Thursday, July 27, 2006

two week notice

war is exhausting.

it's been two weeks now, and we are finding ourselves very tired. very drained.

i do not understand what the bigger picture is. i am done trying to analyze why this is all happening. i am giving in to fatigue.

i have spoken with so much press, but it doesn't seem to be working. in fact, i feel that i have become just another war victim. just another story on your radiowaves. just another blog entry online. the media lives off of stories like mine. i help get their ratings up. i help people tune in to their channel. i help them sell ad spots to make money.

i also manage to get my voice heard. i also manage to touch a few people. i am grateful for that.

but, i do not want to be just another war victim... that perhaps next week you will forget all about me. i don't want to live a life of war. i did not ask for this. i do not want this. i had another life. one that was directed by me. one that i was in charge of. decisions that i made by myself. responsibilities that i set for myself. i don't want to be a war story. do you understand what i am trying to say? i just want to be me. live the life that i spent shaping and moulding for myself. follow my dreams. carry out my projects. paint what i feel like painting, and not what is imposed on me.

this war is imposed on me. like all wars are, on all civilians. i don't want to be another depressing story in your inbox.


already, so many people are becoming too used to this. people have stopped going to work-- what's they point? there is war! people have let go of certain commitments and responsibilities-- what's the point? there is war! cafes and restaurants have shut down. people have let go of projects, proposals, plans... people have stopped communicating. telephones don't work!

i saw maya today. maya lived in lebanon during the civil war. we had a strange conversation.

maya: what's wrong with you today? you look so down... so depressed.... zena, what's wrong? did someone die?? what's wrong???

zena (saying this out loud to maya): oh, it's nothing.. it's just this war. don't worry, i'll be fine. (insert fake smile here).

zena (saying this in her head): i have anxiety all the time. my tummy is always in a knot. i can't sleep. i can't eat. i am afraid all the time. i am angry too. it's hot. my food in my fridge keeps going bad, because electricity is on and off. i'm freaking out because my internet has been going on and off.... i'm so afraid that one day it just won't come back on again.

maya: don't worry. you'll get used to this. we all did back in the 80s. you have to. you have no choice. you will see, soon you will be so used to this, you won't even realize that there is a war going on.

zena (out lout to maya): i don't think i want to get used to this.

zena (to herself): it doesn't have to be like this. we don't have to accept this. maya, i'm so sorry you once had to "get used to it". i don't want you or i to have to "get used to it" again. it doesn't have to be this way. this is not a way of life. don't we still have choices as human beings? don't we still have a chance to prove that in the end humanity prevails?

maya: come on, let's make some pancakes. it will get your mind off things... by the way, did i tell you how much weight you've lost? you look good!!

zena: yeah, let's make pancakes... i have been meaning to shed a few pounds.. but i didn't think it would happen like this and so quickly. now, i want to gain weight ... so i can lose it the right way.

we had pancakes for lunch. we invited our friend Hiba and my brother Nidal. my husband kept feeding scraps to Tampopo and Bawsee. of course i yelled at him, telling him that pancakes were bad for doggies. he of course replied... "no they are not. and's war."


Blogger Naj said...

Great blog!
I know exactly what you were talking about in the last post...we have very experiences, although i belive what it is happening in Lebanon these days is anintense version of what has been happening elsewhere like here.
I want totell you that ..even now, the planes are flying around gaza city where i live, artillery didnt stop bombing parts of Gaza...and now, i hear th efinal number 25 killed and 100 injured..and it is just the begining of the night.
i am sorry that i made this long..i just want to tell you that we are not able to follow on what is happening with us. We are wathcing and living your war. God bless you.

12:29 AM  
Blogger Maddy said...

So glad to see your words Zena, stay strong.

My prayers are for you and your country.

1:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I miss you zena. i miss your pink glitter and your fabulous smile and knowing that somewhere in lovely beirut a talented woman was doing exactly what she wanted to do. I miss all of you. I am in amman, have been here for a month, a month that was supposed to be two weeks. I am stuck here now, i face that and i hate that. I am angry all the time. I am stressed, with you, hearing you, reading you and many others every day, thinking ofyou shopping at the supermarket, returning milk. I am furious. I am lost and tired and dont know what to do. Its my first war too. I miss you and send you hugs and kisses and no words to convey my deep sense of loss and anger. Stay strong, we need you and your sister and your husband to stay who you are. all my love.

2:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zena, your blog has touched me so very deeply. I am praying for this madness to end. I am neither a Jew nor an Arab, but I feel your pain and heartache. I don't have much, but I will make a donation soon. I wish I could do more.

9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your writings, Zena - they are so worthy. I pray for strength to you - and for peace for your country and this planet. Love and blessings from me, a female artist in the Nordic.

2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


keep it up, baby. thank you for presenting a raw account of what is happening in beirut. thankfully, i'm in germany right now and will be through all of august. so the pro-israeli reports aren't as strong. so holla at me soon.

(abdul fattah)

4:14 PM  
Blogger imogen said...

dear zena

i have been reading you for some days now, whenever i get the chance. it is refreshing to hear a human voice amid the pathetic excuses for coverage being made by the media.

today i am reeling with disgust at my country, the "united" "king"dom, for having resisted the ceasefire demand made in rome. their sickening life as a lapdog continues.

zena, the real reason that i write to you is that i am a theatre practitioner. i am living in india, but am shortly moving back to the uk (though not excited about reestablishing myself as one of their citizens...). over the last few days i have thought of asking you if you would allow me to use your writings as the foundation of a reading to awaken people to what is happening to the people of lebanon during this senseless atrocity. reading this entry today made me go ahead and ask. it is so moving, so real. i think it can really help to open peoples' eyes.

i will not go into more detail here but if you are at all interested in the idea, please contact me via my (as yet-un-begun) blog.

hoping to hear from you

in solidarity


4:52 PM  
Blogger irene said...

Dearest Zee
your writings tell me that you are safe. Each day I check your blog, fearful of not seeing a new one. Keep strong Zee and remember all the good times (are you blind!?, putting my blood on your paintings in the art room etc.) The good times will come again you must believe that.
Thinking of you so much,

4:53 PM  
Blogger kwtia said...

Stay strong Zena..I wish you didn't have to go through this, but we are out here and we are listening and letting others know and pushing to make it end..I wish you peace and safety.

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sitting here in Austria in my save flat without war anywhere around and I am so very greatful for it. All I can do is donate and make people here in the west aware that there is an awful war going on and that we should make our governments to handle and stop this fighting!! I am trying to do that!!

5:49 PM  
Blogger Barb said...

Zena --

Hang in there. I am sorry you feel like you are just becoming cover, interesting press, but the truth is that your words are absolutely essential for us here in the U.S. No one is telling the truth here, and you are. We're pulling for you, for Beirut, for Lebanon.

In solidarity,

6:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Zena,

I am not interested in bodycounting dead bloggers, I want to know, how do you feel, what do you think and what is going on in Beirut from your point of view.

I can not form an opinion about who is right or wrong in this war - I know that war in general is wrong.

I think you should keep on telling what you experience now, to witness what is war about. And you should try to stay alive. I do not want to count you as a dead blogger.

Sending you all the best, k.

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


7:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zena, i look forward to your blog every day , i think of you all . you have impacted my sheltered life here iin the USA . i cant go shopping or as i mentioned before even watering my yard without thiking of all your sacrifices. its so depressing and i am sorry that i cant totally understand the pain, i wish someone would listen . i send these blogs to journalist. i can only hope you honest passion for conveying the truth . and even that is relative. to location, but you and your country lives should of never been compromised i know the Israeli is wrong in bombing. i think Hezbolla and Hamas are real terrorist they scare me and all fundamental religions scare me. Christian definatly included . I hope you can find poassion again for painting it would be interesting to see a collection of your war time paintings . you have made a huge impact on my life My thoughts are with you and your family . sincerly, don/dallas

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey zena, it's great to read your blog. i feel the same. i'm realizing that i'm starting to get used to it. and that i don't like it.
keep posting.

9:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Zena, a German newspaper called "Die Zeit" published some of your reports written in this weblog in translation. Be sure, you are not "just another war victim". Your words really impacted our everyday life. All the best for you, your family and your country.

9:20 PM  
Blogger Eve said...

Hey Zena! I'm enjoying reading your blog.. if we can still use the word enjoy these days.. but you know what I mean.. akh, akh, kilna bhal hawa sawa.. hang on!

10:18 PM  
Blogger serafina delarosa said...

Hello Zena
We did a candle protest outside the Israeli Embassy in Athens today.
Women in Solidarity to Libanese and Palestinian Women For Peace we called it.
We dressed in black and carried candles. The original plan was to create a human chain around the building but the police didn't let us get that close. So we stood across the street and we made the peace sign with candles on the street and we talked to the press and we made slogans such as 'stop the killling of civilians, stop the killing of children', 'violence breeds violence', 'Peace and Justice'. We gave flyers out that said "If you don't speak up you're an accomplice to this crime".

So we are here, listening and waking up -- albeit too slowly.


12:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Zena and everyone else interested in Peace. There's a good article at which I think everyone should read. Pass it on. Let each one of us be the change we want to see in the world. This life is short. Spread love and peace NOT hatred and war. Long live Lebanon.

12:34 AM  
Blogger T. said...

Dear Friends,
I am Lebanese and have encountered, like you probably, many Israelis on websites since the beginning of Israel’s attack on Lebanon. We started a forum with them in order to discuss the current situation and to better understand each other and think together about the future of our area. We need more Lebanese!!! Please join us at:

1:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(Charlie Chaplin's character): "Hope... I'm sorry but I don't want to be an Emperor - that's not my business - I don't want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible, Jew, gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another, human beings are like that.

We all want to live by each other's happiness, not by each other's misery. We don't want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone and the earth is rich and can provide for everyone.

The way of life can be free and beautiful.

But we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men's souls - has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed.

We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in: machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little: More than machinery we need humanity; More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me I say "Do not despair".

The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress: the hate of men will pass and dictators die and the power they took from the people, will return to the people and so long as men die [now] liberty will never perish...

Soldiers - don't give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you - who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel, who drill you, diet you, treat you as cattle, as cannon fodder.

Don't give yourselves to these unnatural men, machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts. You are not machines. You are not cattle. You are men. You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don't hate - only the unloved hate. Only the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers - don't fight for slavery, fight for liberty.

In the seventeenth chapter of Saint Luke it is written " the kingdom of God is within man " - not one man, nor a group of men - but in all men - in you, the people.

You the people have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy let's use that power - let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old age and security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie. They do not fulfil their promise, they never will. Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfil that promise. Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men's happiness.

Soldiers - in the name of democracy, let us all unite!
Hannah, can you hear me? Wherever you are, look up, Hannah! look up! The clouds are lifting - the sun is breaking through. We are coming out of the darkness into the light. We are coming into a new world. A kind new world where men will rise above their hate and brutality.

The soul of man has been given wings - and at last he is beginning to fly. He is flying into the rainbow - into the light of hope - into the future, that glorious future that belongs to you, to me and to all of us. Look up Hannah look up."

My prayers are with you and all the people in Lebenon and Palestine as well as Iraq who are being terrorized by governments who are supposedly "fighting terror"
My heart is heavy and my stomach sickened by injustice that is being commited.
If I could give you my strength I would.

I've taken up to much room as it is.

*The above quote is from Charlie Chaplins "The Great Dictator"

7:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a link to the clip from that Charlie Chaplin film.
It always make me cry.But it gives me hope. HOPE.

