To my Beirut

Á mon Beyrouth…

I wanted to write…

I haven´t blogged for a while. There were many things I could have written about for the past few months. I could have written about the militia kidnappings for ransoms as high as 400,000 dollars and how the government decided it was best to let us freak out for weeks until they were so proud to announce that there will be no longer any kidnappings as though we were supposed to be so grateful. I could have written about how the militias had their own publicists representing them, and the sense of humor that Lebanese responded with on the Lebanese memes Facebook Page (who never post the memes I send, I guess I should stick to blogging).

But I didn’t. Nor did I write about the KFC burning because of a stupid movie by stupid people that caused so much chaos and more stupidity from everyone else who used every instinct they seem to have except their brains. Nor did I write about the increase in taxes to pay off the increase in salaries that the government felt they deserve when a third of the country is currently below the poverty line and it is still considered a luxury to have 24/7 electricity and water, though I think my piece would have been violent enough to send me for questioning over blaspheming against the holy politicians of this country “Qadi7 wa Zam”.

Nor did I write about the concern our dear government had for our health that they passed the anti-smoking law to protect our lungs from the perils of second hand smoking, whereas the lack of electricity in this country caused enough “motors” to cause Lebanon to have one of the highest rates of cancer in the world. Do the victims have the luxury of health insurance? No idea. But hey, the elections are coming up, so don’t forget your visit to St Jude’s hospital for Children with Cancer.

There are plenty of strategies they come up with to make life more miserable all the while each political party and politician proclaim that they are the best thing that can happen to Lebanon.

With all due disrespect….

Complete Bull isn’t it? You can never run out of material to write about while living in Beirut.

But I wanted to also write about nice things, funny things, personal things. Things that don’t leave people confused as to why we are always in the “Top Cities to Visit” list in tourist magazines around the world. I wanted to write about the Red Cross Peace festival downtown. I wanted to write about the Beirut Film Festival and the amazing things that we can do and are working towards doing in film. I wanted to write a review of the Lebanese film “Blind Intersections” on opening night and how it was so well done. I wanted to write about how I posed as a professional and experienced actress with my friends so that I could get second row seats to the festival, which I frankly think I deserve after working there for the last few years. I wanted to write about how hard Madame Colette Naufal worked to make this festival happen despite the political problems and obstacles this past year.

I wanted to write about the new film camera I bought, and the new perspective of Beirut I see.

I wanted to write about Hamra, and poetry, and photography. And the new film and TV projects I am working on. And the premiere of a series that is airing now in which I have a small role that I should see myself in, but I am too busy writing for a blog I have neglected in the past few months.

I wanted to write about so many things. But after the bomb on Friday, it was pretty obvious that I needed to write.

And then when I tried, I didn’t have any words to say. I didn’t know what to say. Should I write about Georgette, the mother of three (now orphans) who served coffee in the bank to support her family? Should I write about Jennifer Shedid, the brave little girl in the picture who is fighting for her life? Should I write about the corpses of the children who were killed because they were leaving school? Should I write about the body parts that were reported to be lying around? Should I write about the families who lost their homes in the blast? Some hotels have offered temporary residence for them for free, and people have begun fundraising and donations. But the government will offer no compensation, because they were too busy giving themselves a raise, as if their “legalized” businesses and “work on the side”  have not provided them with enough money already.

Should I write about General Wissam el Hassan, another in a long line of assassinated people in Lebanon, because he was a deemed a threat, or about the sickness that some Lebanese have become so normalized with bombs and death that they dismiss the murder of a fellow Lebanese simply because they consider him a political opponent.

Should I write about the ongoing sickness of Lebanese who have burned their country simply by proclaiming allegiance to another country? Or to religion before their country? People who have burned this country to its core, burning religion till it’s too mutilated to even be called religion, burning their own families, friends, neighbors because their sold themselves to those who made them burn their own land? Because they don’t have allegiance to this country. Because they don’t know what allegiance is. They don’t have loyalty to this land. They can see their brothers and sisters die because they disagree with them politically. They are willing to see Lebanon burn to satisfy their own needs and desires all under the name of “God” and “love” of this country. Lebanon doesn’t want your “love”. Lebanon doesn’t want your “God”. Lebanon’s “God” did not sell her to anyone. You did. When you let bombs happen in this country, when you let people die and then forget about their loved ones. When you let people starve, live in humiliating circumstances with no proper access to a better life. When you let people die at hospital doors, unable to get medical help because you took all their money. When you play around with the corruption in this country to make money for yourselves, but you change the price of the grain to “help the economy”. When you let people get kidnapped and released after paying 400,000 dollars of their own hard earned money by mafias you cannot control. When you let cars get stolen, drug businesses grow, then say it’s not in your hands to deal with the situation. How did you come up with the idea that you deserve a raise in your salaries? Usually it’s the boss who decides that, not the employees. But then you are twisted enough to think that we work for you, not you who should be working for us. When will you understand that you are burning us, and that you are burning yourselves as well. When will you know that history will not be merciful towards you. When will you know that if there is a God in the afterlife you will be judged, when will you know that you will be held accountable for our lives as well, because they were entrusted to you? When will you know that we have become living corpses? Till when are you going to test our grief? Till when will you test our anger? Our pain? Will you wait till we crack? Till we come and drink your blood like you drink ours? You think my words are too violent? I think they are too delicate. I think I am too convulsed by disgust and anger to care what you think. I think I am too sure of what you will be doing in a few weeks after the dead are buried. I think you will be kissing each other in front of the cameras and invite each other for lunch, crack jokes in the parliament and maybe the next time the Pope or a celebrity like Angelina Jolie come to Lebanon, you will all stand next to each other and take pictures with big smiles on your faces… the dead forgotten, their families and children left to fend for themselves, the people forgotten…

I am writing to you, and to the people who vote for you, and to the people who find you excuses, and accept your bribes, and to the people who support you because they don’t want to believe that there are other options. And to those who twist everything to make you look good, when at the end of the day you step on our necks to get what you want, undeserved votes and our silence.

