A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

rumors from the grounds up

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on February 23, 2008

I thought you would already have left the country, the neighborhood coffee vendor said to me this morning as I walked past him.

What? I said, snapping out of a hausfrau-like but pleasant daydream about which stores I would go to on my Saturday morning grocery run.

Aren’t you planning to leave? he asked me again.

I assumed he was asking about my reaction to the “situation” here, and the increase in gunfire & scuffles over the past few weeks.

No no, I said, trying to snap myself from “do I need peanut butter?” to “calm, reassuring foreigner” mode. I’m fine here – and I’m busy with work.

But you must leave, he said, shaking his hands and frowning. By Wednesday. On Wednesday, Israel will attack.

Um, WHAT? The peanut butter debate whisked itself to my mental back burner.

Yes, he continued, with bombs and airplanes. And just in case I didn’t get it, he made “boom boom” and fighter jet noises.

Mmm, I said. Yes, I remember those sounds from the 2006 war.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t take invasion predictions from my coffee vendor terribly seriously. But earlier this week a Lebanese colleague told me about the homeless man who lived in her neighborhood during her childhood. He was sweet, harmless, and slightly touched in the head – and when the Israelis invaded Beirut in 1982, he turned out to be one of their top brass.

Although I appreciated his warning, I can’t imagine that Israel wants anything to do with the words “Lebanon” and “invasion” these days.

And if it does, I sure hope it doesn’t happen on Wednesday. I have two morning meetings and a heap of other things to do that day – and no time to deal with an onslaught of Israelis.


4 Responses to “rumors from the grounds up”

  1. I could imagine it has a type of surreal feeling to it…be sure to pencil in that war between your meetings:-S

  2. intlxpatr said

    The project room is total chaos, but I am keeping half of the great big bed ready for you.

  3. I couldn’t help but smile at your colleague’s recount of the spy story…

    …I’ve been hearing that story (around Hamra) almost my entire life. Either that guy was very popular, or it is one of Beirut’s urban myths [or there was more than one spy in the guise of an insane homeless man!].

  4. 🙂 Thanks Daisy – I appreciate the sympathy. It is very hard to fit political instability invasions into a busy life – so I’m doubly glad this one didn’t happen 😛

    Khalti looking forward to seeing you next month, crisis or no 🙂

    Blacksmith J, oh no! I thought it was the real thing! But you’re right – it does sound like total urban legend, although the idea of a secret army of mentally ill homeless impersonators is making me giggle. Oh, those Israelis – what will they think of next?

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