It started with a thundering noise and a prodigious shake to my car on my way to my call. It felt so close, but it turned out to be miles away. I am taken over by a sense of urgency. Something is wrong, very wrong. Drive on as fast as you can to reach the hospital. The phone starts lighting up with back-to-back notifications. “Are you safe? What was it? Where was it? Is it an attack? Is it an assassination attempt? Turn around and come back home.” Impossible.

I reach the outskirts of Beirut and start seeing shattered glass, occasionally at first, then more frequently, and then constantly. Every single facade of every single building is destroyed, blown away by a blast of epic proportions. “Code D full activation” resonates on my phone. When you live...

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