Disclaimer: Leading up to April 13th, I’m going to post a few stories that I was told, about what people I know went through during the Lebanese Civil War. These posts will not have a political aspect nor will they be advocating for any party. They’re just that – stories.
It was April 2nd, 1986. My family’s neighborhood in Achrafieh, in the East Beirut at the time, was being heavily bombed. Our house lies between two hospitals and naturally, it was that area that was being bombed the most.
My grandpa was traveling, working in Saudi Arabia. My grandma was left alone with their kids. As it is with Lebanese people, they all cherish and brag about their resilience in the face of hardship. So naturally, those kids were sent to school.
As the bombing increased in intensity, my uncles started coming back home one by one. Soon enough, the only two people left outside were my youngest aunt, Lidia, and my father. Lidia was still in school, while my dad was busy doing what he excels at – being mischevious.
Soon enough, my grandma got worried. She was hiding in with whoever got home in a part of the house where bombs and missiles couldn’t reach. So when the intensity of the bombs subsided a little, my uncle John went out to get his sister from school.
My uncle John descended the stairs of our building and walked onto the street, named Station St. in the Geitawi area in Beirut.
He walked for about 100 meters on the sidewalk when he heard a loud noise. He turned around. A missile had been launched on a nearby flower shop. The missile hit the flower shop, about 20 meters away from my uncle, and the blast hit my uncle sideways. He was propelled into a nearby shop window.
Disoriented, he tried to get up but couldn’t. Why? he looked at his leg. He was hit in his right thigh. He was bleeding profusely. He couldn’t move. He tried to drag himself back home. Glass was everywhere, as were iron rods protruding out of the walls and ground.
Then, as he slowly made his way back home, he was helped up by someone. He looked around, it was my dad, with his little baby sister by his side.
The three of them went back home. My grandma saw my uncle’s leg but kept her cool. After all, she couldn’t show any signs of fear in front of him. It was now time to take him to a hospital. But which one?
My grandma, dad, uncles and aunt didn’t know what was going on during those same moments in another part of Beirut, and the grave trouble that their cousins were in.