Mohammed's Story

en español:

It is not me they should be worrying about, my friends from countries around the world who have been calling since Wednesday; after all I live in one of the safest areas of this country, next to embassies, and prime ministers. I have water and electricity, and above all internet. If they are to worry, they are to think of the tens of people I am calling everyday. People in the south of Lebanon who are under the shelling, and isolated from the rest of the country. If I am to share a diary I will not share mine, but that of my friend Mohammed and his family.

There are forty people in Mohammed’s two bedroom house since Thursday. Along with his wife and his twin boys, are his brothers and sisters, their children and their 70 year old mother. Their village has been attacked and is relatively unsafe. Unfortunately the place they are staying at now is not any safer. They are in Al-Hosh, a suburb of the city of Tyre. Yesterday night a gas station hundreds of meters away was bombed, and they have been hearing the shelling all day today. They have no electricity. The generators, already present in most regions, of the country are running out of fuel as the roads to the south are all destroyed now. Water which should reach the houses through electric pumps is now scarce due to the electricity pumps.

The family feels isolated, the road back to their village was already destroyed so are the roads to other regions of the country. “It is like we are living on the margins of life, things might happen here and nobody would know.” We talk about Naim, a kid we both knew from a Zibqine a lovely village south of Tyre. He died on Thursday along with 11 other members of his family when their family home was bombed. Some of the bodies might still be under the rubble. “Basseeta”, he says, literally meaning “it is simple” or “not a problem”, and I ask how can he say something like this, while his family is under siege and threat. He says it to continue, expecting that if anything happens to him and his family, the world, as with Naim, might also see it as too minimal of an incidence.

“We know the story too well, we lived it so many times” he says, “but this time I feel it differently”. “Yesterday, watching my children in their sleep, I was overwhelmed by the feeling of helplessness. How can I protect them? They are three and a half years old and I thought they were saved from the life we lived. I am scared of the possibility of running out of supplies, of gas, water and food for them. They are agitated, now trapped in the house with 38 other people for three days. What scares me too is that they are acquiring too early knowledge I wanted to shield them from. Yesterday, on the phone with their uncle in Germany, they asked for a tank, like the one the Israelis have, as a present on his next trip to Lebanon. It chokes me up. When I was kid I asked for plastic guns as a gift. We played “war” in the living room with cushions as our sandbags; this was a game they never played and I was hoping they would never learn. Yet, unfortunately, it seems I am not their only tutor.”

1 comment:

tania khoury said...

yeah im always thinking about parents with children in the war. i guess that's the hardest thing that can happen to anybody there.