Beirut, LebanonHow do I write about what they did to you, Beirut? About what they did to us? I’m supposed to have the words. I’m a writer and an international journalist, familiar with telling stories that are difficult, complicated, and often about violence, but my fingers are frozen by the fear of failing you. You, the Lebanese capital, my beautiful, chaotically vibrant city by the Mediterranean Sea.
Just hours after your disfigurement, the song “For Beirut” by Fairouz, our beloved national icon and one of the most celebrated Arab singers of all time, was again being played and widely shared. It’s the song that radio stations played during the darkest days of the Lebanese civil war in the 1980s, when my relatives