Beirut: Tanya cannot stay alone in a room. For several days, Kara had thought that the war was about to begin. The survivors of Beirut’s August 4th bombing were still shocked by a disaster that destroyed their city’s image.
The earth-shaking explosion killed 171 people and injured more than 6,000. This is a heavy blow to a country already in crisis.
Whether it was the civil war in 1975-1990 or the hostilities with Israel in 2006, almost every generation in Lebanon has experienced some kind of conflict.
These events are over, but some of the trauma they left is still very vivid-the explosion last week added another scar to the collective psychology.
When Carla felt her building shaking, she was on the balcony in Beirut’s Old Town.
“I initially thought it was an air raid because I associated the noise with what I remembered from the 2006 war,” the 28-year-old told AFP.
After the explosion pulverised her windows, she rushed to the stairwell, petrified.
But before Carla could pull herself together, her elderly neighbour, who had survived the 1975-1990 civil war, was already busy sweeping the floor.
“This is a reflex from the war, whenever something breaks they just sweep it up,” Carla said.
She is now staying with her family, and said she is not emotionally ready to move back to her blast-hit home.
Even at her parents’ house, she cannot sleep.
“A car driving by on the street becomes the sound of an airplane,” she said in English.
“Everything now triggers memories of the 2006 war… I had never realised how much that war actually had traumatised me.”