A Spiritual Moment from West Beirut directed by Ziad Doueiri

Tarek is a Muslim teenager living in Beirut when war erupts in the city. At first, he and his friends enjoy all the free time they have after their school is closed. But gradually, the seriousness of the situation dawns on him. In one scene, Tarek's friend Omar finds him on the roof and asks why he looks so sad.

Tarek replies:

"We don’t have money. We eat sardines at least three times a week. My dad feels hopeless. He's not working. I don’t dare ask him for pocket money."

He pauses, then continues:

"Remember when the war started, how we had fun? Now I'm afraid I'll lose my parents, then who will be left?

"Have you ever seen someone struck by disaster and you say, 'Thank God, it's not me? Now I feel like I'm that person, and everyone is saying, "Poor guy, thank God, it's not us."

The two boys cry and embrace.

This scene becomes an exercise in compassion when, instead of saying, "Thank God, it's not us" we recognize that we are connected to these boys and their suffering. They are us, and we are them.


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