I asked my father once if he would mind me writing about his experience. "What experience?" he inquired. "Your experience in the Civil War", I said. He responded immediately "I did not participate in the Civil War". My father does not count himself as a participant in the Civil War, despite the fact that he spent half of his life carrying a rifle in Beirut's "Western" and "Eastern" suburbs, and he spent the other half paying for the first half.
He preferred me not to write about it, but his experience is also mine; present in my present as in my past. I feel my chest tighten when I see pictures of the dead, or mothers of the disappeared, or when former militia men appear on TV as the "new" statesmen. When my mother speaks to me of long nights waiting for my father to come home, my own head aches.