“When we drove into Qana last year,” Joseph told me, scanning the gray concrete houses on either side of the road, “we heard flames roaring, the sound of the jets, people screaming, and the ringing of cell phones.” He looked at me and shrugged. “The relatives of people were calling to see if they were okay.” Joseph worked for the Red Cross during the 2006 war with Israel and was one of the first to enter the village after an Israeli bombardment massacred twenty-eight Lebanese civilians. Soft-spoken, slight, he was solicitous on the surface but, like many Lebanese, reserved, even wary. When I hired him as my driver and interpreter to take me south from Beirut, I knew only that he drove a taxi with his father and worked as a draftsman in an engineering firm to pay his way at Lebanese University. But then he offered to take me to Qana. He could show it to me, he said; he could tell me what he’d seen.

more from VQR here.