So, it’s been a year. Here comes February 14 with all its memories and those of the whole year that followed.
An unforgettable day in the life of the Lebanese people; the day that changed the scene of the Valentine’s Day from the redness of love to the redness of blood; the day that has turned from an occasion to celebrate love to an occasion to lament death.
Monday, February 14, 2005:
A normal day at work, with no mentioned difference except that I was loaded with roses my students, who were exceptionally nice and peaceful on that day, had brought me as Valentine’s gifts. I remember that I wished then that all days would be as peaceful as that day.
Monday, February 14, 2005, 2:20 p.m. Beirut time:
Busy, working with my students on some activities, the session was suddenly interrupted by the gatekeeper of the school asking me to dismiss the class as soon as possible, since the students’ parents and the buses are waiting for them.
Me: “What? But why? It’s not time yet. Or is there a problem with my watch? But the bell hasn’t rang yet anyways.”
“No, your watch is not wrong, but something serious happened and you guys gotta go home as soon as possible. Al Hariri was assassinated a while a go in downtown Beirut.”
I really really didn’t get what he said, it was like a slap on the face! At that moment, I became the dumbest of all times.
- “Come again plz! What have u just said? Who was assassinated?”
-“Al Hariri who?” DUH!
-“Rafiq Al Hariri!!”
-“huh? Get outta here, u gotta be kidding me! It can’t be!you serious? Perhaps it’s Baheya or any other Hariri, but Rafiq Al Harir, it can’t be! there’s no way they can get him!”
-“No, I am not kidding! Rafiq Al Harir was assassinated. He passed away. Just dismiss the class and go home please!”
I did what he asked, dismissed the students, and ran upstairs to find the whole staff gathering. The shock was drawn on all faces, some were crying, while others were trying in vain to make some phone calls. All the lines were disconnected at that time due to the huge explosion that affected the phone connections; which of course increased our panic.
The principal was asking the bus drivers to carry the children home, telling them that we’ll be off for a few days until notified of when to be back.
It was then that I realized how serious and dangerous the situation is. I realized that it’s not a joke, not a nightmare either, it’s for real.
Arriving home, seeing the brutal, bloody, horrible scene of the event, I knew that things are not going to be the same again, and that we’re undergoing a serious change. That was the case; the incidents that followed were so quick, an event after another, an explosion after another, an assassination after another…. It was a day that diverted the whole track of the history of Lebanon.
Now, that it’s been a year, one can’t but remember, not only Rafiq Al Hariri, but all the other martyrs: Basil Flayhan, George Hawy, Sameer Qaseer, and Jobran Twainy, not to mention the victims of assassination attempts who miraculously survived like: May Shedyaq. One can’t but remember them all and ask Allah to bless their souls.
May Love and Peace prevail in Lebanon and the whole world, for this day and for the days to follow.