Posted by adiamondinsunlight on May 8, 2008
I have a confession to make:
I went to work this morning. H thought I was insane, but for a while it seemed normal. More people were at the gym than yesterday, and more people were at work as well – so the day started off companionably.
But by 11 the “normal” was falling apart. I stuck it out until 2:30, but the report that Nasrallah would be speaking at 4:00 seemed to have sent most people home already.
This was the street that crosses Hamra, taken looking up from the barbed-wire encrusted Tourism Ministry:
This was Hamra, location of my bank (I thought extra cash might be a good idea). Even Costa was closed:
H met me at the apartment a little while after I finally got home, and we packed “just in case” bags to take up to his parents (as in, “just in case we decide to stay over once we get there). As I loaded my bag into the car, we both heard a boom. Not in my neighborhood, but not so far, either.
The roads initially seemed deserted:
So out of habit we took Spears towards the ring road tunnel. The ring road was beautifully empty, and had we brought marshmallows it might have been worth staying a while.
We’re safe at H’s – the port road was open, and we joined the traffic jam of cars exiting stage left.
Charles Malik tells me that Hamra is full of gunfire and masked men, and I can see from the “breaking news” bulletins on the television that my next-door-neighborhood is filled with clashing young men.
And I see that the White House has issued an announcement urging Hizbullah to stop “spreading tension” in Lebanon. This is far beyond the point of tension.
I’m not tense – I’m tired. And I’m sad. On the way up we heard man after man speaking on the radio, each introduced as the head of a Civil War-era militia turned political party – parties that haven’t been major players in years.
I don’t like going backwards, and I don’t like this sinking sense that I am deja vu’ing. So many things are suddenly the same: packing up clothing and passport, trying to find alternate routes to safety now that the airport is closed off, and chatting online with Charles Malik about the security of our respective neighborhoods.
Yalla, Charles M – get out when you can, bring the latest collection of vintage bottles, and I’ll get A to find us another embassy party to crash. It will be just like 2006, only this time the country might truly be destroyed.