I am tired of the same story at the elections. I am tired of having to vote with a blank piece of paper. I am tired of waiting for new faces in Lebanon’s politics that will not remind people of the war, or of death, or of corruption. I am tired of having had enough.

Maybe that is what I really wanted to write after all. Maybe my broken heart just can’t write anymore…


7 comments on “I wanted to write…

  1. Kaissi
    November 13, 2012

    – How much does it cost to fix electricity?
    and, How much does it cost to issue a law for smoking?

    – And concerning the rate of cancer.
    Source: “The guardian” UK Newspaper

    #1 has the highest cancer rate
    Data summary
    All cancer rates by country – cases per 100,000 people

    Country, Overall rate, Male rate, Female rate

    1 Denmark 326.1 334.7 325.3
    2 Ireland 317 355.9 285.1
    3 Australia 314.1 360.5 274.4
    4 New Zealand 309.2 337.6 287.1
    5 Belgium 306.8 351.3 275.7
    6 France (metropolitan) 300.4 360.6 254.9
    7 USA 300.2 335 274.4
    8 Norway 299.1 338.4 270.3
    9 Canada 296.6 325.9 275
    10 Czech Republic 295 348.8 259.1
    11 Israel 288.3 303.7 280.4
    12 The Netherlands 286.8 306.3 276.5
    13 Luxembourg 284 324 254.4
    14 Hungary 282.9 352.3 235.6
    15 Iceland 282.2 305.5 265.6
    16 Germany 282.1 330.7 245.7
    17 Uruguay 280.3 354.4 230.7
    18 Italy 274.3 310 251.6
    19 French Polynesia 269.6 289.7 256.8
    20 Switzerland 269.3 313.2 236
    21 Slovenia 267.9 319.6 232.9
    22 United Kingdom 266.9 280 260.5
    23 Croatia 263.1 315 229.3
    24 Republic of Korea 262.4 309.4 234.4
    25 Slovakia 260.6 320.2 223.4
    26 Sweden 252.1 269.6 241.2
    27 Finland 249.8 271.3 239.8
    28 Lithuania 244.4 316.5 207.8
    29 Chinese Taipei 244.1 282.3 208.5
    30 Mongolia 242.2 281.5 210.8
    31 Spain 241.4 309.9 187
    32 France (Martinique) 234.9 315.4
    33 Austria 232.7 275.4 200.6
    34 Estonia 230.4 285.7 203.7
    35 Latvia 230.4 304 193.4
    36 FYR Macedonia 225.1 262.1 196.5
    37 Bulgaria 224.7 252.9 206.6
    38 Portugal 223.2 266.8 190.8
    39 Poland 222.9 280.5 185.5
    40 Serbia 218.9 238.5 205.2
    41 New Caledonia 218.5 208.4
    42 Belarus 213.1 269 186.7
    43 Malta 211.4 199.7
    44 Barbados 207.9 251.3 189.1
    45 Armenia 207.5 260.4
    46 Argentina 206.2 193
    47 Romania 205.1 240.6
    48 Montenegro 204.3 185.2
    49 Albania 202.8 196.6
    50 South African Republic 202 254.8
    51 Japan 247.3
    52 Russian Federation 247.1
    53 France (Guadeloupe) 245.9
    54 France (La Reunion) 252.9
    55 Puerto Rico 253.6
    56 Honduras 181.6
    57 Jamaica 205.1
    58 Uganda 186.8
    59 Singapore 188.4

    • Natasha Ch
      November 13, 2012

      Fixing electricity would cost, very simply put, it would cost them our money that they stole.

      As for issuing a non smoking law, I think ministers in this country should have more pressing matters to deal with than to appear at an anti-smoking party in ABC Ashrafiyeh

      And as for the motors affecting the level of cancer rates in this country. There are enough studies made on the matter.

  2. Kaissi
    November 13, 2012

    I liked this part : “But then you are twisted enough to think that we work for you, not you who should be working for us”

    Compare with the debates “Romney and Obama” on TV.
    Each is allowed for 2 minutes by turn to convince people about their point of views and strategies. They look so small and weak, they try to be as calm as possible to convince people. They are under people’s mercy. If they are not good enough, they won’t be elected. Simple.

  3. Tarek Wheibi
    November 16, 2012

    To be honest, ever since the explosion happened i got really involved in trying to help the families or cleaning up the houses that were bombed, I got inspired by so many people and saw so many things…. But every time I tried to write nothing would come out; my Dashboard is filled with drafts that try to explain what I felt…. I just could not write anything about the subject…. The only way for us to honor those who died is by changing this country…. It’s naive… But I’d rather be called naive than be called hopeless… Great post….

    • Natasha Ch
      November 16, 2012

      Kudos Tarek

      Thank you for reading my blog. We need people like you.

      Don’t worry about writing. Once you are ready, the words will come alone. It took me six months to finally write.

  4. HummusForThought
    November 24, 2012

    When the bombing happened I was sitting in a coffee shop on Bliss. I had to write a story for class but immediately changed it to something related to the event and posted it on my blog. I didn’t even re-read it, it all just came out. I think more people should write about our problems our just write for its own sake. It allows us to bring out suppressed feelings. Great piece Natasha this is really beautiful. I can’t wait to finally meet you
    – Joey

  5. Ranting man
    January 31, 2013

    Well said.. it is time for change…enough already with what we have.
    i try to find humor in distress…but its getting harder!

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