Rima Najdi , AKA Madame Bomba, is a Lebanese multidisciplinary artist based in Berlin . Over the holidays, though, she returned to Beirut just as the city was hit by two horrific bomb attacks. These bombings - the first in downtown Beirut and the second in the predominantly Shia area of Dahiyeh, where Hezbollah has a strong presence - are not isolated events. Car and suicide bombs have become a regular fixture on Beirut's streets in recent months, with the war in Syria having an increasingly destabilising effect on its neighbour. Having been close enough to hear one of the bombs for herself, Najdi began to ask herself as she drove around, "Is there a bomb next to me? Am I going to die now?" It opened her eyes, she says, "to how much we are facing death in Lebanon ". When Najdi realised her friends shared her fear of "dying at any moment", she was inspired to act. And so Najdi began wandering Beirut's streets dressed as a bomb. She was accompanied by other friends and artists: Maria Kassab , Sandy Chamoun , Roy Dib and Dana Dia, who documented the performance with photos, videos and audio recordings. All in black, except for the red dynamite costume strapped to her (designed by Rayya Kazoun ) and her beaten Converse , Najdi walked her protest through the streets of west Beirut's busy Hamra district, along the seafront, and into downtown Beirut - close to the site of the December blast that killed Mohamad Chatah, Lebanon's former finance minister and critic of Syria's president Assad, along with six others. On the Corniche - Beirut's seaside promenade, and the one place in the city where all Lebanese, regardless of sect, can congregate to eat ice-creams, drink juice, cycle and smoke - Najdi stopped for photographs. Reactions were mixed: some people were scared, others made jokes, some were indifferent, others intrigued. Days after, she is still receiving reactions via social media. Messages have come from Algeria , Turkey and Yemen , as well as Lebanon . Some even want to copy her intervention. "It will be interesting to see what would happen, for example, if a man did the performance," she says. "I think gender did play a role in people's reactions." Najdi is thinking here of some of the more "flirtatious" responses she had, with one man jibing: "If suicide bombers looked like you, I would love to die." Ellie Violet Bramley
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