United States

A loyal Beirut heart

My love affair with Lebanon began when I left America in 1969 to settle in Beirut with my Lebanese husband, Michel, and our two small children, Naim and Nayla. In Beirut, I found my place to grow. My commitment to stay there through the first eight years of the civil war was a consequence of that deep love affair. I had married into a family that was loving and accepting. It was exciting to wake up every day as a foreigner embraced by a Lebanese family. This is the kind of love which develops a loyal Beirut heart, one which never dissolves. When war began in 1975 I chose for practical reasons to stay and fight. When I say ‘fight’ I mean fight in a way a housewife does. 

Ali La Pointe and Zena's words on the New York streets

I was invited to teach at an art workshop, so yesterday I went. I gave a lecture in the morning and then in the afternoon I was asked to give the students an assignment that they could do in two hours. I decided to print emails from my inbox from the last two weeks. I also printed out the article about the Americans rushing bombs to Israel and spoke about the absurdity of the question Americans ask about wether to get involved or not when they are 100 percent involved! I gave each student a different email, and a copy of the article, and told them to go out into the streets and do something in the public sphere based on their interaction, (or reaction) or whatever with the emails. 

How Do we Sleep While Beirut is Burning?

“The paramount mood of Beirut in late-June 2006 was the hustle bustle of a thriving cosmopolis. Ours was a privileged perspective — two foreigners familiar with the pulse of the neighborhood, embraced and welcomed by a constellation of friends and acquaintances, comrades and colleagues… Beirut was thriving. Lebanon could have been a model of productive ideological conflicts, of civil discourse, progressive politics, foreign investments, domestic contestations, intellectual diversity, moral variations. Beirut was civil, civilizing, cosmopolitan.” In part one of a two-part series, Professor Hamid Dabashi reflects on the beauty of a country reduced to rubble by the Israelis and into two dimensions by the news media. 

Israel's latest attack on the poor

Residents of our village are leaving for fear of running out of food; water is scarce and there are only four small grocery stores for a population of about 15,000 people. This is common throughout the South, as most depend on the cities for commerce (cities they are now cut off from). My grandmother and aunt have left the safety of our family’s bomb shelter to stay in a village on the coast. What appalling choices they have been given — seeking refuge in a building with no bomb shelter, in closer proximity to Israeli war ships, or remaining in a village where food is running out. The death toll in Lebanon is now 150 civilians, with the number of injured rising to 350. 

Hands full of empty words in Chicago

If I could stop time I would, stop everything from moving forward, not for long, just for a few moments, just long enough to let out the scream that is growing in my lungs making it difficult to breathe. Here I am in Chicago on the hottest day of the year so far, an overcast day where the air is like a swimming pool, where the humidity is so thick you can smell it, feel it wrap around your skin as soon as you step outside. This morning I walked outside into the humid air and thought, immediately: Beirut. 


Launch announcement press release for The Electronic Intifada’s new website, switched from Intranet to Internet mode on 4 September 2002.