A Symphony of Bullets, A Libyan Teen Writes
An illustration of "Tripoli the mermaid of the Mediterranean" symbol sitting proudly on the famous historical site The Red Castle "Alsarayya Al Hamra" in downtown Tripoli by pop artist Alla Budabbus

A Symphony of Bullets, A Libyan Teen Writes

This article was written by a Libyan teenager living in Tripoli, in which she describes the type of life she's experiencing.

Beams of light radiate through the cracks of the window blinds, hitting Waad’s eyelids. She opens her eyes gradually staring straight at the ceiling that has witnessed ample vibrations throughout 8 years of inconsistent war. Her now wide-awake brain takes her on an adventurous unpleasant journey down the memory lane as she tries to recall the first time she had a sense of war. Was it the time a state of utter horror took over the students when a shelling took place near her school? Was it the time she had to duck down in the passenger’s seat to avoid the random flying bullets of some furious men? Was it the time she stormed to her room to hide in the tight closet covering her ears? Was it the time her father was abruptly pulled over and held at gunpoint as he was driving her to school early in the morning? Or was it the time she and her family were forced to leave the house hurriedly to escape a possible brutal collapse of the apartment building? A wave of overwhelmingness washes over her shivering body as a result of the painful flashbacks. Waad rolls over to the side thankful for having had a peaceful sleep clear of nightmares as that is of a frequent occurrence. She steadies her feet on the harsh ground shaking the trauma out of her head and purifying her memory with happy recollections from the past to get by another unpredictable day.


A sheep eats whatever it finds by the Libyan art director and pop artist Alla Budabbus represents hope during hardships


Like a heavily shattered mirror, I stand before, each piece unique in its own individuality representing the many versions of Waad war has dumped behind. The consequence it has left me with is a person with daily-changing contrast. I am fearful and courageous. I am resilient and vulnerable. I am paranoid and calm. I am determined and doubtful. I am hopeful and hopeless. All these war-caused contraries dwell deep inside the full image reflected on the shattered mirror, waging war in my interior abusing my soul as if the exterior surrounding one was not enough.


An illustration of "Tripoli the mermaid of the Mediterranean" symbol sitting proudly on the famous historical site The Red Castle "Alsarayya Al Hamra" in downtown Tripoli by pop artist Alla Budabbus.


How does it feel like being in a state of war? War is a metaphorical heavy chain. Waad often feels as though one of her arms is firmly shackled to the deadly deep-rooted greed of those who are blindly playing the chair game knocking over whoever comes in their way to obtain authority. Every time her free hand extends beyond the clear skies to grasp her seemingly far-fetched aspirations, she is yanked back by the restraints forced on her other arm causing yet another setback which only generates a combination of hope and stubbornness to continue to circle around an infinite loop she aspires to break one day.


Make love, not war is an anti-war slogan commonly associated with the American counterculture of the 1960s.


As the abundant bright stars conquer the pitch-dark stretched sky, empowered by the illuminating rounded object called the Moon, Waad rests with her eyes shut and her mind traveling a million miles a second, processing the cruelty humankind has come to. All her versions, despite their differences, share the same dream of living peacefully and patching up the broken remains of a country that fell a victim for ignorance. Every night, the soothing voices of those versions encouraging her to keep fighting are loud enough to shut down the symphony of bullets.

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