This morning, I woke up early, literally at a sound of a bomb. At any other day, dressing up and a 30 minute drive were things I wouldn't think of much. But today, things were different. As of 8.00 a.m, a ceasefire was about to take place. One has to commend the IDF forces for stopping their killing spree on time. They spent the last few minutes before the ceasefire came into effect raiding a Biscuit factory in Choueifat!
For the first time in a month, I got to wear a shirt and pants (as opposed to a T-shirt and jeans) to work, and I embarked on the very strange drive to Beirut – where I work. Going against the direction, then to parallel old roads, then back to highways, then back to parallel old roads is quite extraordinary. One has to avoid every kind of bridge (all destroyed), and flyovers. Then, a scene of devastation: Damour Bridge, completely gone. Cars from both directions are crossing over a pile of sand remaining on the edge of the Western Lane, pick-up trucks were leaning so hard towards the pit that one thinks they are about to fall over. Yet, people were lining up, most of them going south; In their cars, in trucks, and buses. They all know that their homes were probably completely demolished while the USA was working on a "sustainable cease fire," but they were happy to be heading home.
Then to Beirut. Roads get better the closer you get to Beirut. I usually get at the Khaldeh Intersection at 8.05 daily, just in time to see the MEA flights depart to London and Paris. Today the airport was empty, and the MEA aircraft were in Damascus and Amman. A hole in the Airport tunnel that goes under the runway, and then Ouzaii, covered in white paper pamphlets dropped by the IDF. Life slowly going back to normal. We have been into more difficult days than this. I found myself humming a song my Fairuz, "The Bird comes back," and I will translate it my way:
"the bird is back to build a nest in the brick roof,
and the flower is back to blossoming,
Winter is back, lovers get together,
Schools are back.. Kids.. Snow.. Festival..
...but those who are gone are gone!
They say it's destroyed, the country of Roar,
The country of time, that taught and built,
And World cried, the world cried..
BUT WE Shall stay.. But We shall stay..
We will come back from fires,
From streets Destroyed by Guns, We shall be back,
The True Lebanon is coming,
The Simple Lebanon is coming,
To push away painted faces and stamped promises,
And the rain will swipe them away,
In the shadow of doors, childhood is growing,
Heroism is growing,
Places are shinning,
Oh Great Country, the river of joy is bursting,
And in the light of the rising sun,
Life glitters. Life Glitters!
I sang the words, and then I said: as long as I shall live, that is my prayer, my Oath, my Promise!!