Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Truth, versions and cheating death in Beirut

So I escaped unharmed. Of all days when I could go out, I decided to do it yesterday. 30 minutes before the explosion, I was stuck with Michel in a traffic jam in the port area because he needed to run an errand at a shop there. Then we went to a mall in Verdun and the glass wall nearby shattered and broke but we were about a meter too far so we escaped unharmed. This would not be my first time cheating death in Beirut. It happened to me prior in the war. Not just to me, to many other people as well. To offer heartfelt condolences for the families of the dead and speedy recovery for the wounded is decent, but also hollow.
Did Beirut, and in extenso, Lebanon need another tragedy to add to its growing pains? Certainly not. But as Bill Farrell, the New York Times correspondent in Beirut during the war said "There is no truth in Beirut, only versions" - there are too many versions about what happened already circulating. Anything from an Israeli strike to flammable material to a ship carrying fireworks. Still, the result is the same, dead and wounded and disappeared people. I got lucky with my friend and we both cheated death.
Here's to another round.