So this is what alienation feels like. I walk down my once favourite area in Beirut, Hamra, and I don’t recognize it any more. I watch some of my compatriots live in their bubble of neo-liberal denial, chanting their “I love life” mantra, and I feel so estranged from them. I read and watch news about the latest advances we have made against al-Qaeda in Syria and Lebanon and I just don’t feel any safer or any less uncertain. And while I have always enjoyed hating my enemy, Israel, I don’t even enjoy hating this new enemy. I feel no sense of triumphalism even when we win battles. Every day feels like a blur; every small pleasure feels like an absurdity. Even grief and sadness feel unreal. People who once meant everything feel like they belong to another lifetime. Aspirations and life goals feel naive and infantile. And with every Dahyeh or Hermil terrorist bombing comes that sense of shame because you are still safe and their residents are not. This is not defeatism, this is the reality of the sporadic and unpredictable nature of terrorist warfare. No matter how many battles we win, we will never get Lebanon back. It will never be the same again.
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