First let me begin with condolences to those who lost dear ones in today's double explosions in Beirut. I know it must be a tough time and we as Lebanese have been through it many a times before. But if I write this before the day ends, it is more with a feeling of pride than defeatism. I often lectured my students that it was at times like these that we must give our best and most creative output, otherwise "the bastards would win".
So today, I had appointments in Beirut. And when the news of the explosions started to trickle, my first reflex was "should I postpone?" - my second reflex was "why should I postpone?" And indeed, people showed up, traffic jam as reliable as ever, people were honking from their cars, malls were as filled as they could be on a Tuesday which is not yet too close to Christmas, shoppers were shopping, lovebirds were meeting, friends were texting each other, nothing frantic, nothing desperate, nothing out of the ordinary. Just Beirutis going on with their lives, in a city that had already shrugged off the tragedy and went on with its day, almost indifferent, always stronger than its fate.
Maybe it's unhealthy, maybe it should have taken its time to mourn the dead, but Beirut being Beirut, it just goes on - as the saying goes for trains "either you're on board, or you're in the way" and the frantic pace of Beirut doesn't give you a chance to reflect, to take a step back, to assess. It just goes on - going nowhere, but going there fast.