The Beauty of Beirut...
By now we have all heard the tragic news, an explosion wreaked havoc in the Port of Beirut last Tuesday. As I am typing this, the death toll is being reported by BBC at more than 200 people and 6,000 injured. My heart breaks for the families who are now left without a beloved member, or their home or job. What happens when life as you know it is destroyed? I cannot imagine or pretend to ever understand.
My twin sister had a Lebonese boyfriend in high school. I have the warmest memories of going to their house to make stuffed grape leaves. They were the most loving and kind people. Through the years and all my travels, I have noticed this to be quite the norm with the beautiful people of Lebanon.
When these tragedies strike, we see endless photos of the destruction. While it is important to see the reality and help in any way we can, let's make sure to reflect on what was lost. Those torn down streets were people's hard work and livelihood, it was their home. I've compiled a few photos that highlight the beauty of Beirut.
(Roman baths! There are additional Roman ruins located in Beirut.)
(Inside of the Al Amine Mosque)
The country has been experiencing economic hardship with plenty of challenges that are already putting the vast majority of the population at risk for unemployment, homelessness, and hunger. This article by The New York Times published in May 2020, details how and why Lebanon ended up in its current financial crisis. This explosion is a reminder that life can change drastically in seconds, even when life is already throwing hurdle after hurdle your way.
Nevertheless, the people of Beirut and the rest of Lebanon are resilient. They want what every human craves, stability, peace of mind, a home, and safety for their family. As the death toll will inevitably rise, let's keep the people affected in our thoughts and hearts.
If you are in a position to give,
here are some ways we can help:
The Lebanese Red Cross, which is the main provider of ambulances in Lebanon. They are dispatched to help treat the wounded and aid in search and rescue.
The United Nations’ World Food Program is providing food to people affected by the explosion. Lebanon imports nearly 85 percent of its food. The Port of Beirut, where the epicenter of the explosion took place, was a key factor in supplying the country with food. With that area now suffering billions of dollars worth of damage, food costs are set to skyrocket out of affordability for most.
I'll leave you with this video of Lebanese people of all ages and walks of life, singing their national anthem, "Koulouna lil Watan".
Thank you for checking in, let's keep looking out for each other in these times.