July 17, 2006
It appears not. Early this morning bombardment started, but either because I was so tired, or because it’s actually becoming normal, I barely registered what was going on. I had to read the news this morning to get it confirmed that they actually did bomb the Beirut port, not too far from here again this morning.
Against the recommendations of a loved one here in Beirut (so let’s keep it between us), I took a little walk to see the damage done to the Manara, the lighthouse just a brief walk from AUB. I was relieved to see the old lighthouse was still standing undamaged, but the new lighthouse down on the waterfront had clearly been hit. Supposedly, that’s what the gun ship was aiming at the other day when it was lobbing grenades over my head. I used to live in the Manara area and I know it well. I couldn’t resist walking around Hamra, just for a little while. After all, it had been quiet in my part of Beirut all day. Well, it didn’t take long before the bombing started, the sharp booms echoing between the buildings of Hamra, and I thought it wise to go to the nearest supermarket and stock up on some water and crackers.
I know I’m one of the lucky ones; this part of Beirut has taken few direct hits, and I’m holed up with AC and a constant supply of electricity here on campus. But the southern suburbs are completely devastated and innocent civilians are being murdered every day. I leave it to others to supply updates on the gruesome events in Lebanon for the past couple of days (my friends at http://lebanesebloggers.blogspot.com do a great job at that), and instead I focus on what I see and feel here.
I received a text message from the Swedish foreign ministry today. It said, loosely translated, “Evacuation in progress. No one will be forgotten. Do not go to the consulate in Beirut until you are instructed to do so. Everyone who has registered will be contacted.” I know there is a lot of criticism against the foreign ministry in Sweden right now, but what do people expect them to do? There is an aggression going on, this country is being torn to pieces and I don’t really know what the Swedish foreign ministry can do, more than what they are doing. Again, I know it’s easy for me to say that, since I’m not one of those in direct need of evacuation. I can stay here for quite a few days without the situation being critical. Of course, if food and water supplies run low, then I’ll be worried. For the time being, it doesn’t look too bad right here in that respect.
Just now, as I was writing, I heard a fighter jet diving outside my window, and then a boom. As I look out, I can see leaflets slowly falling to the ground down by the Corniche. Either more propaganda against Hizballah, or perhaps a warning of more strikes to come? Whatever they want to say, I’m not interested. I understand that Israel wants security, but what they are doing now will not bring security; they are planting the seed for a new generation of fierce enemies. I can hear distant rumbling now. I wonder how many humans they are killing this time.