Patrick McGreevy

Cruising out of Beirut

In the early evening, we watched from our apartment balcony as a huge white cruise ship glided past west Beirut toward Cyprus. Aboard were several groups of evacuees, including a number of US students from American University of Beirut. A few minutes later, another colossal cruise ship came by in the opposite direction; we heard it was a French ship that would be taking out more evacuees tomorrow. It looked like time for a Caribbean festival. At our apartment were gathered a group of about 10 AUB faculty and staff, and one young Filipino woman. The phone rang: it was an AUB official who needed immediate answers. The time had arrived: each of us had to decide whether to stay or go. 

Not a normal Monday

Many foreigners have been finding ways out of Lebanon. American students at AUB will be given first priority tomorrow; the Embassy says it won’t announce until the last minute if by land, sea or helicopter. Others will apparently have the opportunity as early as tomorrow, and most likely within the next three days. It is interesting what causes tension among people in situations like this. They have been told they can only have one small bag. The dilemma is like the subject of a high school essay - what would you bring if you had a few hours to pack and could only fill one small bag? There was a great deal of discussion about going or not going. 

This nameless war

This evening as we gathered in Ras Beirut with some close friends for food and conversation, I asked if this war had a name yet. Someone suggested that all of Israel’s wars are known by dates, so this would be the 2006 war. To the Arabs, they are all known as tragedies. This could be the rape of Lebanon (though hardly the deflowering), the July massacre (this only works for the one-month war). If I knew the names of the two captured Israeli soldiers, I might suggest the war be named after them, or has it gone way beyond that?