For the first time since the fighting ended, Mahmoud Al-Adawi returns to Dahiyah to find much of it destroyed.

Walking through Dahiyah was like visiting some site mentioned in holy texts – stories about sinful cities that were punished by some relentless god. The scene was so overwhelming that it required more than a pair of eyes to fully comprehend it. The fact that so much massive destruction occurred over such a short period was part of it. It was so strange, because I knew the place. Just a short while ago, I used to walk through it often. There were many shops I used to purchase things from and streets I used to just amble through. Many of the destroyed buildings, I noticed, were buildings I was involved in constructing. Other buildings we took refuge in during the first half of the 1982 invasion. And now they are all sunk into their basements, as if sucked by some power beneath or as if some giant foot had kicked them knocking them flat on their side, blocking the street below. The destruction is such that you lose orientation; I had to stop many times to make sure that I was in the same places that used to know. The feeling is completely different now, and no picture can adequately capture it. And it was the case for all the people wandering about assessing the damage, their faces expressed the shock and wonder at what their eyes were seeing.

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