this link:;jsessionid=arf-tLup3Sp8.

I'm sure the consulate is quite overwhelmed for the time being, and since my situation isn't critical, I'm not trying to contact them by phone. They have my contact information and I'll go when I get a chance to go.

7:04 AM  
Blogger skunk said...

having lived thru the iraqi occupation in kuwait 15 years ago i know how you feel.

stick to your convictions but be flexible enough to leave if you feel your life is threatened.

we never felt seriously threatened so we stayed for the 7 month occupation and following war.

go with your gut and good luck.

7:18 AM  
Blogger EdoRiver said...

Probably as long as you have the Internet you can stay sane ;-)
There are probably some great literature you should stock up on. Keep your journals as a contact point between your imaginary world, the world of the outside, the world of the literary greats....
Yeah, tough about the girl...Do you have a DVD player? I could send you a copy of Casablanca? then the two of you could share it's atmosphere together....
Finally, if you're at a loss for what to do say prayers and meditate.
I don't know how much experience you have with the combination of both of these done in alternation, (I won't add the fasting and getting up at dawn, yet ;-) But really, the experience is much more informative than the bottles of wine. There is a reason the Qur'an (BTW you do have a copy, don't you?) bans alcohol, it turns off the consciousness taps. You want to have them open as much and as long as possible! The desire to escape consciousness is ultimately false lead, a betrayal...blah , blah, blah, Yeah, I know you didn't think you went to Lebanon to learn about religion, in the same way I came to Japan, but one never knows until later why one did anything....

7:23 AM  
Blogger dunno said...

Yup ... I wish I was there right now too. For similar reasons :-) It is difficult being away from people and places you love when times are difficult. May try and make my way in next month - but thought I would try and come down the coast from Latikia. Maybe see you on campus some time. I miss it. I watched Brazil play Italy in the USA world-cup final in some bar in Hamra! A brilliant place for it.

Take care ...

7:47 AM  
Blogger dunno said...

Yup ... I wish I was there right now too. For similar reasons :-) It is difficult being away from people and places you love when times are difficult. May try and make my way in next month - but thought I would try and come down the coast from Latikia. Maybe see you on campus some time. I miss it. I watched Brazil play Italy in the USA world-cup final in some bar in Hamra! A brilliant place for it.

Take care ...

7:50 AM  
Blogger AM said...


Nice reading your blog and thank you for relaying a very good idea to those of us away from home what our parents would most probably going through.
I linked you to my blog in my last post, hope you don't mind :)

8:52 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

I am lebanese, living abroad.
I would give anything to be with the people I love, in the place I love, and dream about every night.
As you said, Lebanon is a land of "pleasant" contradictions. It grows on you, like a bad habit.
I understand you wanting to stay there. It is a historical time right now.
Just take care.

9:34 AM  
Blogger waiting said...

i really like your blog and i think its very personal.
my family owns a supermarket-5 min from aub- and currently, i am helping because almost all the staff cant get there anymore.btw, im a student in aub too, and i have seen all kinds of people shopping some who are foreign students as well, clueless and donno what to buy.
Basically, u need to buy food that lasts.toast, jam, cheese... chocolate... you have to buy tuna and sardine, pasta...water for sure. Actually, every1 is buying candles, you dont need that if ur staying in aub dorm.. they're also buying playing cards..but if ur always online, u can spend you time surfing the net..believe it or not some are buying coal for their argile..because it makes them relax. Now back to what you might need..soap, shampoo, sugar, canned goods. you might need flash lights...

10:43 AM  
Blogger crosspatch said...

If I were in your position, I would go along pretty much the same guidelines we use here in California for preparing for earthquakes with some extensions. Our plan is to be able to survive for at least 3 days without any outside resources at all.

Good water is important. If you have a camp or hiking stove, make sure it works and you have fuel for it. It can extend your water supply by allowing you to boil water. A large bucket (say something like 15 or 20 liters like a large paint bucket) with a tight lid filled with "cat litter" and mixed with a little baking soda or limestone can be used as an emergency toilet for a couple of days.

Have LOTS of batteries. Have a radio and a telephone that works without mains power. Goods that keep without any refigeration are important such as canned goods of any sort but keep go sparingly on salty foods except as needed to replace salt from sweat. Make sure you have a can opener that doesn't require electricity.

Have an emergency plan and make sure one person outside of the region knows where you will attempt to go in an emergency. If you have many loved ones outside the area that might try to contact you, select one of them and notify them of your status whenever you can and instruct the others to contact that person for updates. That helps reduce the burden on communications into the area.

Have cigarettes or tobacco even if you don't smoke. In an emergency they can be hard to obtain and people who do smoke will trade you almost anything for them. They can be more valuable than gold. Same with coffee or tea even if you don't drink it. Any other thing you can think of that would make good trading material in an emergency would be good to have to. Some trading materials aren't obvious, like a can of baby formula powder that might be traded to someone with a child in exchange for batteries, for example.

Make sure you have some hard cash. As much as you feel safe having. You might not have access to a bank. Have as much as you need to execute your emergency plan and double that.

Notebook and plenty of pens/pencils. Write down what you experiance when you can. You are living though history. Not enough people take the time to write down what they experiance at the time it is happening.

12:55 PM  
Blogger Haider Droubi said...

may god save lebanon....lebanon shall never die

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Updating my bookmarks... see you're still here. Looks different than I remembered. I've updated my stuff too - soy candle

3:21 AM  

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