Dean Franck is a first year student in the Master's of Divinity Program at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. He is also a participant of our Digital Disciples Program.
The feelings of shock and sadness have carried into the weekend after the tragedies in Beirut, Lebanon and Paris, France. Life seems to be eerily quiet in the bustling cities that were attacked by the Islamic State. The double suicide bombing attack in Beirut on Thursday claimed 43 lives, completely at random, in a senseless act of terror. There is a feeling of global vulnerability in Lebanon where they were stunned to see the terror in their country followed by an attack in Paris, which they believed to be a much safer country than their own. It was difficult for the citizens of Lebanon to see that Paris received such a great global outpouring of sympathy while they went slightly unnoticed. “When my people died, no country bothered to light up its landmarks in the colors of their flag,” Elie Fares, a Lebanese doctor, wrote on his blog. “When my people died, they did not send the world into mourning. Their death was but an irrelevant fleck along the international news cycle, something that happens in THOSE parts of the world.”
Beirut had once had a continuous reputation for violence and attacks when it endured a painful civil war some years ago, but this bombing was the first it has seen since then end of its internal pains in 1990. “A reminder of the muddled worldly perceptions came last week, when Jeb Bush, the Republican presidential candidate, declared that ‘if you’re a Christian, increasingly in Lebanon, or Iraq or Syria, you’re gonna be beheaded.’ That was news to Lebanon’s Christians, who hold significant political power.” – NY Times
The nature of the varying reactions between Paris and Beirut has left Lebanon with their continued sense of isolation as they have born the burden of Syria’s deadly four-year war. A war which has sent more than four million refugees fleeing into its neighboring countries among which is Lebanon. “To be sure, the attacks meant different things in Paris and Beirut. Paris saw it as a bolt from the blue, the worst attack in the city since World War II, while to Beirut the bombing was the fulfillment of a never entirely absent fear that a more recent outbreak of violence would recur.” –NY Times
It is also important to note that the 129 deaths in Paris are sadly an almost regular occurrence for those who live amidst the war inside Syria “Imagine if what happened in Paris last night would happen there on a daily basis for five years,” said Nour Kabbach, who fled the heavy bombardment of her home city of Aleppo, Syria, several years ago and now works in humanitarian aid in Beirut. “Now imagine all that happening without global sympathy for innocent lost lives, with no special media updates by the minute, and without the support of every world leader condemning the violence.”
Syrians fear that the burden of the reaction to both attacks can fall upon their shoulders. There are a million Syrians in Lebanon some of whom have fled for and are contemplating to flee for Europe. These attacks might cause Europe to no longer permit them to find safety within their continent. Certain evidence that one Paris attacker may have pretended to be an asylum seeker in Europe has caused opponents of the migration to argue their current position on asylum seekers. Syrians were cut even deeper by this notion as they have fled to Europe merely to escape violence.
To read ‘Beirut, Also the Site of Deadly Attacks, Feels Forgotten’ on the New York Times web site, for the full article
Photo credit: New York Times (Bilal Hussein/Associated Press)
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