Sunday, May 11, 2008

So many stories

We live in the Information Age and never this is truer than when violence enters the streets of where you live. All day long, we watch the news and talk on the phone to friends for the latest snippets of news. You wonder how people experienced wars a century ago when instant news was not available.

For one thing, it must have been more quiet. Being here in the mountain village, we are far from the fighting. Yet, the cell phone and the TV bring all of it straight to our living room. Blessing or a curse? Impossible to answer. It’s great to hear news about what’s happening in Beirut, but then again, the news from friends and TV stations often contradicts each other.

Are the roads open or not? Is Hamra safe or not? Are shops open or not?…you hear different answers every time. So many TV stations (well, one less after Hezbollah ‘defended its arms’) and yet no clear answers to these basic questions that are in the minds of so many people.

What stays with you are the personal stories we hear from friends. Like, one of our Sunni friends wanted to buy toilet paper in the local grocery store right next to his house. The owner is Shiite and they always have gotten along fine. He went into the store and asked for some toilet paper. Our friend couldn’t reach it himself since it was put up way high, like they do in these little stores (dekaneh) in Lebanon.

Guess what the owner told him? “Sorry, we ran all of out toilet paper”. “But I can see it right up there!”, our friend replied. However, no matter what he said, the owner wouldn’t sell him toilet paper. It was only until later that our friend realized the store owner didn’t want to sell to Sunnis anymore.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe your friend should throw a grenade in the shop.

Francine said...

Reminds me of 30 ago... fill in Palestinians (they too said they would only use violence against Israel -for the benefit of their rightuous cause- and not against their fellow arab hosts} instead of Hezbollah and you've got the same "incidents" occurring with the same consequences for the people. As if having a neighbour like Israel doesn't suffice.

Interestingly indeed, why not push till "full victory"? Perhaps the party of God does not want too much of a Syrian/Iranian patronage? Dictating the rules by your own in a region of your own can be rewarding enough? "Own" Lebaneze hezbollah is perhaps better accepted by the Lebaneze?
In any event, insanity of the language of arms is still not understood, by any party and sadly enough despite all parties' tragic history.

@anonymous 4:36 p.m.
Too bad that insurance companies don't operate in Lebanon, throwing in grenades would at least then serve a purpose.