Posts tagged “Beirut

Photos of Beirut

Posted on February 9, 2012

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Exposure

Posted on February 8, 2012

I remember seeing my first gun battle. It was September 1979 and I was strolling through the streets of Beirut looking for somewhere to eat. Two cars collided. The occupants jumped out and started to argue. One produced a handgun, fired without warning and ducked down behind the bonnet of his car. The other opened his boot, pulled out a Kalashnikov and sprayed the other car’s windscreen with bullets. More cars arrived, gunmen emerged and a full-scale battle ensued. I remember everyone scattering and diving for cover but I just stood there transfixed. It was after all my first experience of war. Bullets ricocheted everywhere and the sound of police sirens echoed through the narrow streets. That’s when I saw the man beckoning me…

Return to Beirut

Posted on February 7, 2012

The last time that I had been to Beirut was in 1982 during the Israeli invasion. I had escaped the bombing and terrible destruction on a small yacht, the Sea Victory, sailing from Jounieh in Christian East Beirut to Larnaca in Cyprus. The boat had been packed to the gunnels with families escaping the carnage but our crossing had taken almost three days as we were constantly intercepted by Israeli warships that forced us back at gunpoint. At the point of desperation, we had secured safe passage through the American consulate. Returning in 2005 after over twenty years was extremely emotional and I have to admit to being very apprehensive. The assassination of Rafiq Hariri, the former Prime Minister, a few days earlier on…

Sabra and Chatila

Posted on February 1, 2012

Flashing, flaring Flying, foaming Families fleeing Falange finding Falling, finished Fascist frenzy. Furious frenzy Faces flaring Feasting finished Fountains foaming Flushing, finding Fighters fleeing. Frightened, fleeing Fatal frenzy Footsteps finding Firing, flaring Ferocity foaming Forces finished. Future finished Faithful fleeing Figures foaming Final frenzy Frothing, flaring Falange finding. Fearful finding Flailing, finished Flogging, flaring Fighting, fleeing Furious frenzy Fury foaming. Flagging, foaming Flopping, finding Frothing, frenzy Forgotten, finished Fearful, fleeing Final flaring. Frenzy, foaming Flaring, finding Finished, fleeing. © Graham Walker 2012 Photo courtesy of Flickr user habacuc1988.

Redemption

Posted on January 26, 2012

The morning call to prayers echoes around the city, rousing its occupants from their sleep and jolting them back into the nightmare that has engulfed them. The first rays of the sun radiate outwards over the sea, illuminating the devastation and destruction below. The Corniche, hugging the seafront with its famous hotels, the Saint Georges, the Phoenicia and the Vendome all shattered, pock marked and charred black; the shops and chic boutiques on Beirut’s Fifth Avenue, Hamra, shuttered, padlocked and empty, their terrified owners sheltering in the cellars below; the up-market apartment blocs around Raouche, their windows boarded up, their walls peppered with bullet holes; and behind them on the airport road, the squalid refugee camps of Chatila and Borj Al-Barajneh barricaded and guarded…