Two weeks ago:أما آن لهذه المدينة الحزينة الثكلى أن تستريح؟؟؟

I can’t get over the tragedy Tripoli has witnessed 2 Fridays ago. I still get terrible flashbacks, every time I close my eyes I recall the scene, the screams, the destruction, and the despair that hit swiftly and hard…

Friday is the national day of Grandmas and so it happens that every Friday we spend the whole day at Tayta’s. Earlier that day, I updated my facebook status: “Last days of summer” and it is really terrifying to know how true the words I spoke became!

I wasn’t so extatic with the choice of food mum had made “Amhiyye”, so I told her I will take an early nap before the men of the family come from the mosque. I had to keep the doors open because it was very hot and no electricity to turn on the AC. I woke up with Nur’s gentle voice telling me that lunch will be served in a few minutes. I sat in bed resting from the nap, grabbed my hair clip and just before stepping out of bed a horrific sound of explosion went off accompanied with the shaking of the walls and the spraying of dust!! I covered my ears and head and crawled to sit in a protective posture… I lost my hearing in a split second and then I went back to reality with the shouts from the inside!!! In two minutes I was in the living room to find my tayta and mama hysterically shouting: Walid!! Walid!!! Farah was shouting too,  Nur was crying!!

No network coverage, no 3G, no landlines were available.. And the time it took my khalo Walid to answer the phone felt like ages: “I’m alright… I’m home… I didn’t pray in Salam mosque today!!!” When tayta heard his voice she started crying and a wave of curses that made no sense began… I went out to the balcony and what I saw made tears ran down my face like the flow of a river!! I saw my Dad looking at the scene frozen as well… For a moment, it felt like a “déjà vu”… I have seen this view before but only on the news with Baghdad’s infamous inexplicable explosions!!!

I saw the black smoke invading the sky along with the burning of cars near the mosque… I saw moms rushing to the streets to check on their kids or husbands… I saw blood covering people’s faces, hands and clothes… I saw toasted bodies…. Guys forcing the cars passing by to stop to carry the wounded to the hospital… I looked around; the glass of all the surrounding buildings had fallen… I heard piercing shouts of men and women… I smelled death…

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It turned out that the Salam mosque explosion was the second one, a previous one occurred minutes before on Abou Ali square, Al Takwa mosque. Minutes later, and the phone lines returned. I am especially thankful to Rania, Omar And Johnny who were the first to call to check on me and my family. Checking out the damages in tayta’s house, three glass doors collapsed along with a vase in the corridor… Checking on the news, the explosion was so huge it made it to CNN & BBC…Checking on friends and their families, some were injured and others were severely injured… A relative of ours remained missing till  6:00 pm!!! He was not found in any hospital, he prayed in Salam mosque but he never returned! Their last hope was a somehow distant hospital, were he was found in intensive care… Later that evening, people started to remove the broken glass and that terribly annoying sound remained for three days. I never understood the rush for cleaning..Was it a pathetic attempt to pretend nothing had happened and that we have to move on? I guess people feared the harm that the broken glass might cause…

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I stayed up most of the night on the balcony gazing at the street that the broken glass made so glittery, it shone like precious stones in a treasure box when the lights of a passing car hit them… I removed my glasses and everything got so blurry and tears rolled in my eyes again… I was scared for the first time in my life… I have never experienced fear before and it was there suffocating me with its presence…

I counted my blessings… I thanked Allah for the lack of electricity because, if the AC were on , and the doors of the room were closed, the glass would have fallen on me and I would have probably been injured if not killed… I was thankful that my brother had to go to Beirut for camping because he would probably have prayed in Salam mosque… My uncle, too who decided not pray in Salam mosque the last minute and miraculously survived… I was blessed that no one was standing on the balcony the time of the explosion because they would have been shattered into pieces just like the glass that fell… I am grateful to Allah’s care with Dad & Nur that brought them to tayta’s house minutes before the explosion, knowing that Dad had probably passed by the bombing car before it exploded…

I got many invites from friends and enthusiasts who called for gatherings at the places of explosions to clean the mess and say no to violence. “Salam & Takwa” campaign emerged, named after the two mosques that exploded volunteers who wanted to stand up for their wounded city. I am extremely proud of Tripoli’s youth who initiated this campaign; they have indeed done a huge difference.  I admit that I was too fragile to join and help… I simply couldn’t… I wanted to escape to a different place because my newsfeed page was bombarding me with depressing photos of victims from here, and sad stories from there… The only positive thing on facebook was the photos of the volunteers in action… Most of them are friends I am extremely proud of…

What do u know? Tripoli needed 170 kgs of TNT to make an appearance on TV! Talk shows & news on TV stations! The whole country was concerned about what happened in Tripoli, unlike her deputies who remained silent as if nothing has happened… “Salam & Takwa” has done an enormous change with the cleaning and restoration of some parts of the mosques, helping the wounded get their medical care, raising funds to help the people who lost their jobs or parents… They have made Tripoli rise again and stand on its feet. And for that, the city and the citizens are extremely grateful.. So once again “Chapeau bas”, I am proud of you…

Tripoli, je t’aime…

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About Ymn

انا المرأة الزوبعة فقل للنخيل يطأطئ حتى أمرّ
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One Response to Two weeks ago:أما آن لهذه المدينة الحزينة الثكلى أن تستريح؟؟؟

  1. Nath says:

    Too bad I just read that. Personally I thought I have seen it all, and that no other writing or text would move my emotions or hit any buttons. It was all getting so cheap and cliche, well I guess I was wrong. I had several goosebumps along the road while reading your post. Your vocab was so sincere it didn’t need you any effort to deliver your feelings.

    I still don’t understand though the fact that you couldn’t join the volunteers, I give you credit for the reason of being there at the time, while I (and most volunteers) most probably weren’t. All in all I hope and pray this would be the last tragedy in tripoli..

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