I have a handful of posts that I’ve been working on, but somehow, after the events of this weekend, pictures from Isla’s birthday and new cultural discoveries I’ve made somehow don’t seem appropriate.
For those of you who haven’t seen it in the news, a car bomb exploded in a nearby neighborhood on Friday afternoon.
Immediately the theories started flying, accusations made… the most common one I heard in the early hours after the bomb was that Syria was responsible, and their goal was to terrorize and destabilize Lebanon.
I’ll admit, this is terrifying. This – the random acts of violence aimed at ordinary people going about their day – is what I struggled with most as we prayed about coming to Lebanon. We knew the potential that this would be our reality, and I really had to work through in my own heart and mind if such a reality was one that I could live with on a daily basis. But since we arrived four years ago, things have been relatively peaceful. An explosion so very close to home was rattling to say the least.
I got a weird feeling in my stomach… the same feeling I got walking in to school in the days and weeks following the Columbine tragedy. The same feeling I had as a child going under a big concrete overpass in the hours and days after a big earthquake… What if?
Then a few hours later the news came out that it wasn’t in fact a random act of terror, but the assassination of the chief of the information branch of internal security. While this doesn’t make it any less tragic for this man’s family or for those considered “collateral damage” (what a terrible word to describe the lives of men and women taken so senselessly in the attack!), I think many in Beirut breathed a collective sigh of relief. Maybe it’s a coping mechanism, that if you can prove to yourself rationally (or not?) that this isn’t going to happen to you, it takes a little of the terror out of it.
So we go about our day. Grocery shopping needs to be done. Isla’s birthday party will go on. And then we make a plan to head to the souk to get me a dress for a wedding we have this coming weekend. But we turn on the TV and see that the funeral has turned into protests and tear gas and we decide to stay home.
And the feeling in the pit of my stomach returns… was it really a one-time thing or the start of something bigger?
Only time will tell. And in the meantime, I will stop reading the news and go back to bedtime stories and birthday cakes. And maybe post those videos of the girls I’ve been taking.