There are a few faces and a few corners that I consider landmarks in Beirut. Things that when you see, hear or feel can in themselves be a description of all that is Beirut.
You were one of the faces.
This is the second time I have mentioned you in this blog, and while I know nothing about you but the million stories that AUB and LAU students have passed on; seeing you on Bliss and on Hamra has always been, ironically, a warm sight.
I have shared with you a “one on one” for about thirty minutes my second year of college. I had just finished my night shift in Lina’s Hamra and in my constant search for “moments”; I decided to sit on the sidewalk next to you to smoke a cigarette.
You said nothing.
You didn’t answer any of my questions and did not respond to my offer for a cigarette, But in saying nothing you got me to gaze at your face and get lost imagining “what has been” and “what could have been”.
The story about you being a former teacher at AUB who had his family killed in front of him and who eventually ended up on the streets, is one of the most heartbreaking stories ever and I always hoped it was just a myth. But your eyes left no room for doubt… Life was no easy trip for you. Life had let you down.
Or was it Lebanon?
Were you a victim of what this country had to offer and what it’s people did and did not do?
Could I have done anything?
You died on the streets of Beirut.
And you did it in style, in the worst storm that has hit the country in over thirty years.
And while I wish someone took care of you and sheltered you; I think for some reason, dying on Beirut’s streets is your biggest “fuck you” to what this country has to give.
You took it all, all the hardships and pain that this country had to offer….
You took it, And yet somehow you managed to get into the hearts of everyone. We all know you, we all love you and your pictures are all over the place.
Rest in Peace silent friend.