I write about the war because the war was my entire childhood. There is no separation. When you are born into a war, as opposed to being an adult in a war, or going to participate in a war, or discussing and strategizing about war from a distance, your perceptions and conclusions are different.
One thing is, as a child, you think war is the whole world’s reality, and ideas that things are not blowing up everywhere else, or people living peacefully and going about their normal everyday lives, seem very foreign to you. The Lebanese war was particularly insane, because it was not a war where two sides are fighting each other: one good and one bad and ideally you belong to the good side. It was more than fifteen sides fighting each other, and several countries playing out their wars through Lebanon. To a child that’s not insanity, it is: I want to watch the tanks, I want to run to the highest hill to watch war planes in action, I want to sit with adults to hear about what happened today, I want to play with the new weapons, I want to shoot an RPG. I still want to shoot an RPG by the way.
When something particularly tragic happens, as in a whole hospital pancaked from the sky, or your town gets targeted for no reason- missile explosions are really really really loud- you, even as a child, think of the person who pressed that button, from distance, and wiped out a whole neighborhood. You also think of the people left behind, and their pain. You witness the best of humanity, and it’s worst, simultaneously. You learn a lot about people in their raw states.
I was in a small, cold and old bomb shelter, with my whole family, all our neighbors, and all their neighbors. I was staring at the small window with its iron bars, the big rocks making up the walls, the dirt, and waiting for the bombs to blow. Such a small space with so many people, very quiet people. I asked my dad if the walls will fall when the bombs blow. He said no the walls are strong and we are underground. I asked him what if the bombs blew near the window. He said they won’t. I asked him what if they blew near the door and blocked the door. He said they won’t. He said the house is old, but it will hold.
2 thoughts on “Back to the Lebanese Civil War”
Your story reminds me of a movie I just watched “First They Killed my Father”. It is a true story of a child and family in Cambodia during the Kymer Rouge era. Horrific experience for the child. Worth watching on Netflix.
Thanks for the recommendation Don I will watch it for sure!