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The Hamra barricade.
Beirut, 2010.

It is almost midnight. I will finally have a little break. In my street, the aptly named Hamra la Rouge, silence is a rare commodity. And there, everything seems calm, peaceful. For how long, I have no idea. It's always been like that in Beirut anyway. You never know when the silence will give way to chaos. And vice versa. That's why everyone loves my city elsewhere.

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

After the constant struggle that has been this day, my barricade still stands, but it will not resist very long like that. I only have half of the cartridges stored the day before. It's my business, and it's doing pretty well.

Tucked away in the half-light of my alcove, I wonder if I will ever see the cedars of my childhood again. I especially remember my grandfather's pine tree that stood behind the house on that dark hill. He often told me the story of these gypsies he had met in his youth, of their vanilla scent, when he had crossed the world to reach the heart of Europe. Back in the days when traveling was not just about letting yourself be carried by the wings of an airplane. He transported me to the epics he himself had lived, through his abortive romance with the granddaughter of the Duke of Kent, through the tragedy of a royal family - from I do not know what country now defunct - for which he had worked a few years before the viceroy put a price on his head for a theft of jewels of which he was, of course, innocent. It wasn't just anyone, my grandfather.

Tonight I will try to rest a little. I deserve it. The street has calmed down. In ten minutes, I'll dive back into the book my brother Aziz lent me. A funny story that takes place in an imaginary world, both futuristic and archaic. It sometimes looks like my country, I don't know why ... When I left the hero last night, he was in bad shape. I wonder how poor Winston is going to get away with this. I look at my watch: it's midnight two. At the end of the street, I see a shining halo that doesn't mean anything to me. I lean forward a little over my barricade to see what it is. But from where I am, impossible to distinguish exactly this source of light. I would have to go out, but I don't dare. I'll wait until it disappears. These are not the brave guys who are posted behind the barricades these days.

Time flies. I want a cigarette but I finished my pack shortly before sunset. I'm still rummaging through my wallet, just in case. I don't see a thing, I let the tips of my fingers browse my little personal mess. Stroke of luck! To the touch, I recognize the shape, delicate and rounded, of the fuselage of my rod. A Davidoff. I have always found this brand very glamorous. A little snobbish even. When I light one, I always imagine myself sitting comfortably, warm, in the imposing chesterfield that sits in the window of the furniture gallery near my house. But to pay me it, I would have to change businesses.

Well, it's decided, nothing will happen tonight, I won't have any more clients at that time. The Beirut night slowly envelops me. I hope the day dawns on Hamra tomorrow.

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


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

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

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