It’s Sunday again.
I found myself up and hyped up at 6 a.m with absolutely nothing to do. And just like last Sunday, I decided to take a stroll in the beautiful and sunny city of Beirut.
This time those 2 good pair of legs took me in the opposite direction of Hamra. I walked all the way to Downtown. As expected, very few cars on the streets and a lot less people on the sidewalks. A striking contrast to the very busy and jammed weekdays.
On my way back I remembered one of the city’s best kept secrets. And as I walked past Audi Bank’s headquarters I decided to take the small turn leading to a tiny road parallel to the main street. I walked past scattered security guards and foreign construction workers in that narrow stretch of paved road for a few minutes. I was now in Wadi Bu Jamil, my favorite part of Beirut so far.
When I reached my destination I got all excited by myself, like a kid in a candy store! There it was, the Maghen Abraham Synagogue!
I don’t know why this place, the fact that it still exists and that it’s being renovated mean so much to me. I think because, in my mind, it completes the complicated chain that is the Lebanese society. Finally a place out in public where the Jews of Lebanon can practice their faith and not be ashamed of it.
For many people it may not really be that big a deal! But bare with me. I tend to over react and get excited over really small things (even if this is not really a small thing)! Re-building the Maghen Abraham in Wadi Bu Jamil, the historic heart of Jewish Beirut, is a milestone for this country and a major step taken in the long journey of forgiveness and getting over war.
Happy as can be, I grab my phone and snap a photo to share with everyone. I tried to zoom in to the detail of the Hebrew engravings above the door when I hear a man SCREAMING at me: “MATRA7AAAAAK” (In Your Place!).
Needless to say I stood in my place without him saying another word.
He was one of the security guards in the area and as he came over it was clear he was a bit too furious: “CHOU 3AM BETSAWWER!!!! MESH 3AREF ENNO MAMNOU3 EL TESWIR?” (What are you taking photos of? Don’t you know it’s forbidden to do so?)
I tried to keep my composure and stay calm and responded politely saying no and that it’s a harmless photo of a building being renovated… What’s the big deal?
That’s when he really got mad and asked me to delete the photo. When I refused he asked me to come with him. We walked to his officer a couple hundred meters down the road. There I got a bit more insults and I finally deleted the photo.
What they don’t know is that, on my way to that officer thing, I e-mailed the photo to myself.
Never under-estimate a young man with a smart phone and a not-so-bad connection!
It may be a mediocre photograph but After what happened, it means a lot to me and I just LOVE it:
I will not repeat what I said in a previous post of mine, but seriously, policemen in this country need a good lesson in how to speak and deal with humans. Anyway, I don’t think the rest of this Sunday will get more eventful to me!
What did YOU do this Sunday?!
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