Last week I went to the Rashid Hotel to pick up a letter which Bob Simpson had brought from Cyprus. He also sent me some packets of seeds for Italian vegetables, a tiny leak in the embargo: useful, if we ever get any water. His room was full of hacks waiting for the big moment. I told him very authoritatively that there would be no war. He said he wished he could believe me. I’m not sure why I was so positive. I should have known better; after all, I witnessed three revolutions in Iraq, the Suez War in Egypt and most of the Lebanese civil war.
DAY ONE. I woke up at three a.m. to exploding bombs and Salvador Dali, my dog, frantically chasing around the house, barking furiously. I went out on the balcony. Salvador was already there, staring up at a sky lit by the most extraordinary firework display. The noise was beyond description. I couldn’t get an answer from Ma and Needles’s phone so tried Suha who answered in a hushed voice and said, Put out your lights. Suha was sitting in a shelter she had prepared under the stairs, already stashed with provisions. She’d taped up her windows and doors against nuclear fall-out.
I ventured outside with Salvador to put out the garage light–we were both very nervous. Almost immediately we lost all electricity, so I need not have bothered. The phones also went dead. We are done for, I think: a modern nation cannot fight without electricity and communications. Thank heavens for our ration of Pakistani matches.
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