April of 2023 will mark ten years of my posting on this site. Quite a milestone that prompted me to review all my posts, and to refresh my memories. I found out that, overall, most of what I had written about has been Spot On, while in some instances there were some misjudgments and errors. In general, my fears of what the future holds if we continue on the same trajectory, and with the same mindset that we have been following since centuries, then that future will only be more dangerous than ever. Despite that, I ended 2022 on a Positive Note, though Reality has done its darnedest best to tell me otherwise as there have been some quite disconcerting happenings and events occurring in just these past two weeks! Heavens to Goodness! And, where does it go from here on? I have often said that predicting the future is a dicey proposition, but today I will venture to say that, as it seems right now, we need to prepare ourselves for a tumultuous, chaotic, heart-wrenching and treacherous several years to come. Whether it is Capitalism, Communism, Socialism, or Otherwise: they are all undergoing the same Failures of Leadership; Absence of Justice, Equality and Ethics; Obsession with War, Greed and Power rather than Principles of Coexistence! It is very relevant to note that none of the billionaires, millionaires, corporate chiefs, politicians, or the connected will be affected by the coming upheavals. To the contrary, they will be reaping in more profits than even they imagined! It is Us, Ordinary People, who are going to be compelled to navigate the treacherous days looming ahead. This is how it has been since the beginning of Man’s Obsession with Power and Money that has Never Been as Blatant as it is Nowadays. There are no signs that this will change anytime soon. I wish that I can promise otherwise!
Moreover, War and more War will be on our Horizon, and, therefore, I chose this piece which was my First Post to reflect upon some of the damage that Man’s Wars do!
Chubby, Our Pet Dog
I never wanted to own a pet. However, Chubby joined our household in 1971. My husband and my friend, Mayy, conspired to adopt her when I was vulnerably pregnant with my third child. She was a beautiful puppy and she was epileptic, which made us love her even more. She was a lady, though, and became bilingual, understanding our English as well as our Arabic speech.
The Lebanese Civil War started long before February of 1975. However, that date was the effective “Demarcation Line.” April 13, 1975 was when life began to spin out of control. Despite these very ominous dates, we, the “bourgeoisie” were still living the fata morgana that was Beirut. In July of that year, with my three children, my friend, Wadad and her three boys, we went on vacation to London as if all was well. Two weeks later, after hitting every touristic site in London, we were ready to go back. Wadad’s husband told her that the situation had escalated dramatically; the road from the airport to our apartment building was too precarious to navigate. Wadad stayed in London. Against my husband’s pleas, I returned. Since that time and up until the murder of innocents was halted, this manufactured war with its horrific daily events, was to bring on disastrous consequences to all of us, Lebanon’s citizens, and to the region as a whole.
Our apartment building was a block down from the Holiday Inn Hotel. Snipers had taken over control of the hotel and were amusing themselves with taking out a few people daily. The local militias were exchanging fire with them and so we had moved to my parent’s safer apartment. A few days, we thought. My parents had a Scottish Highland Terrier, a temperamental little fellow who wouldn’t have accepted sharing his turf with our Chubby. So we left her in our flat and asked our concierge and his family to feed her. Three days later, with the fire exchanges becoming more vicious, the concierge called and informed us that Chubby was crying and barking all day and night. We had to go and retrieve her.
We parked the car around the bend, out of the sniper’s range, and dashed across the street to the building entrance. A few bullets zinged eerily over us and we were greeted fervently with hugs and tears. We had made it safely across! After retrieving the ecstatic Chubby, we took her to my in-laws where my brother-in-law, Elias, was going to look after her.
Elias took her out when he went for a daily tour around his relatively safe neighborhood. The rubbish had been piling up on the streets. At first Chubby walked daintily away from the odiferous piles. Soon enough though, she began rummaging through the trash! At that moment, Chubby turned from a lady into a tramp!
We then moved to London and then to the US. However, since her street days, we could never retrain Chubby back to being a lady. If I looked away for a minute, she would climb on the kitchen counter and eat the meatballs I had put aside for dinner; she went into the rubbish bin, toppled it and spread it across my kitchen floor; she often ignored my commands and sometimes if I, or the children, did anything to displease her she would pee right in the middle of our beds!
The war had ruined our perfectly well-mannered Chubby, and the effects of that had become permanent. That’s what wars do. They leave scars on all of us who have been through them. Sometimes the scars are perceptible, often they are not. Sometimes we cope, often, as happened with me, it would take years before I realized how injured I was and how deeply I had internalized those traumas and horrors.
End of Post . . . and . . .
The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same???
Sadly, they do!
1 thought on “The More Things Change . . .”
Timely story, dear Hala. Thank you for the relatable example of how the vulnerable are hurt the most in war. And congratulations on your ten year anniversary!!