“Day of Anger”
Today has been such a surreal day.
I got to school at 9:15 (I start late on Tuesdays!) to find my third period English class only had nine students (half the class) present. A lot of parents kept their kids home either due to the overall uncertainty of the day, or because they live in areas where the roads would be unsafe to travel due today’s planned “Day of Anger.” Our school campus is arguably one of the safest areas of Beirut but I can see how parents would want to keep their kids close by. As the day went on, more and more kids were picked up by their parents and there was a constant line outside of the middle school office of parents waiting to sign out their children.
The teacher’s room was all abuzz with talk and rumors and questions. Some of the foreign teachers agreed that at times like this it is almost better to not speak Arabic as we were oblivious to the conversations going on around us, although we could tell that many teachers were anxious.
By fifth period, my class only had about a third of the students but we still tried to get some work done. We had just started working on a persuasive essay yesterday so this was a nice chance for the students who were present to get some one-on-one attention.
After lunch, school had all but shut down. Officially, we were still open (and would remain open) but there were so few students left that we ended up combining all the students on each grade together in one room and even then didn’t have full classes. Teachers that lived far away were allowed to go home while the rest of us who live nearby stayed to finish the school day. We let the kids watch movies to finish out the day.
On the way home I stopped by the gym to see if it was open but there was a sign stating that “due to the current political situation” the gym would be closed. I needed a phone card to refill my credit and had to pass at least three phone shops before I found one that was open. I did manage, but felt lucky that I was able to as pretty much everything on Hamra Street was closed down. The street was totally free of cars and traffic.
I’m home now and just cooking, grading papers, and hanging out. I have Arabic class tonight in Gemmayzeh and was going to call and see if it was still on but, after learning that there will be a speech in Martyr’s Square at 6pm (the time my class starts), I think it’s best to stay home whether class is canceled or not.
For those who know me and aren’t in Beirut, I assure you that there is nothing happening in my area and I am safe.
For all the Beirutis reading, how was your “Day of Anger”?