Levant Earthquake. Between gratitude and guilt..

It was 2:20 a.m in prague, scrolling through facebook I see : “urgent news, earthquake hits Lebanon, Syria and Turkey”. I immediately call my 18 year old cousin, ” me and dad are up, Im not sure if I should wake the others up or not, we’ll wait and see”.

I was 4 or 5 and I recall the kitchen buffet was shaking and some things fell off. And the phrase we’ll wait and see has been our companion sentence for decades. For us, the living, we had the luxury of time, the luxury of “waiting and seeing” while others didn’t even have a second to catch a breath.

The next day I watch news, our beloved middle east has turned upside down. First thoughts I had, were relapses of Beirut Blast of 2020. We are sitting outside, unable to help, unable to live, not directly harmed, but its impossible for us to continue our day to day life normally. By we, I mean all those nomads wandering about outside Lebanon and Syria. Somehow our destinies are connected whether we want it or not. I said “hamdellah” or thank god, that it went easy on Lebanon, we already have enough on our plate now, no need for a natural disaster, but the guilt I felt saying this while many others went to sleep in Syria, hoping to go the next day to school, maybe even fearing an exam, go to work, go meet a lover, go buy some groceries “if they can”, go to their daily job, or visit a family member. Those many who went to sleep and are now forever asleep under the rubble.

I couldn’t feel happy that Im alive. I felt guilty and grateful at the same time, two dramatically distant feelings. Again the feelings of survival guilt, following me and every other nomad, that our loved ones are living an instable, shaky, bombarded life, while we enjoy the 24 hour electricity and hot water in a very systematic daily regime.

The only thing a person can do in such case is donate. But what can a donation do with the image of a little child under the cement ceiling waiting for the sound of footsteps coming to rescue.

Donating, the only small thing that can be done, and still many people didnt.

In these moments, all I felt was how incapable I am as a human, infront of nature’s instinct, and how easy it is in a blink of an eye for us to all just simply stop existing.

It is difficult to imagine that when you go to sleep you might wake up under the floor of your upstairs neighbor, with them lying next to you dead, oh but it is a possibility out of the many possibilities that is actually “possible”.

I hope you keep that in mind, everytime you refrain or shy away from donating to some cause. To you its a small scroll and few clicks , to the inflicted person, it is as much as lying under rubble homeless, foodless, cold and with everyone they know dead around.

Leaving with a picture where only my hand was shaking.

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