I read a BBC article* that reminded me of days I thought were long gone and memories I had fiercely tried to suppress. I grew up in Beirut during the Lebanese civil war, a period of unimaginable emotional and physical hardship. Beside safety--which was elusive, a strike of luck at best-- and uncertainty --which crushed any chances at happiness and peace of mind even during moments of reprieve-- we had to attend to our basic needs. There was often no running water, no electricity, no bread our parents could put on the dining table or wrap into a sandwich to shove into us while taking shelter from bombs.
The electricity supply was disrupted early on. But my dad never believed the war would go on for long. He was adament it would all end soon and normality would be restored. So we lived on the scant light of candles for long painful months. He then budged a little, and we got gaslights, still not a generator like many others, because, "yes the war dragged, but it was gonna end soon, no doubt." Of course the war went on and on, 16 years to be exact, conditions escalating from bad to worse. A personal generator finally became a necessity. "Of course, we were only going to need it until the war ended, which should be soon. A small one would do, as we could all pile up in one of the rooms of the house. Remember, it is all temporary afterall. The war finally ended. Today, 30 years later, the great majority of Lebanese still have to rely on a power generator, at least part of the day, that is if they can afford it. Gone are the individual generators: Most people have a generator subscription from one of the many business suppliers, that offers as much power as one wants/can afford, enough to light up the whole house, AC units, TV, fridge, elevator, basically everything, and they use it on a daily basis when the main power goes off. Sadly, with the rapidly deteriorating economy, gaslights may be on their way back soon, if not the good old candles and old-fashioned lanterns. The article tells of a poor man with a life-threatening lung disease who relies on his power-operated breathing machine, his daily struggle to stay alive, and his absolute terror every time he hears the sound of silence at the heartless disappearance of power. It paints the picture of desolation and helplessness as that silence hits and the people awaken to their reality and the ever darkening tomorrows. Little did my father know then... He believed in his country. He stayed loyal to it and never left when he could... and what did that get him and the millions like him at this stage in his life?Turns out the power is unlikely to ever come back on, until the "powerful" are off its lifeline and that of its citizens. Only then can people again believe in colorful tomorrows and the power of dreams. As each lantern or candle is lit in these dark cold December nights, may a thousand souls turn ablaze and unapologetically, unhesitantly stand up for their sacred rights as the citizens of this ancient land. It should always be "We the people!!!!" Anywhere, any time.
يديم نورك يا هالقنديليا مضوي ظلمتنايا مخفف وحدتنايا مونس لياليناوسهرات حلوه مع الاحبا هادينا
*Lebanon electricity crisis: Stealing power to survive - BBC News
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