The explosion that hit Beirut on Tuesday 4 August still hits us everyday. The sight of the city is that of an aftermath of months of heavy fighting. If I didn't know those streets, I would think they're all very old buildings still left from the civil war.
Those who know me know that I am a fighter and that I have been fighting very difficult battles for at least seven years.
When bad things happen, I am usually fuelled by rage not by fear and like most of the Lebanese population, I am furious. I lost my home and, while the material damage is insignificant compared to the rest (and because I'm lucky enough to be able to stay with my parents for now), the image of Ella's room haunts me: there's no doubt that she would have been with her twin sister Mya right now if she were in her room. This thought and the feelings that go with it are way too familiar and way too real to me. I know exactly how it feels to lose a child and the fear of losing Ella came too close to being a reality.
Diane was killed in her car, in front of her two children, Ruben and Allison, my daughter's best friend. How can I tell the news to Ella? I spent two years trying to convince her that I won't die and hours trying to comfort her after the explosion saying that the blast didn't happen in a place where we would ever be and that we were safe… How can I tell her that Allison's mom died because of this same blast?
We clean our houses, bury the dead and then unleash our rage, they said. I was 100 percent with them. But here I was last Saturday, in Martyr Square, where I fought fearlessly many times before, in the middle of tear gas, breaking my hand, being beaten by a scum police officer. Here I am in the middle of a scene way too familiar and I just couldn't move… It hit me… I don't want to live in rage, in fear, in sadness anymore… Why is seeing my daughter in pain for four years, losing her, a divorce, losing a friend and a home not enough? Why is the third biggest bomb in history not enough to bring peace back to my country? Why are we still fighting the same criminals responsible for destroying an entire city?
Cramps in my stomach paralysed me. After a while I managed to move, following my brother and his wife into the fight but everything in me was screaming STOP! I kept going for an hour, seeing people carried away, passed out, dripping with blood. I was screaming under my mask, calling for the Red Cross, calling for anyone… No one could hear anyone… I just wanted it all to STOP.
STOP! I don't ever want to be in this place anymore! I don't want battlefields, I don't want blood, I don't want to scream pointlessly under my mask! I want peace and calm. But it feels like too much to ask in this country.