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Remember that one time my toenail got ripped off in an oil spill?



In 2006, Hezbollah (an Iranian militant group in Southern Lebanon) thought it would be cool to kidnap two Israeli soldiers. In return, Israel thought it would be cool to bomb pretty much everything in the entire country besides Hezbollah– including elementary schools and an oil refinery. In 2007, I thought it would be cool to go to the beach. The picture to the right was taken right after the oil spill in 2006. The picture below is what it looked like the day I visited the beach. The picture below that is the look I get when my feet stick to the bottom of the ocean.

I know what you are thinking. How dumb do you have to be to get your nail ripped off in an oil spill? Stop and hear me out first. I did not know that there was oil in the water. I repeat: I did not know there was oil in the water! How the hell did you not see the oil in the water? I will tell you how. Firstly, the beach looked clean. After a long time oil separates into teeny tiny sticky balls, condenses, and sinks to the bottom of the water where it resembles dark sand. One might recognize this slight irregularity if the bottom is visible, which was not the case. I was expecting an ordinary day at the beach. The sun was brighter than ever and I was ready to slap on some baby oil and check out the well toned foreigners.

Have you ever been to a beach that is so crowded that everyone is basically touching? So not my style. It was one of those days at Voile Bleu in Jbeil, Lebanon. Hundreds of happy beach goers were standing side by side in the waves. I was not about to join them. I looked off to the left and saw pristine waters with absolutely no-one standing in it. It should have been a red flag for me. Why are all of those people crowded in one area when there is empty beach right next to them? 

I brushed the thought away and entered the water in a typical Baywatch manner. It didn’t take long for me to realize that something was very wrong. It was kind of like when you step on really slimy sand and it gives you the creeps– except I couldn’t get my feet or ankles out of it. Everyone looked at me like I was dumb. It wasn’t like there was a sign or anything! Someone could have said, “Hey, don’t go over to that side of the beach or you will get stuck in oil!” My aunt thought it would be funny to take a picture of my face.

Does the water look threatening to you? It sure didn’t to me. The only way to remove the oil was to soak my feet in buckets of gasoline and have the lifeguards use pumice stone to scrub it off. That was when my big toenail came off with it. It pains me to retell the details so I will skip the gore.

All jokes aside, this oil spill had reverberating effects on the marine life, economy, environment and the lives of the locals. Anything that survived the spill was inedible, fisherman had to relocate, tourism was greatly reduced and the health of the public was jeopardized. Americans can relate to this because we experienced the same destruction with the BP oil spill in the Gulf. Preserving our world is absolutely important, which is why alternatives to oil must be utilized. I will not be losing any more toenails to big oil or useless political conflict.



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