Saeb Salam

Shivani Regan, March 19, 2017

Saeb Salam: In His Own Words

I was actually born the year the war started, so this is in 1975. My earliest childhood memories [were] influenced by the war. I think I can remember as early as when I was 4 or 5 years old. This was in 1979 and this was still in the middle of the war there. It was definitely something that we lived with, something that was part of our normal lives. Especially for someone that was born during the war, you donít really know how things should be, during peacetime. The war is just something totally normal for you, hearing bombs everyday, or not going to school once or twice a week is something that became kind of normal for me. So, I never thought about it as something being scary or unusual. I remember having to rush to our basement, we had a shelter in our basement, when we heard the bombs getting to close. There was also a shelter at the school, when the bombs would get to close to the school, or fighting would get to close to where we are. So, when you heard an adult in a panicky voice saying hurry we gotta rush to the shelter, you knew exactly what we had to do. We never really had drills, but it was just like, after doing it so many times, you knew exactly where to go and you knew exactly what kind of things to pick along the way, as youíre rushing down to the basement. I would run and pick up some toys, or some cards, Ďcause I knew that you know, once you go down there, you might stay there for a few hours. So, you donít want to get bored.
As a child, I think you always try to make the best of it, youíre not really worried about how serious the war is, and I donít think youíre really aware of people getting hurt, at least I wasnít. So, my life was just a normal childhood life, I mean I worried about friends, whose house I was gonna go play at, just like a normal kid. I think when the war got worse, and I started missing whole days and weeks of school at a time, I think this is when my parents that is would probably be better for us to move to like a much more stable and safe country where I could go to school everyday and eventually graduate, so this is why we moved to Geneva.
My grandfather, and weather that affected my safety in Lebanon, not really, I think that he was generally someone that was well respected by almost everybody, and I donít think many people wanted to harm him, or anybody close to him. So, I donít think that there was like any immediate danger at any point, but, you know, thereís always crazy people during wars, so obviously you want to be prepared and you donít want to take any risks. So I think that thatís one of the reasons that we moved, itís also because of personal safety, and he moved with us as well. And thankfully nothing happened to anybody in my immediate family, so thatís one thing Iím really grateful about.