July 14, 2006
Pardon the Interruption…
Zena el-Khalil writing from Beirut, Lebanon 13 July 2006
Ladies and gentlemen, I did not want to burden you with the troubles of war but…
At 3:28am this morning, I woke up to the sound of Israeli jets flying low over our skies in Beirut. I was just beginning to finally fall asleep, had racing thoughts in my mind all night, cramps in my stomach, fear…
Just as I thought I was going to fall asleep, I heard the sound of jets, followed by one explosion after another.
It has calmed down now. I hear morning prayers in the distance. I am at home with some friends who have taken refuge with us. A lot of them foreigners. We are trying to explain… Who, what, why…
But, we’re also trying to be normal. Because being normal is what got the Lebanese through 20 some years of war. We are joking about how the airport is on fire because of all the alcohol in the duty free. We are trying to be normal.
Up until now, Israel has done the following:
-blown up our international airport, runways, and gas tanks for planes. No one can leave or enter the country.
-blown up small military domestic airports (both in the north and south)
-blown up all bridges and roads linking beirut to the south
-blown up areas/villages of the south, everything from the deep south to saida
-blown up … As I type this now, another jet is flying by, it is so loud
… Continue… Blown up the suburbs (Dahiye).. Three missiles
-blown up the Beirut-Damascus road at several points
-we are surrounded at sea as well, there are military ships launching attacks
…Not watching TV anymore, but I know there is so much more going on.
Thousands evacuated their homes from the south today. They had to walk for miles because their cars could not cross the highway.
Another jet and another explosion. This is all going into Dahiyeh. I can see the red anti-aircraft tracer bullets being shot in retaliation. Pointless.
The weapons Hizbullah have are old and outdated World War II leftovers from Russia… No match for Israeli technology.
Newest update, it’s 4:26am, Israelis are attacking the city, Saida, from sea. They are targeting the bridge that connects to Saida. Another really loud bomb. My heart is racing. I can only pretend to be brave.
Everything that is happening now is because Israel is trying to wipe out any trace of Hizballah in Lebanon. In the process of doing all this, they have wiped out our infrastructure. Our roads, bridges, etc., civilian homes,
It’s 4:32am and I have a knot in my stomach. I am praying they don’t hit the electricity. I want my Internet. I think it’s the only thing that will help me stay normal.
Latest update: 9 missile raids into Dahiyeh in the last hour. There are now several parts of Beirut without electricity.
I am praying for the people in Dahiyeh… Another really really loud bomb. I guess that makes it 10 now. I am angry now. The things that cross your mind… I just set up a new installation last week, now, no one will get to see it.
I was just about ready to launch an international residency program here… Not going to happen now. Was just planning to start a family… who wants to get pregnant now?
Ladies and gentlemen, I did not want to burden you with the troubles of war but I think it is really important that the world knows what is going on. We are under attack by Israel. It is unjust and unfair. I wonder what the media coverage is like out there.
All this must end. Israel must be stopped. This is so unjust and unfair. Everything we’ve worked on for the past 10 years is gone now. So, so, so unjust and unfair. We had so many cultural events planned for the
summer… exhibits… concerts… plays, etc. — all gone.
Dear friends, pray for us. For this madness to end. Pray for the Lebanese people to stick through this together and not lose their cool.
Believe it or not, the sun is beginning to rise and I actually hear birds chirping.
Zena el-Khalil is an installation artist, painter, curator, and cultural activist. She is the co-founder of the art collective, xanadu*, that is based in NYC and Beirut. She currently lives in Beirut.