Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Shwarma shortage & the rules of war

If I have to eat another Shish Taouk chicken sandwich, I'm going to evacuate. No shwarma in sight! Do the Israelis have shwarma shortages? Of course not. Here some of the Sunni Beiruti cornershop owners are hiking the price of everyday items. That's war profiteering on a petty scale. But with the current tense atmosphere, it's not adviseable to hurl that insult around. And there are more serious shortages: medicine, food, water, and housing for 500,000 displaced persons.

Speaking of the tense atmosphere, I have seen at least 5 fights in the past two days. A car accident on Hamra street turned into an all out brawl, until the army intervened and arrested two people; the Amal supporters in the neighborhood next to mine were firing at something or someone the other night. There's a lot of shouting followed by deathly silence, followed by explosions when the night raids begin.

There are patterns and rules to war, according to my friend Rami, and everytime it's different. The Israelis are offering us a diverse program these days, full of surprises, which makes it hard to figure out "the rules". For two nights in a row, they start bombing the airport or Dahieyeh (again) at 3am. From 3am to 5am, a bomb drops every 15 minutes. Then from 5 to 7am, they step it up and bomb every two to three minutes. You hardly wake up, because your body and REM adapt to the IAF's agenda. But then they go and switch it all up, and it's very confusing. But you learn to anticipate a bomb, because sometimes you can see flares, which are like gigantic spotlights. Then the sky turns pinkish, the birds start chirping. Then the bomb drops. And then, then the dogs start barking like crazy. I thought dogs were smarter than that, but they give us no forewarning. No wonder the Chinese eat dogs.

Bombing changes the climate. The smoke clouds from the suburbs sometimes obscure the whole sky over Beirut, and so we have cool and cloudy days in July! Thanks, Israel, for sparing us the ruthless sun and brutal humidity! I know its meant to be a remedial effort: You bomb the electricity so we have no fans or airconditioning, but eventually, due to the cumulative effect of the bombing, the sun no longer shines. Appreciate it. Really.


erydan said...

I sent your story to my father in the US, his reply was so sad going to lunch for Shawarma now... Talk about support and solidarity... At least I know that Shawarma in the US sucks. Hopfully I will be on that boat out to Canada and gettign some of that good Canadian Shawarma soon:)

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