I sat with my dad to ask him about the meaning of “Houdou’ Nisbi”. Teary, he explained to me how the situation in Lebanon was during the war in the ’70s.

‘Summer afternoon, destruction everywhere in downtown Beirut. The fighting has stopped and you can hear sporadic shots everywhere. Everyone is in their homes worried, waiting to see when the fighting starts again or if it won’t. You hear the odd sound of a car and then sniping bullets towards the car for no reason. But no fighting. The news comes on and they say there is a relative calm ‘Houdou’ Nisbi’ hovering in Beirut. Come night time, the intense fighting starts. But in the afternoon, they are taking a rest, its calm. Not calm, safe, or normal; as if nothing happened, but Houdou’ Nisbi.’

While I’m not old enough to have experienced the war in the ’70s, I can somehow relate to this with the recent explosion in Beirut. The dust from the destruction settles, people start counting their blessings and loved ones that are alive. The people reunite, they plan, they rebuild. Amongst these moments of chaos, there is “Houdou’ Nisbi”.

Katrine Hanna