Luma Balaa


On August 4, 2020, Lebanon witnessed a second Hiroshima-like explosion of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate. It killed and injured thousands of people, destroying most of Beirut. Compounding Lebanon’s misery, the coronavirus has taken its toll, as in the rest of the world, with thousands of deaths. There are no more vacant hospital beds and not enough medical supplies. For the last two years, Lebanon has been experiencing economic and political instability. The country is badly in debt and the banks have gone bankrupt and confiscated people’s life savings. The Lebanese Lira is pegged to the dollar and two years ago, every dollar was worth 1500 Lebanese Lira; recently, it reached 15000 Lebanese Lira. Half of the population is suffering from poverty and the price of basic food supplies is the highest in the MENA region. The government has resigned but the politicians cannot decide on who to form a new government. Domestic violence has been on the rise because of patriarchy but spouses are mainly fighting over insufficient salaries. Many Lebanese are immigrating, in search of a better living. The poet is dismayed at all this suffering and she resorted to sublimating her anger into writing fiction, memoirs and poetry, playing the piano, singing and drawing. She attended a drawing lesson online. The teacher showed the students how to draw a certain image of a woman. However, the woman who the poet actually drew turned out totally different. When she showed it to her friends, everybody was wondering who it was. So, she was inspired to write a poem answering their questions.

Author Biography

Dr. Luma Balaa is Associate Professor of English Studies in the Department of English at the Lebanese American University of Beirut. Her research interests include fairytales, Anglophone Lebanese Australian writers, women’s writings, feminism and representations of women in cinema. She is the author of several international peer-reviewed articles. She also has written a collection of poems.