Sunday 16 July
It is the first time I have actually seen a missile in this war. They fly too fast - or you are too busy trying to run away to look for them - but this morning, Abed and I actually see one pierce the smoke above us. "Habibi (my friend)!" he cries, and I start screaming "Turn the car round, turn it round" and we drive away for our lives from the southern suburbs. As we turn the corner there is a shattering explosion and a mountain of grey smoke blossoming from the road we have just left. What happened to the men and women we saw running for their lives from that Israeli rocket? We do not know. In air raids, all you see is the few square yards around you. You get out and you survive and that is enough.
I go home to my apartment on the Corniche and find that the electricity is cut. Soon, no doubt, the water will be cut. But I sit on my balcony and reflect that I am not crammed into a filthy hotel in Kandahar or Basra but living in my own home and waking each morning in my own bed. Power cuts and fear and the lack of petrol now that Israel is bombing gas stations mean that the canyon of traffic which honks and roars outside my home until two in the morning has gone. When I wake in the night, I hear the birds and the wash of the Mediterranean and the gentle brushing of palm leaves.
I went to buy groceries this evening. There is no more milk but plenty of water and bread and cheese and fish. When Abed pulls up to let me out of the car, the man in the 4x4 behind us puts his hand permanently on the horn, and when I get out of Abed's car, he mouths the words "Kess uchtak" at me. "Fuck your sister." It is the first time I have been cursed in this war. The Lebanese do not normally swear at foreigners. They are a polite people. I hold my hand out, palm down and twist it palm upwards in the Lebanese manner, meaning "what's the problem?". But he drives away. Anyway, I don't have a sister.