Letter from Al-Kafaat in Lebanon


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Most Reverend Metropolitan PHILIP Saliba
Primate
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
358 Mountain Road
Englewood, NJ 07631

Your Eminence,

I am writing to you this letter with tears in my eyes, but with a strong will of survival as always.  I simply wish to let you know that my family and I are safe.

Our five centers that lie in the midst of the area targeted by the Israelis have so far been spared.  Bombs are falling few meters away from the centers, causing severe damages to the neighboring buildings, but the Hand of our Lord has protected our centers so far.

Meanwhile, we are now extending emergency relief at the Ain-Saadeh Dormitories of our Campus to a number of our employees and their families that have lost their homes.  We have so far 95 people there, of which at least 30 are children under 15.

Yesterday night we feared for our own lives.  We live in Baabda and the main square which lies about 500 meters away from our home, was targeted.  The magnitude of the disaster is huge.  I have never seen such a humungous crater in the ground.  We had no alternatives but to pack our bags this morning and move up to our Campus, where we have found refuge ourselves.

The situation is very bad.  The military siege and the constant bombing with disciplined and ferocious accuracy are becoming worst by the day.  Evidently, the operation seems perfectly well prepared, and makes believe that the Hezbollah abduction of the two soldiers was the occasional spark.  But above all, the country is currently enduring an economic blockade which will undoubtedly bleed the civilian population as the stocks of food and medicine come to terms in the coming days.

I am finishing this letter with the heavy sound of the Israeli war planes pounding Beirut again in the background.  I am not sure what the next days will bring us and my thoughts are shattered between trying to find a way out, and staying put next to my family and Al-Kafaat.  These are terrible times- times I would have never thought we would witness again.  These are times of mourning: the casualties have so far reached the incredible number of 300 since the beginning of the offensive.  But these are also times for praying, praying that the madness stops soon, and that men regain theirs senses.

Your daughter in Christ,

Myriam N. SHWAYRI