April 13th marks the anniversary of the Lebanese Civil War.
On this day, most Lebanese repeat the phrase: “let it be remembered but not repeated”.
As part of my understanding of that phrase, I decided to write up one one of the civil war incidents that touched my family deeply. My uncle was shot and his cousin killed on the same day, April 2nd.
I wrote the story in three parts. And I hoped that they would show what one Lebanese family went through on one one day of the war that lasted for over 15 years. I did not mention extra details about the political parties involved in my story: who was bombing, who was defending… because I wanted to show the Civil War as not a period where some people were right and others were wrong. It’s a period where the Lebanese person, as a whole, got hurt, deeply. It’s a period where Lebanese families were torn and the country was ruined – regardless of religion and sect and political affiliation. You can read the story here: part 1, part 2 and part 3.
Today marks the 36th anniversary for the civil war, which started on April 13th 1975 with the Ain Remmaneh Bus incident. Some people actually believe the bus incident was the main cause for the war. But that is not true. If anything that incident was only the face of a much deeper divide on a country that praises itself for its richness and diversity.
I have not lived through the civil war. So my personal understanding of whatever took place is rather limited. Nor do I want to know too much because well, it is time that we, as a society, move forward from the wounds caused by that era.
Continued from Part 2.
Saint George’s Hospital was packed. Simon’s mom looked at the multitude of strangers in front of her. They were all in agony. The mothers that had lost sons, the wives that had lost husbands…
She was asked to come down to the hospital. She didn’t know why but she felt it was odd that her sons hadn’t come back home yet. But for all she knew, they were hiding out at some relative’s house.
On her way there, she had heard how her brother-in-law’s son, my uncle John, was hit and taken to the Geitawi hospital. She knew his condition wasn’t severe. But why was she in Saint George’s hospital?
She looked around. Strangers. There wasn’t any face she recognized. And somehow, she couldn’t even connect to their pain. So she sat there, in the waiting room, waiting for God knows what.
But then she noticed the whispers. Why were the people there looking at her through sad eyes, breathing out worried words she couldn’t comprehend with their tired mouths.
And suddenly she felt there was something she didn’t know. And she started to get worried. Her sons hadn’t gotten home. Her oldest son, George, had gone to get his sister from school. Her son Simon had supposedly also gone to do the same thing.
Why weren’t they back yet? They should have been back when she left the house. Something must have happened to them…
And like every concerned mother, her train of thought took her from being in a relatively comfortable state to a mental wreck.
One of the doctors ran in front of her. She stood up and shouted “take me to your morgue”.
The doctor stopped in his tracks. He turned around and looked at her. “My sons are in your morgue. I need to see my sons”.