I decided to ignore the warnings, the stories and the rumors.
I kissed him goodnight, in the middle of downtown Beirut.
Everything I expected from a first kiss was there: the pounding heart, the butterflies, the thrill, and the joy… But one unexpected thing happened.
When we opened our eyes, we saw a policeman calling us. We just ignored it and walked away, until he started screaming.
We ran. We acted like we were guilty of something, like what we did was wrong, like we were criminals, caught red-handed.
Luckily we both got home safely. Stripped of all dignity, humiliated, scared, annoyed, confused, but safe.
Today, whenever I pass by downtown Beirut, whenever I think about him, hear his name, whenever someone ask me about my first kiss, I do not remember touching his lips, running my hand through his curly hairs or trying to control my pounding heart.
No. I just remember the angry and disgusted voice of a policeman, the awkward looks we got while running in the crowded street and our awkward laugh while saying goodbye like what just happened was the most normal thing in the world.
I think about how no one should ever have to face such humiliation. But then the Dekwaneh abuse happens, and what I thought was the worst kind of humiliation possible, an incident I have been afraid to share for a year now, seems stupid and ridiculous.
I open my diary, read what I wrote that night, one year ago, and try to put myself in their shoes, multiply this page on a diary by a hundred, by a thousand.
But I can’t.
Instead, I just do what I would have done if I had to face a similar situation. I write. And today, I am sharing what I wrote, to everyone who has ever been humiliated, by a person, by a city, by a country.