I left in September, came back in December and left again. I came back in March, and left again. I am looking for my home everywhere and I am failing to find it anywhere.
My home was 19.8 Km2 with a view to the sea. The sea… the port… the explosives.
My home was Beirut, all of it, every street, every little shop, the smell of zaatar and dough in the morning, the “service” klaxons all day long, the old man shouting “Ya Nasib” by the hospital entrance, the electric wires carrying part-time electricity, the double-parked cars next to the juice shop at night, and the drunk crowds outside the bars.The list is long. Beirut, the city that was (my) life, is now ashes and broken glass.
I left in September. I packed my life in two suitcases and left to Greece.
My whole family moved too. I couldn’t wait to be on that plane. I couldn’t wait to get away from the sound of broken glass, the smell of burnt tires and the darkness of the nights without light.
I packed my life and went searching for a new home to furnish with a little of my past and some of my present.
I am now in Athens, in a 52m2 apartment without a view, nor a port nearby or explosives. I am safe in a cell.
I buy flowers every Saturday and bake a few cakes; I even adopted a cat. Something is still missing. A carpet, maybe? Maybe, if it were the flying type that can take me back to Makhoul Street. But what if it were? What if I went back?
I went back for ten days in December. Beirut wasn’t there. I left again.
Athens took me in. I was back in my cell wondering, “should I make this my home? Can I ?”
December to March: I worked hard. I had to (make up for the money my bank is blocking.)
March: I needed a little break. I went back. The air was thicker, the nights darker and the streets emptier. Where is my home??
I’ll stay in my room. 5m2 are enough. My bed is still there. My books are still there. I miss this. I don’t want to leave. I don’t want to leave. I don’t want to leave.
A friend asked me, “What’s the rush then? What are you running to?“
“I am running from…” I said.
By Sasha Haddad
Sasha Haddad is a Lebanese illustrator currently based in Athens.
Her work is versatile.
She is the illustrator of over 15 children’s books and has illustrated covers for online and print magazines such as Vice Arabia, Miraa and Executive Magazine. She has also created many mascots for various brands and restaurants in Lebanon and the Arab region.
Her first solo exhibition took place in October 2019.
Haddad also sells her prints of her illustrations on the side.
In the past couple of years, her work has been a reflection of the events happening in her country. A lot of her illustrations are inspired by Beirut, her home.
Check her work on sashaddad.com