I need to pour them out of my mind into a white iPad screen, maybe then they’d leave. What humans are capable of doing to each other is unfathomable, and unless you have seen the dark side first hand, it is easy to think it doesn’t exist and live in a happy ‘All You Need is Love’ sixties embrace. If you think all people are intrinsically good, and all they need is a chance at a good life, then this might change your mind. Also, if you are faint hearted, the rest of this post is graphic so please do not read.
My uncle had a crush on a beautiful Christian woman when he was directing a school in a remote town in Lebanon. She liked him too, and whenever my uncle spoke of her, even years later, his eyes lit and only had fond memories of her sweetness, beauty, wit and grace. The war came and went. One day he happened at the Christian town, and reconnected with some of his old, pre-war, colleagues. He asked what became of her. They all sulked, then one finally broke a long silence:
“She became a monster.”
My uncle, shocked at the term they used, as no one refers to any human being with the term ‘wahshe’ in Lebanese, “What do you mean a monster?”
“You see her she looks like a monster. They entered their house and killed her little brother in the war, and she swore to eat the hearts of the men who did it, and she did.”
Every time my dad drove under a bridge at the border between West and East Beirut, he’d murmur, “This is the death bridge.” One time I finally asked why he said that every time we passed that bridge. He said during the war, militias would stop cars and ask for identification papers. Back then, religious identities were written on ID cards. Then they would take the people with the wrong religions out of their cars, rob them, strip them, throw them off the bridge, and shoot them as they flew down before hitting the ground, like a hunting ducks video game. I did not want to know which people were hunted like that, and by whom. I had friends from all sides, and everyone had blood on their hands. When the war ended, part of the resolution was to never print religious affiliations on ID cards ever again.
It was rainy and very cold in Beirut. I hailed a cab and rushed in, relieved to be out of the freeze and did not mind sharing it with two other passengers who were already there. I had not known I walked into a special cab, a murderous cab. The cabbie was still in the middle of his story: “He was on the highest floor of the building, and we spotted him. He was shooting men, women, children, dogs, ants if he could see them. He was full of hate. He kept on doing that for six days. No one could get to him. We tried and we died. Then we finally got to him. We tied him to the back of this cab, with a long rope. We dragged him all over Beirut, we dragged him to the houses of his victims, we dragged him for three days.”
I kept staring at the guy, I could not see the murderer in his eyes. I arrived and was back in the rain and cold, watching the cab drive away, with the sniper tied to its back.
The universe has light and dark. Humans happen to reflect both.