I was watching a movie today.
What a mundane and worthless sentence to start anything with. But I was watching a movie today.
It was a quiet afternoon. I had seen a dear friend whom I hadn’t seen in a while. We spoke about our lives. We didn’t talk about politics. I drank minted lemonade. She drank coffee. The time passed.
But yes, I was watching a movie today. And it was a theatre full of people who were watching the movie with me. And less than five minutes from where the movie was taking place, part of my country was getting blown up to pieces, people were getting blown up to bits.
And there I was, watching a movie.
The theatre doors closed behind us as we made our way out of the complex. Look, an explosion happened nearby, my friend told me. Make sure you make your way out calmly. I looked around and people had no other care in the world. Those who were shopping were still going about their chores meticulously. The people hoarding the escalators were still doing so extravagantly.
And there I was, pissed beyond fury, trying to see if my other friend was home and if anything had happened to her.
She is 23. In statistical terms, her life is well ahead of her. In real terms, she is terrified by a window slamming, fireworks going off or anything that reminds her of the bombs she has endured for years. I was relieved to know she hadn’t gone home today. I was glad she was okay. What a fucked up country, I told her. Yes, she replied. Is there anything more redundant to say?
I checked the news on my way to my car. Many were dead. Many more were injured. No officials were targeted. It was an attack simply against people like me who decided to spend their afternoon off, courtesy of the Virgin Mary’s ascension, to shop with their kids, with their mothers, with their families or friends, just like me.
The drive home was uneventful. People were still going around their afternoon business like it was nobody’s business. Life was sluggishly going on. It was bound to pick up its pace tomorrow. I was sure all would be forgotten by next week. This is our span. I guess that’s how it rolls.
As I neared residential areas of my country’s torn capital, I could hear the news blasting off balconies as people huddled next to their TV sets. Tripoli was joining the game as well because that city doesn’t like to be left out of the big celebrations. Politicians were salivating over their upcoming TV opportunities to express their condemnation while secretly insinuating that this party’s interference here and there led to this or that other party’s condemnation of some party’s actions has led to this, while people’s flesh still burns on the asphalt and cement. But don’t you be mistaken, sympathy supersedes policy.
The people were expressing sympathy. There was a tinge of unity as so happens in the face of true national tragedies. I figure it would only be a matter of time before someone parades this. Those who wanted to express sympathy figured stating their sect at the start of their sentence would give it some credibility. Others were more worried about the potential day off tomorrow. It was, after all, a day of national mourning. Aren’t those getting way too many and springing up way too often? But what would a day do to the mother who will mourn all her life?
It’s just a bomb. We tell it to ourselves like it’s nothing. A bomb. An explosion. Destruction, rubble, death. We’re getting way too used to it. We’re getting too comfortable with the way we live around it. We’re getting too subdued in the way we just take it, brush it off and long for the day when we forget. It’s just a bomb.
We got too used to it a long time ago. Its part of our daily lives. I was home today watching a movie too, then got the news on my cellphone, turned on the TV, checked it out for a couple of minutes and continued my movie like it was any other ordinary event. Our country is on fire out there and we’re just sitting in our homes watching it burn. This is bad.
My perspective on the bombing.
Aside from the things I wrote above (which I would be very interested to read comments about), I can relate to your sentiment of “getting used to” the situation of bombs going off. We seem to have gotten used to rockets falling. The people in our south have had to run for shelter almost every day this week, and yet almost nobody even bothers to report it anymore. And this has been going on for eight years. And if a bomb goes off (which is something we, thankfully, haven’t had in quite a while) we stop for a while, listen to the news and then go on with our lives. It wasn’t always like that. In the 90’s we would cancel events, in school we would say special prayers and when someone was hurt- everyone was hurt. But slowly we grew “thick skin”. It’s a coping mechanism. We can’t be so totally connected, because if we were it would be too terrible and life would come to a standstill. Things shouldn’t be like that, but they are.
While watching the news falshes about the bombing, I heard the reporter on the TV saying: “Not too long ago the Dahye also witness a small bomb which was acceptable comparing to today’s bomb” and I was like WTF is wrong with this guy/Lebanese people? no matter how small it is a bomb is a bomb and it is not acceptable!
Reblogged this on Ned Hamson Second Line View of the News and commented:
The horrors in the world seem to be stuck on replay – it has to stop before, all that’s left to do is for the last person left to turn off the lights!
i guess it’s not “just a bomb” for lebanese living outside…until we call everyone we know make sure everybody is okay, then it becomes “just a bomb” unfortunately…
but im gonna put this selfish part of human nature aside for a second and say..it’s not just a bomb oh god the amount of ppl who are suffering their hearts out, crying their eyes out at this very moment for having lost their brother, mother, father, sister… this is happening on a second and minute basis in syria and egypt… so what’s different about this right? i despise the fact that , like iraq, we are starting to grow immune to this kind of news!!!!!!!
but what can be done really….
Yeah and what are you and others doing? Have you participated or atleast tried to start a movement that is solely dedicated to the well being of the country? The problem with Lebanon is that alot of people talk and complain; yet very few people actually want to do anything about it.
So I’m telling you and others if you are sick of it, do something about it.
dude, You should be a writer of a novel or something. Brilliantly written!
May they rest in peace 😦
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