Sitting on the beach a bit north of Beirut and not to far away from Syria, one of us asks:
- When do we leave Beirut, you know ’cause of the situation?
A journalist in her thirties from a Scandinavian country awnsers:
-When people like me start arriving you should think about leaving.
In the beginning of the summer the Gulf countries warned their citizens not to go to Lebanon because of the kidnapping spree that happened while some western companies started to evacuate their employees. A few days ago the US warned their citizens not to go to Lebanon and suspended scholarships for American students studying here. And for the last few weeks I have met more and more foreign journalists who have recently arrived here to be “based” in Beirut.
Being based here probably means that the situation in Syria is now getting so bad that journalists have decided to put up a base in the country next door while waiting for the chance to go to the “hot zone”. Hopefully it means that the war in Syria will get the coverage it needs and deserves. For outsiders being based in Beirut it seems to mean that you get to hang out with actors and other journalists in the bars of Beirut during nighttime while talking about how you actually prefer to hang out with locals. Then you disappear into Damascus or Aleppo risking your life for “a few bucks”. It’s a dirty job but someone’s gotta do it.
Before acting, I studied journalism and I have been working abroad for some years. So it’s good to know that I can make some money, if against all odds, my acting career stalls. Last time I tried this was last year when I photographed a peaceful demonstration against Assad’s treatment of the people of Syria. Some Assad supporters came and startet getting violent with bats and belts. The situation got out of control and I left. But I was being followed. Two hours later four guys dragged me down Hamra street, just outside of Starbucks, while hitting and kicking me. I was basically just holding on to my camera trying to cover my head. The traffic stopped and around 70 people, including the police, were, to my disappointment, just watching. I managed to get away because ONE man shouted loud and distracted the guys beating me up, just enough for me to get away with no serious injuries. (thanks bro, you probably saved my life)
As you can see, turning the camera away from me was not a great success. Therefore I decided to focus more on my acting where the camera has been turned towards me. It just seems safer.