While I was building dreams, they were preparing my destruction

Dreams destroyed: A general view of the demolished area of the suburb Thahieh, southern Beirut, 28 July 2006. (MaanImages/Raoul Kramer)


The latest in my inbox today … I have now heard from more than one source that these attacked have been planned all along.

“Of all of Israel’s wars since 1948, this was the one for which Israel was most prepared,” Gerald Steinberg, a political science professor at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, told the San Francisco Chronicle (7/21/05). “By 2004, the military campaign scheduled to last about three weeks that we’re seeing now had already been blocked out and, in the last year or two, it’s been simulated and rehearsed across the board.” The Chronicle reported that a “senior Israeli army officer” has been giving PowerPoint presentations for more than a year to “U.S. and other diplomats, journalists and think tanks” outlining the coming war with Lebanon, explaining that a combination of air and ground forces would target Hezbollah and “transportation and communication arteries.”

—www.fair.org

Can someone tell me why I wasn’t notified? They tell the press, but they don’t tell me? Boy do I feel stupid.

Today I feel so stupid.

For the last six years, I have been making plans. I have been building dreams. I got married. I bought a home. I painted. I exhibited. I made plans with people … for them to come here. I invested time, emotions, money, ideas, love … into Lebanon.

For the last six years, I have been building bridges. From Beirut to New York. From Beirut to everywhere.

For the last six years, I have made new friends. I have met with people. I have made contacts. I have made committments.

For the last six years, I promised people things. At work, at home, with friends …

For the last six years, I have been encouraging others to paint, sculpt, draw, film, photograph, make, stick, sew, create … I promised them that their work would get somewhere … that is was so important to make work … that Lebanon was embracing the arts, and we just had to direct it.

For the last six years, I promised my parents a family. I promised them grandchildren.

For the last six years, I promised my best friends a Beirut that our kids would love. A Beirut that would be healthy for ourselves and our friends. A Beirut that would be unlike any other city in the world.

I just wish I got to see the Powerpoint presentation. Then I wouldn’t have wasted my time on so much hope. While I was building dreams, they were preparing my destruction. Why?

Yes, dear reader, I am becoming angry and cynical. This is what happens when you stop sleeping. This is what happens when you stop eating. This is what happens when your dreams are shattered. This is what happens when your country is violated.

But I will not hate. I will never hate. I am just really really disappointed by these people who feel they have the right to govern my life.

The only thing left to do now is to resist. Resist with love. My most powerful weapon that no one can touch.

I still love. I will always love. I love Beirut.

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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/.