Sneak peek into an estranged world. Cheers!

Posts tagged ‘safe’

Romeo and Juliet style

Living in Lebanon you continuously hear of different troubling news going on all over the city: A bomb over here, a gun fight over there, or simply the murders of different names.

When talking about bombs, we get different namings for different kinds (yes you have to learn them if you want to know exactly how much you need to freak out).

So we got the normal (read sarcastically) “humane” hidden explosives like that which killed Rafic Hariri and many others (naming Hariri for it is the most famous one in that type of bombings), where the terrorists hide the C4 under the ground or hide it in a random car on that street. With this type of bombs, you’re going to be fine, whoever was the target it’s done now and you can move on, just try and avoid the area from traffic and curious people.

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The “evil” hidden explosive takes the Lebanese and Syrians back centuries of civilization where we have the suicidal bombers that drive a car around full of C4 before killing themselves and the target (or sometimes just to scare the crowds). When these go off you should panic a bit, especially when there is no specific target, in these cases who knows where they will hit next and you should be careful. But if there was a target then be a bit worried from the crowds that might decide that they’ve had enough and decide to carry their guns once again.

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Or I this case have a wedding to show that love still exists.

Now that’s where the fun begins!

The shooting type and when to be afraid, when to be fine, and when to be very afraid:

The first type I would like to talk about is the “back-clash” gun fire, that usually takes place after a “evil” bomb, it’s when the crowds decide to try and take matters into their own hands by scaring off other crowds, shooting at random people or in the air (of course forgetting that what goes up must come down), and ensuring an interesting number of casualties and injured on the night news.

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These you need to be very afraid of; my father’s cousin was playing golf a couple of months ago when some guys decided to shoot in the air a bit, one of the stray bullets decided to lodge itself in her shoulder before deciding to head out the other side. In cases like these I like to keep a roof over my head and stay away of windows, however far I am from the shooting.

Now the other type of shooting would be the “Romeo and Juliet” style, where you have two random kids from over-excited families that fight over a woman, a seat, a parking space, or even an idea; and end up getting both their families in uproar, shooting at each other from different ends of the street, making the street dividing line a war zone.

Now these clashes are interesting in a way, if you’re close to the streets where either family reside, get away asap, you don’t want to get stuck in the middle (trust me, it could go on for days!), if you reside in the area avoid all windows for the duration of the clashes so not to receive a stray bullet, as well as move the TV and other breakable objects away from the windows and balconies (I miss our old TV!).

Another type of gun-fight, the “cowboy” shooting would be two random guys that just shoot at each other until one gets the other, or in the case where one simply attacks and kills the other straight up for some obscure and unknown past “règlement de compte”. These aren’t scary much at first, you have to wait until you get the names of the person that was killed, and base your decision on whether to be afraid or fine; if one of the people is from an important family, or known as a hot-blooded family, stay at home and avoid contact with the outside, a “Romeo and Juliet” might take place and you’re going to want to stay away from there. If it were some obscure person with an obscure family you’re pretty OK to head out, just keep your guards up just in case.

And last but not least you got the “happy” gunfire, where a proud father who’s soon just graduated wants to show his pride, or a bunch of friends celebrate the wedding of a friend by shooring a row of bullets as fire work. These are usually safe, just as long as you keep a roof over your head you’ll be fine (but you should know that some people were mistakenly injured or worse at some of these “happy” shootings).

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I know, the way I write it makes it feel so much less scary, and the simplicity in which I describe each scene can sound pretty inhumane as well, but after 26 years of being born and growing in this country, I can’t find any other way to be able to put it in without freaking out every second of my life and living in a bubble in the basement (of the building of course! No houses in Beirut!).

Now that we’ve cleared that out, next time you get a bit of news from LBCI, MTV, OTV, AlAkhbar, AlJazeera or any other channel on your phone, you’ll know exactly what to do. Meanwhile I’m going to hide behind my computer.

T.

It all ended in a bang

Today I remembered an old friend.
I consider him as a friend though not long ago I found out I didn’t know him as well as I thought I did.

He was there when it all started for me. I have to say I was never a model teenager (but really who is?), I discovered back then that being mad at your parents came with the age. You had to burst out all your energy on something, you had to find ways to control your hormones, and as a woman learn to understand your bursts of emotion. And as most teenagers in my day, we discovered alcohol.

It made us do stupid stuff back in the days, joining up with your gang of friends in the village and trying to act cool and drunk.
And that’s where he always was, caring for us, taking care of us and hiding our dumb outbursts from our parents. When we stole the car for a ride in the hills he would make sure we were always safe; and of course, being as Lebanese of the after war kids, we wanted to learn all about guns: so he taught us how to shoot then and clean them.

That’s where we should have seen it. But we were kids, we just wanted to have fun (and I have to add I still do, you always need the spice in your life to keep you going when times are tough, so you go back to being 16). But then it happened:

My friend killed himself with a gun nearly a year ago. After killing a man in broad daylight in the streets of the village.

We all knew him growing up there, we felt safe around him. We knew we could always count on him.
We were wrong. I don’t blame him as a killer or as a suicidal person. I blame his actions on the weakness of the human heart and the evilness of those that take pride in their being able to control emotions.

The heart is afer all the strongest and the weakest of all organs.

It was all impulse, and ended in him realizing what happened and knowing that this was the end for him. From self pity some may say. I call it reason. Reason beat the heart, and made it realize that he was supposed to be in control.

H.G. I still think of you. But I wanted to remember you. You’ve always been, and will always be, a friend I will feel safe around. My reason tells me the truth. Cheers.

T.

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