A Lebanese Tragedy: The Devaluation of a Life

Who gives a fuck? was the first thing I heard today when we were made aware of another Beirut explosion. It was just a bomb all over again. And people were dead, as usual, all over again. Typical and warranted was what I had heard.

On the other side of the room, a frantic woman was calling her parents to see if they were okay. If their house was intact. If she still had a roof to return to. Then she drew a sigh of relief. And I was relieved for her. But I was also disgusted.

There I was in a room of supposedly intellectuals with two drastically different reactions to an event that should have, at least, gotten everyone to feel sorry and disgusted and horrified. Pity the nation that was more upset at a cat being microwaved or a concert being canceled than at its own children, men and women getting blown to pieces because of retarded and narrow political calculation.

This is a reply to Qalmoun versus the reply will be in Qalmoun. Are you serious? Lebanese were using this tragedy to give some credibility to their demented politics, as mothers grieved their sons while sifting through the remains that our media were more than happy to show on their screens. Look! I’m holding an arm! Pretty cool eih? 

I guess it’s too redundant to talk about media professionalism, about not jumping to conclusions when news first start trickling in.

There’s a time and a place to die. But 2013 Lebanon on a random Beiruti street, due to a cowardly act of terrorism isn’t it. 2013 Lebanon where your death is meaningless, another figure in a growing number of casualties who will soon be forgotten is not it.

Do you know what the saddest part in all of this is? There are those who believe such deaths are “fida” whoever it is they follow. Perhaps I don’t get it. Perhaps I don’t understand how it is to be part of such a sociological following. But I’d hate for my life to be wasted for someone who couldn’t care less, sitting in a bunker twenty feet under or in a fortress in some mountain throwing accusations here and there before proceeding with la dolce vita once the poison stops dropping.

I’d hate for my life to end and be called  a martyr by entities who cannot not be politically correct in order for my mother to feel better about it while I’m just a victim of this country where everyone does as they please without any ounce of calculations of possible ramifications on all those people, like you and I, who don’t get a say in how things in their country should run, in their safety (or lack thereof) and in the way they should die: not in bits and pieces on a desolate Beiruti street.

Our lives are more important than to pretend it’s okay for us to die as a “sacrifice” for someone, whoever that someone is. My life is not “fida” anyone. Your life should not be “fida” anyone. Thinking that it’s okay for a life to be dispensable for someone is not okay. Thinking that it’s okay for your life to be dispensable means such tragedies will keep on happening as long as there are people who are willing to be collateral damage in a war that isn’t theirs, that doesn’t involve them and that doesn’t infringe upon them except in death.

There is no ulterior purpose being served. There’s no cause being championed. There’s no heavenly place awaiting the victors. There’s grief-struck parents being left behind. There’s a deeply split nation whose divide is growing wider. There are nauseatingly political individuals who have begun milking this for whatever purpose floats their boats. And there are those who are awaiting the next opportunity for their lives to be “fida” someone.

Our turn is next week, a friend of mine from Tripoli said. I couldn’t tell her she was mistaken.  

Meanwhile, life around where I was went on normally. People had no worries on their mind as they shuffled through their daily motions, seemingly indifferent that the other part of their capital was going to cry itself to sleep tonight.

Rest in peace to all those wasted and forcefully devalued Lebanese lives we have lost and we will lose to bombs, explosions, suicide bombers and ruthless politics, those lives that are more important than to be wasted “fida” anyone.

10 thoughts on “A Lebanese Tragedy: The Devaluation of a Life

  1. I really liked reading this, because I felt the same way. I was one of those who continued on normally, because my work demanded it, but in my mind and heart I was angry. Unless things hit close to home, most people normally do not react. Anyways, good way of letting out the frustration by writing something like this.


  2. i have so much to say on this issue that i just don’t know where to begin.
    first you have the ridiculous misuse of the word “shaheed” like it’s okay that he’s dead, he whoever he is, who didn’t sign up for this, who went to his mosque to pray or who was just walking down the street, he is not a shaheed.
    second, you have the, as you said, media lacking any tact.
    third, it is really not okay to feel that it’s okay. we all say t3awwadna and shrug, but it really isnt okay. we ask “how many” then say “wallah euf, bass keno aktar nhar *insert act of terrorism here*” but the whole political division so to put it is so embedded in the general mentality of us as a people. yes there are many, especially our couple of generations, educated people who condone this but statistically they are outnumbered, and even in those, you often find a number who would talk and rationalize just great until something happens and then it’s a “3enna and 3endon” issue all over again.
    and finally (i just dont want to write a very long post) i love animals, i was among the first to talk about the poor microwave cat and many more and im disgusted by the decision in tripoli to euthanize stray dogs, but i’m just amazed at how social media went crazy about those issues and organizations calling for sit downs and stand ups and protests, while so many humanitarian things are being neglected. don’t get me wrong, im not saying not to fight for animal rights i’m a huge supporter of the cause, but it seems that we forgot how to be human, feel with other humans in compassion, our feelings have been killed one act of terrorism after the other turning us into some kind of shell who are neutral to the suffering of other human beings and are trying to prove our humanity, to ourself in the first place, by so vehemently fighting for those other causes


  3. I agree with most of what you wrote. But I don’t believe anyone has the right to say what’s okay and what’s not on behalf of others. One more thing, some people do not ‘pretend’ they actually believe their lives are ‘fida’ other people or certain causes. I’m a news editor and I’m frustrated by the “desensitization” phenomenon not only in the media but more sadly among citizens too.
    Here’s something I wrote today. http://fatimahanan.wordpress.com/2013/11/19/numbers/


  4. The part where you talk about the difference in reactions and especially the indifference is so true…At my office it was the same, no one cared..well except one person who was concerned about the road to the airport closing tomorrow as she ll be on vacation abroad!
    Plus im SHocked that most f the blogs didnt adress the issue…and that most statuseson facebook where “they saw it coming”… aanjad tfeh


  5. Pingback: Hopes For A Better Lebanon: I’m Not A Martyr | A Separate State of Mind | A Lebanese Blog

  6. Pingback: Happy Freakin’ New Year… | No Easy Answer

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