I met Burhan one night in Tripoli when several guys were burning tyres to protest against the assasination of an antisyrian boss in Beirut. Me and my taxi driver had just arrived from a tour around the areas where some gunmen were fighting the night before: Abu Samra, Bab el Tabaneh and Jabal Mohsen. As soon as I dropped I found the road to Beirut was closed, so I decided to take some pictures. Burhan started to ask those who were closing the street for permission. After that day, he made me promise I would never say thanks again. Now, I’m trying that he stops saying sorry.
Burhan is from Homs and has been living in Tripoli for less than one year. He stays with his father and brother, not his mother, who is living outside after got divorced when he was a child. Now, he spends his time playing football with a team compounded by Syrian rebels and refugees. They play against Lebanese teams and sometimes he feels little frustrated for wating to the locals untill late at night. Lebanese people have to work or study or just live normal life.
Yesterday I talked with him to try to go back into Bab al Tabaneh and speak with some chief inside the neighbourhood. I got a message late in the evening: -Laura, I’m really sorry -Why? -Can’t go tomorrow with you. My uncle has died in Homs.
I think Burhan deserves me to say that his uncle has been killed in Homs. He also deserves me to say that his little cousin died in Homs few days before to travel to Tripoli.
I don’t know how war looks like. I’ve never been there, but I’m pretty sure that it is not (only) what we read in articles, see on tv or watch in the movies. War is a mental health hospital to attend people who has been living with sudden shootings and clashes for years; is playing a football match before knowing through a Skype call that you any more have relatives or friends alive in your born city and say to yourself that you are a buddy boy because you left while other people are going to your country to die. Burhan is war, even though Burhan is far from his home war.