In 1975, I lived with my family in Ashrafieh, one of Beirut’s neighborhoods and went to the Carmel Saint-Joseph School located then in Verdun, another neighborhood of Beirut.
One day, the driver taking us to school, stopped at the beginning of Mathaf Street, a street that links Ashrafieh to Verdun, realizing that driving through would be suicidal. Suddenly, going to school became a crossing issue, and Beirut, a fragmented city.

From then on, somebody else would decide how we would spend our days: Hiding in shelters, queuing for water, not going to school for days, sometimes weeks; even the names given to places we lived in, the war had changed. My home in Ashrafieh became part of east Beirut, and my school in Verdun became part of West Beirut.

Years later, I was living in Boston, when images from the war in ex-Yugoslavia and especially Sarajevo started bouncing into my life through the press and Television. It strongly felt as a continuation of the same madness that had struck Lebanon. The inhabitants of Sarajevo like those of Beirut had lost control over their lives and city. They faced the same mechanisms of destructions aimed at dividing a city: snipers, barrages, shelters, militiamen, checkpoints, shelling, shortages of all kinds, civilians dying every day, the indifference of the international community … It was a repetition.