Friday, July 14, 2006

A glimpse into Beirut

Just hung up on a disturbing phone conversation with Khaled. A Lebanese-Canadian buddy of mine since High school. We both attended the same private, US-accredited high school in Saudi and were in the same grade. When we graduated, we both came back to Canada. He attended McGill and majored in Management, I registered in Concordia and studied accounting. We shared an apartment for 4 crazy years and when we were finally free from the hellhole that is called "higher education", we finally parted ways. I got a job with RBC here in mtl, and he left to Beirut to work as an assistant manager to his brother at a 4 star hotel in Beirut. He was, and still is my best friend to this day. So you can imagine the shock and fear that I had to go through when I heard his angry, terrified voice on the phone just 10 minutes ago.

4:15 in the mourning.

*me passed out on the couch in the living room*
The phone rings. And after 20 seconds of constant ringing, I finally wake up and stumble towards the phone.

Me: Who the fuck is this?
Khaled: Top of the morning dickhead...
Me: HEY!!! Were have you been? I've trying to call you since mourning, but for some reason I keep getting Turkey!
Khaled: Phone lines are mess right now. This was my 19th attempt to call you.
Me: What's going on? Are you allright?
Khaled: I'm ok...Alaa is ok...Rania is ok...were all good.
Me: Thank god!

*Fast Forward 5 minutes*

Khaled: The streets are deserted man...its like scene from Resident Evil only more creepier.
Me: Are you in a shelter?
Khaled: No no. Were in the apartment. But no one is going out. Not even to the store.
Me: You have enough food and water in there?
Khaled: Umm not really. The people in the building have locked the front door and have opened their apartment doors. So in a way its like living in a crowded 9 story house. Everybody's sharing their food and stuff. So were ok for now.

*Fast forward 2 minutes*

Me: How are people handling this?
Khaled: Its a mess! Some women are sobbing, the men are screaming in outrage, everybody's scared. And angry at the same time. Can't really describe it in have to see it to believe it.
Me: shit...
Khaled: Just when things look to be going on the right path, shit like this happens. Fuck man! Does trouble come looking for our people?
Me: (laughing) I don't think so. It seems to know where we are most of the time.
Khaled: This isn't the right time to be cute with me....
Me: Sorry, Sorry.

Fast forward 2 minutes:

Khaled: I don't know what the hell I was thinking of coming back here. Dude were never going to live in peace in this fucking region. Its always going to be like this.
Me: *silent*
Khaled: Its never going to end....never..
Me: Things will change eventually..I mean Rome wasn't built in a-
Khaled: NO MAN! This is who we are! Let's face it. There are some areas in this world which were just not built for peace. First the civil war, then Southern Lebanon, then the Syrians, and now this!!!

Fast forward:

Me: So what are you going to do know?
Khaled: That's why I'm calling you. I'm planning on coming back to Canada.
Me: WHAT?? Bro...
Khaled: Its already been decided man. I cannot live in this freaking environment. My bags are packed and Alaa has my letter of resignation. Its now just a question of how to get to Damascus. Unless the Jews begin to bomb that as well, then I might have to make further plans to go into Jordan. And from there I can easily book my return to Canada.
Me: And you need a place to stay (laughing)
Khaled: *laughing*..just for a couple of days. If its okay with you...just a few days to get my stuff in order and then head on over to Alberta.
Me: No problem.
Khaled: I owe you BIG TIME man! Thank you very much.
Khaled: I just wanted to tell you, I might be on your doorstep at any time now. Could be in 24 hours. Could be on 6 weeks. Whenever I could find a safe passageway out of here. Its now choked. There;s almost now way out of Lebanon.
Me: There's no chance that the airport might get fixed any time soon?
Khaled: Forget it. Not any time soon. They're saying it might take a few months. But given how we usually do things around here, I'd say we'd be lucky if things are back in place by next July.
And what's worse is that the highways are all destroyed-
Me: Yeah I heard.
Khaled: And there's rumors that some Israeli destroyers are patrolling our sea.
Me: Really? Sea as well?
Khaled: That's what Alaa heard from the neighbors.
Me: Call the embassy. They'd surely help you out of here.
Khaled: Embassy's closed man. We keep getting transferred to the Ottawa switchboard, but I have to hold for like hours and I always get cut off.
Me: *sigh*

Khaled: Just a heads up allright. Could be tomorrow or a month from now.
Me: Sure thing. Take care of yourself man.
Khaled: Thanks. I'll call you whenever I get to Am-

*Phone line gets cut off*.


At Friday, 14 July, 2006, Blogger peaceinlebanon said...


At Friday, 14 July, 2006, Blogger Louise said...

Arabian Knight, please keep your fans up to date on Khaled. I hope he gets out and very soon rather than later.

At Friday, 14 July, 2006, Anonymous Anne (happier in Ontario) said...

Pretty intense stuff, especially to wake up to.

Plenty of good thoughts for the safe arrival of your friend and those that he leaves behind.

At Friday, 14 July, 2006, Blogger Wayne said...

I hope your friend is OK. Best wishes for him and his family.

At Friday, 14 July, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, war is so different when you look on maps and historical books, and when you hear personal troubles and accounts like this one ... I wonder if the people over the military maps realize that ...

At Saturday, 15 July, 2006, Anonymous Safiyyah said...

Interesting to read the first hand account. You're right, the conversation is quite chilling. Good luck to Khaled. I pray that he has safe passage to Canada.

At Saturday, 15 July, 2006, Blogger The Arabian Knight said...

Thanks evreyone. I still havn't heard from him since that call and I can't seem to get through.

Safiyyah, do you have any friends or relatives in the region?

At Friday, 16 July, 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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