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Joana under the pines.
Beirut, 2010.

You don't know it yet, Joana, but the day after tomorrow, the good guys and the bad guys will end the fighting. What will we be ... on July 12? Yeah, something like that. For now, you give yourself a few minutes of respite, lying in the shade, your head propped up on the trunk of a pine tree. The battle of Damour is drawing to a close. Yesterday, you saw Antoine die before your eyes. You know it could have been you. You have the impression that this moment of tranquility could last all eternity. A drop of sweat creeps up the back of your neck. You feel it, you perceive it as the mark left by the cold skin of a small mountain snake. You breathe the air, you imagine thyme, sage and gunpowder mixed in a funny cocktail. It smells good here. It's almost calm.

In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.

A bird is lost in the sky of the Levant. It hovers above you, comes to rest on one of the branches of your pine tree. He is seized with convulsions. A few feathers escape from its wings and fall at your feet. You have the impression that he is coughing, that he is choking. You expect to see it topple over at any time. And then no, it takes off again. You look at the feathers slumped on the gravel at your feet. You tell yourself that if you were a kid, you would pick them up to make yourself an Indian outfit like in the movie you saw in the cinema two years ago. You know, the one with the dark Claudette Colbert. Don't you remember, On the trail of the Mohawks ? It was good. It was a time of peace. But you're not a kid anymore. You close your eyelids, your legs start to go numb. You tell yourself that really, you would stay here, without moving, until death follows.

But the Battalion of the chasseurs à pied is counting on you to take the small road which leads to Beirut from the enemy and to make the junction with those who fought valiantly near Souk el-Gharb, up there in the mountain. Be careful, your few minutes of rest will soon be over. You will have to take back the gun that sleeps beside you like a loving woman. No doubt, you two make a great couple. Pity. Too bad you can't see the sun rise once more. What would you gain from living beyond next night anyway? You would fight on another front. In Africa? In Europe? Far from your home. I do not know what to tell you. One day, for sure, your name will be engraved somewhere for future generations to remember what happened here. But you don't care. Right now, you're making your cheek wiggle because of a little twig tickling your face.

Enjoy. Enjoy every second of these scents of paradise that this little corner of greenery offers you. Paying attention, I'm sure you can hear the lapping waves of the Mediterranean. It's calm, it's beautiful here, under the pines.


In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.

On June 8, 1941, in the midst of World War II, the Allies launched Operation Exporter, to retake Syria and Lebanon from German forces. The soldiers of Free France and those of the Arab Legion join the British soldiers, and fight the troops who remained loyal to Vichy. The fighting ceased on July 12, the armistice was signed on the 14th.

In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.

Short story published in Beirut on listening / Wiretapping Beirut (Amers Editions, 2011)

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