The Experience of a Lebanese Prison: The Glittering Moments


hisokaMy suspicions were correct. I was in jail.

My handcuffs were made in Taiwan. Police can be nice when you seem polite, cultured, and timid.

I was chased and given false accusations by that entertainingly furious woman.

But, I turned poison into wine.

How fulfilling it is to know you can take something meant to harm you, and relish it, sulk in it, make it yours, wear it as a badge on your chest, and of course, recall it as a colorful thread in what has been woven of your life. Thank goodness I have so many of these glittering, gem-encrusted threads, and by the looks of it I’ll have many more… though hopefully, less frustrating.

I feel no need to recall the tale here. Although that sentence is the antithesis of storytelling, I’d rather describe what is on the surface of my soul before digging deep and recalling quick and confusing events.

I walked back home the long way today, after visiting Salman for reassurance and his yummy curry. I chose to walk. I clenched my fists and walked right in the middle of the street. There were no cars around. The streets were extending their arms in apology after they betrayed my trust. After I was caught, after I was chased, after I hid, after I was found, with Hamra simply watching.

I clenched my fists, ready to pummel anything with that glint of malice that pudding and her husband pinned in their eyes.

The air, though, was different. I felt no matter what they do now, I have my fists, which were praised by my friend’s fiancé as potent in dealing damage, and I have Salman. Above all, and this is a technicality as I was told later, I have righteousness.

I am happy.  I feel proud to know I was in the company of inmates for a whole day. People who defend human rights should step away from textbook Philosophy and make-believe situations. You want to be an activist? Get your head in the grit and fight from your heart.

My newest cause may be the condition of inmates in Lebanon, or just the whole criminal justice system.

I must say though, all the policemen, investigators and detectives were very nice and polite. They were a very welcome surprise after so many tales of insult, rape, and battering, that one so often hears from distraught friends.

My inmates were 5, very nice as well. Each deserving a fair dose of justice… except the guy who killed a guy… who, sadly, is my favorite.

 I shared my tale, and they sympathized. They treated me to what little they had. They gave me a blanket, a sandwich, and water, and told me how my situation will play out.

I never felt more fulfilled.

T.S. is a regional intern at the World Youth Alliance Middle East.

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