On the frontlines

Illustration by: Ivan Debs

The worst kind of despair is the type that creeps in over time and contaminates our behavior, our character, and our life, becoming routine. We have survived wars, but never have Lebanese felt as exiled from the world as during the last seven years, and this has created an anxiety that manifests itself in how we conduct ourselves.

The suffocation is both geographic and economic. Our inability to access our immediate geography is contradictory to our natural impulse. The economic crisis that is hitting Lebanon and the region is overwhelming. It has even affected how we raise our children. Families separate at the airport with a finality not seen before—our goodbyes have turned from “au revoir” to “adieu.”

Hands are clasped, not in a final goodbye, but in a desperate attempt to save those determined to stay, with tears of pity and calls to abandon a crippled homeland and accompany them out of this self-imposed exile in their own country.

Those who remain are plagued by their circumstances, from their dazed wandering they seem functional and happy, filling restaurants and roads, but on closer inspection the anxiety that governs their lives is clear to see.

We are in self-preservation mode, mimicking a normal life and functioning on autopilot without knowing when the light at the end of the tunnel will appear.

Meanwhile, our healthcare industry is helping us find our own sanity in light of the mental and physical abuse that form our despair. The men and women who make up this industry are on the frontline of our desperation. Without their selflessness, we wouldn’t have been able to survive the civil war and all that has come since.

As the world is deciding on how long to keep Lebanon under quarantine, with sanctions their latest prescription, we call on the administration to take action—or risk their own irrelevance when we ultimately overcome this disease.

And we will.

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