September 10, 2006

So How Do You Deal With This War?

I just got an invitation to an art exhibition on ‘siege art’. ‘To document the emotions and experiences we are currently living through, and historicize the moment' read the text. Is this a way of dealing with the war? Trying to merge it into daily life, to make it easier to swallow? How do Lebanese deal with this war? A question for you.

As I was talking to my editor in Holland about the fact that life seems to have resumed here as if nothing ever happened, and how it surprised me, we decided to do a double piece on how people deal with this war. A double piece, because our Jerusalem correspondent is going to show the Israeli side of the picture, whereas I am going to do to Lebanese take on the war.

I have mentioned earlier how amazed I was at the Lebanese’s resilience. They are like a weed, and carry on as if nothing has happened. But as I tried to dig a little deeper on this topic this weekend, it is clear that this is only the surface. You scratch a little, and a lot of anger and anxiety comes up. Anger, because a lot of people say they didn’t ask for this war, whereas others are saying that this war was planned anyhow, so the Lebanese were going to end up paying for this anyway. Anxiety, because very clearly the conflict is currently in pause mode; it has not been solved. The Israelis still have some beef with the Hezbollahs, the Iranians with the Israelis, the Americans with the Iranians, and on you go.

Right now the topic of conversation is; when will it start again? And who will start again? The question ‘will it start again’ is not even asked, people take that one for granted. How long does Hezbollah need to rearm and reorganize? How long before the Israelis have figured out where their mistakes in the Intelligence department were, and when will they have solved these? Estimates run between 4 months up to a year. But nobody seems to think that this was it. This was just a warm-up.
So how do you, the Lebanese, deal with it? Have you resorted to popping pills? Are you eating your way through it (as two of my friends have been doing). Are you partying like there is no end to it, or do you stay at home and play sudoka all day long.? A question for those Lebanese who lived through the war, and are currently trying to deal with it. All reactions are most welcome, as long as they are constructive.

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