Qana, The Wounded Qana.The first thing I did when I woke up today was watch television to see what was going on. Tuning between LBC, Manar, NBN, Future, New TV, Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya there were no major reports other than air raids here and there during the night.
But about half an hour after breaking news began with reports from the southern town of Qana. A building bombed by Israelis and many people are buried under the rubble, the stations said.
More than 50 people, many of them women and children, were killed.
The strike occurred at around 1 a.m. which could mean that they were sleeping when the war planes hit.
The bombing brought condemnation from throughout the world and left Lebanese in shock as they saw bodies of children being extracted from under the rubble by members of the Lebanese Red Cross.
It brought back the memories of the April 18, 1996 when Israeli bombing killed more than 100 people in a U.N. base in the same town.
The night before I drove around the city but Beirut was not the one I know. It looked much different compared with when I was last here. The streets were almost deserted and most people preferred to stay home because of the fighting and bombing on both side of the border between Israel and Hezbollah.
Driving through Gemayzeh street on a Saturday night is usually a nightmare. It could take more than half an hour to drive few hundred meters where restaurants and pubs are usually packed.
It was not the same yesterday.
Most of the shops were closed apart from a very small number and the street was empty taking only a minute or two to cross.
Downtown solidere area is now a bit busy during the day but a ghost city at night. Hamra street is not any better.
Lebanon declared a day of mourning on Monday for the victims of Qana.
There was a nice song about the Lebanese capital that says:
Oh our beloved Beirut, what is wrong with you.
Beirut oh Beirut please don't bow down.
As I write the blog now, Israeli warplanes are flying a low-altitude over Beirut. It makes me wonder where they will strike but I hope they won't.
Beirut July 31, 2006