Letters From Beirut

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Laura U. Marks


In summer 2006 I returned to Lebanon for a third time. I had lived in Beirut for almost a year in 2002–2003, during which time I fell in love with the city, as so many people do—the generosity, resilience and joie de vivre of so many Lebanese people, the lively artistic scene, the intensity with which so many historical and international forces cross this small country. I built strong friendships then. I returned in 2004, and again in June 2006, this time to study Arabic at the American University of Beirut. On 14 July, in response to Hizballah’s action of taking two Israeli soldiers hostage and shooting across the Lebanese–Israeli border, Israel began an intense bombardment of Lebanese infrastructure, starting with the airport, as well as places where Hizballah supporters lived. A privileged outsider waiting to be evacuated, I was also helpless, afraid, and furious at the pro-Israeli tone of the international media. So I wrote daily letters to family, friends, and a growing email list of interested people. This is an edited version.

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Author Biography

Laura U. Marks, Simon Fraser University

Laura U. Marks, a writer and a curator of artists’ media, is the author of The Skin of the Film: Intercultural Cinema, Embodiment, and the Senses (2000) and Touch: Sensuous Theory and Multisensory Media (2002). She is Dena Wosk University Professor in Art and Culture Studies at Simon Fraser University. <www.sfu.ca/~lmarks>