Bless You!!

7:48 AM  
Blogger Fayrouz said...

Marhaba Zena
I have just gave the address of your blog to a serious journalist from ABC Australia. They want to present the crisis as it is lived by people from within Lebanon. While I am hoping they will contact you I deeply apologise for doing so. But the world needs your testimony. You write so well and so does Wael.
Please keep telling us how you are feeling. I did nearly the same here with my close friends. I managed to create a human chield around me. I am not physically with you but so much in communion with the raw pain taking hold of all Lebanese and Middle Eastern people.
Lots of love

11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey zena
i liked ur blog very much!u touched me VERY deeply ,,plz stay strong no matter what happend..

1:22 PM  
Blogger la mirza said...

When beards are still entertaining jews

The internatinal community is busy living.
under a lovely sun, outhere in a safe place.

I never really trusted the human race.
I think we should be exterminated soon.

There’s so much beauty out there,
We are insecure, and greedy, and jealous
and we don’t give a fuck.
Unless it’s happening to us.

But it’s not happening to US.
As long as it’s happening far, it won’t happen in here.
Not in my life, the world goes on.
And i have a paper to give tomorrow.
I have plans, i am disciplined, i am building my future.
If i stop now, others will get there before me.
The world is not gonna stop turning in 3 days.
(Well, i am not sure about that one.
Because i believe that everything is possible.)

You go on vacation somewhere.
You’re interested by a new culture, a different nature,
You take it easy. You have planned it all.
In 2 weeks you will come back to your home.
You will work on this project,
You will call those people, you have new ideas,
You are fresh and young,
You are happy and strong.
I bet a lot of you have one day felt that way.

But if you live in a fucked up country,
You might also know that
You will wake up one morning,
The sun is shinning, you think you can go for a swim today.
You open the tv and you can see, your building in rubble.
Your country on fire,
Screams of help, and hope and anger and pain
In your mailbox everyday.

Have a nice happy shinny life all of you.
And eat my guilt.
I feel ashamed and sorry.
But don’t worry,
I might as well go to that beautifull bar on the top of a hotel building,
Drink 4 champagne bottles with my friends.
While i watch Helsinki preparing for the next sunset.

I wonder how Helsinki would look like under some Israeli rockets.
With smoke and fire. Like those beautifull, exotic pix we’re getting to see nowadays
Of my beautifull destroyed country.

I bet all cities look beautifull from a long shot angle with some smoke effets.
Fuck you all

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're not just a news story - you're real life, and you're helping us in the US (and everywhere) to understand what its like to be Lebanese in a time of war.

That's more valuable than the cost of ad revenue.

We're supporting you in New York....

6:06 PM  
Blogger doog said...

zena, please stay strong. you are one of the strongest people I know.
I cant stop thinking, if only I was there with you, maybe it would make it ok. maybe I can take some of the worry, the fear, the discomfort from you. but I am not, I am here in a country that is safe and it is not fair. it is not fair that I am allowed to live my life like there is nothing happening on the other side of the world. I cant.
just know that you are not alone and I think of you every minute of the day. I am with you, if not in body then in soul.
this is a tough time right now, but it will be better. there is a future for lebanon, I know it. and one day, our children will be sitting around the kitchen table mixing 3 types of cereals together and singing "just a boy and girl in a little canou..." hehe :)
I am forwarding your blogs to as many people as I can. I wish I could do more. but just know that there are so many people listening to you and need your words and they will never be forgotten, ever.
please give my love to maya. tell her samantha says hi(or is it carrie :))
she is on mind all the time.

i love you so much.

6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey zena, whats your email? I need to send u something

8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You represent so well the Lebanon I love. Hang on in there. The governments of this world are so useless, damn politicians ... but there are a lot of ordinary people who are crying for Lebanon, so you are not alone although we've little power to help ... but we do care.

1:35 PM  

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