da | 10/11/2013 | AAS BLOG | 0 commenti

– Written February 1989 (I left Beirut in June 1982) –

My American Archaeology Professor is so nice. We call him Mr. Mc Adam, he is good at his subject, easy to talk to.
He wears plaid shirts and jeans most of the time.  3.30 is a good time for dead ruins and old civilizations. Relax with those picture slides of Petra and Palmyra. Look at that pottery, it’s so basic, yet so attractive.

Jewelry too, I’d love to own some of those earrings.  Style hasn’t changed much.  I could get the cheap version in plastic out in the streets for 5 Liras.  If I bargain I might get it for less.  But the poor guy has to eat too.  And he has six children!  5 Liras isn’t much for a spoiled kid like myself.

Back to the classroom: there are far too many wooden seats for such an average attendance.  I like the ‘ambiance’.  Mc Adam is standing talking and here comes the air strike:
“…And here is an example of the Stone Age…”, BOUM the bomb has landed a few miles away.  But to us it’s in a different universe, one we can hear and observe, but one that cannot touch us. At least, not in our minds…
More and more bombs land, finally Mc Adam loses his concentration. We lost ours for what seems like hours ago.  We have been taking notes automatically, thinking that at the same time lives are being struck, taken, mutilated, burnt. It matters, but how come are we being so indifferent?
Are we any better than passive observers?

We sit briefly on old stone benches outside the Archaeology Dept after class has been dismissed early, and we talk about the test tomorrow.
What kind of people are we? I don’t think now, looking in, we realized consciously or willingly the seriousness of the ‘situation’.  Why do we feel so protected? Why does fashion mean so much to the people who hang around the West Hall Bldg when Beirut is dying? Trips to Paris just to buy clothes, when little kids wear the same torn shirts in the Camps. Their little feet are so thick, they have been cut a thousand times on shrapnel, glass shards, metal, but none of us can feel that. Or we do,  but deny it.
It’s so much easier this way.

No shoes, but mud, yes mud is their shoe.

BOUM the bomb has landed a few miles away…