Have You Met Samir?

Last week I stumbled upon Share Beirut, an event around activism, hackerspaces, and culture. So I packed my bag and bought a ticket. There I stayed at my uncle’s and was often driven around the city by his personal driver, Samir.

Samir is a cool 54 years old ex-sailor with few words to share. Years ago when my uncle first met him he asked Samir how come he’s still not married. Samir mumbled “I forgot”. That’s when my uncle thought (in his own words) “This guy’s a keeper!”

One morning I asked Samir to take me to a quiet place for coffee so we headed to the Coniche (pictured above). There he started reminiscing about the region and pointed to an orange building across the road and said “there lived my fiancĂ© in 1985”. I interrupted “So you were married?” he answered “No. She died.” There was a robbery down the building and she was looking from atop when the thugs washed the building with bullets, killing her on the spot. Few months later, he started a 23 years journey as an oceanic cargo sailor. From what I gathered he visited every country on the map.

With her, they used to sell newspapers on the same street we were looking at. He says the Saturday sales were enough to feed them for the whole week.

I loved Beirut. The underground night life is out of this world. The lively cafes. The graffiti. Absolute beauty and difficult to get over.