One-month anniversary

Image: Zena el-Khalil


It has been one month now.

For one month, Lebanon has had bombs drop on her.

In one month, I have aged 50 years.

For one month, I have cried everyday.

As the days unfold, the news is only getting worse. I find myself sinking … it has become so hard to write.

How many times can I keep repeating, help, Israel is targeting civilians; Israel is blowing up the whole country; infrastructure has been hit; all the highways have been hit; roads and bridges, hit; food and wheat storages, gas and fuel supplies, communication towers, ports all hit; hospitals shutting down because they have run out of fuel … the whole country is slowly being choked to death?

How many times can I keep repeating that the Israeli army is hitting trucks carrying food and aid, they are hitting the Red Cross, the UN?

How many times can I write that war crimes are being committed — that phosphorous bombs are being dropped on children?

How many times can I say that the oil spill has wrecked our coast and marine life? It has now spread to Syria, by the way, even after the clean up. It will be six years before the environment can stabilize again.

How many times can I keep saying that the planes are getting louder; the bombs are getting louder!

Over one million displaced civilians now. Over 1,000 civilians killed.

How many times do I have to say that my country is being destroyed piece by piece? Entire neighborhoods in my city no longer exist. Entire families have disappeared. The south of Lebanon is one fire.

For one month, I have seen Lebanon brutalized. Her citizens crushed under the rubble of their own homes.

You cannot make peace through bombs.

In a week, if we do not get fuel into the country, the hospital that Maya goes to will be shut down. She will not be able to get her chemotherapy. That is a few days from now.

A great friend sent me a song. It has become my mantra. Every time I think I’m going to break down, panic, etc., I put this song on full blast … and it somehow gets me to smile :) If there is no electricity, then I sing it out loud to myself, and to my sister, and brother, and dogs, and neighbors … ha ha ha … never thought I’d say this, but long live happy music!

Here are some of the lyrics:

Why must our children play in the streets/
broken hearts and faded dreams/
peace and love to everyone that you meet/
don’t you worry, it could be so sweet/
just look to the rainbow, you will see/
sun will shine till eternity/
I’ve got so much love in my heart/
no-one can tear it apart/
yeah/

feel the love generation/
yeah, yeah, yeah/
feel the love generation/
c’mon c’mon c’mon c’mon yeah/

(whistling …)

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Zena el-Khalil is an installation artist, painter, curator, and cultural activist. She is the co-founder of the art collective, xanadu*, that is based in NYC and Beirut. Her blog, documenting her writing from Beirut, is located at http://beirutupdate.blogspot.com/.