If you’re from around Akkar, you’ve probably heard about this legend’s brutal death a couple of days ago. If not, then allow me to introduce you to someone you should have met.
Assaad Warrak (53) is a well-known businessman and family man from Charbila, Akkar (my hometown). He owns several businesses in the area and is an extremely hard-working man and a father of six. Incredibly loved and lovable, ridiculously generous and outgoing, socially renowned and powerful, Assaad was simply the man you hear about all the time but very rarely get to see. Because he’s always out there, making sure that everything and everyone around him was in order. That is, until he returned from work Wednesday evening and was brutally and cruelly shot to death in his own town.
And the rest of the world? The rest of the world was sleeping.
To say that I and the rest of the town are furious is an understatement. This is a man who never stopped giving, a man who never stopped caring, a man whose actions changed the lives of countless people. So the question looms: where do we go on from here? How do we mourn the death of a beloved, the death of someone who didn’t get the chance to fight for his life? Where is the justice in all this? Or, in Lebanese terms, “wayniyye l dawle?”.
So, who is to blame for this infuriating murder? Me? The people of Charbila? ISIS? The army?
If only we had an army base in our little humble town to protect us from such hideous crimes–oh, wait. Never mind. We do, sort of, don’t we? Huh.
And another question pops in: now what? What is going to change? Will we learn that we are alone in this, that the people of Charbila (and Akkar, by proximity) are so secluded from the rest of this world that we need to fight our own battles? Should we put down our arguiles and phones, and go out on the streets with machine guns and rifles? Should we fight back? And whom do we fight? And… why is no one talking about this?
Assaad’s death is a huge loss, I’m almost running out of words. It’s making me question everything I thought I knew. Does God exist? Is there no more humanity? Are people running out of morals? But the biggest question of all is why we let it happen. Why we allowed a bunch of illiterate, uneducated, inhuman bastards walk into our land and think they’ve come out victorious. Why, just a few minutes away, there’s a bunch of uniformed gals sitting around in their bunk-beds NOT out there, roaming around the streets of Charbila. How much more pain should we endure for someone with good authority to realize there’s something not right here? There’s something not right here. Right?
So again, the questions come rushing back: who do we blame? The headless country we’re all still calling Lebanon? Or the ungoverned area we still refer to as Akkar? Or maybe we should be blaming ourselves for trusting others to actually do their jobs and protect us from this cruel world. Yes, we should blame ourselves because we were too good, almost as good as Assaad (although that’s quite unlikely), and too kind and too forgiving.
And this stops now. At the funeral, I heard numerous cries and screams along the line of “how are we supposed to move on now without you, how are we going to grieve over your brutal death?” And that, I think, is the problem. We shouldn’t be asking how to get over this cruel time. We should be wondering why the hell we’re even here, why we’ve been here before–countless times, haven’t we?–, and why we still haven’t learned that, in this country, you do not come out alive. You’re either the son of a bitch who kills without mercy, or you’re the legendary goodhearted spirit who should have never trusted this place to protect you.
And of all the things that you were and still are, Mr. Warrak, the one thing you will never cease to be…is legendary.