A statement by a traveller repatriated to Beirut from Paris

A friend from Moncton (thanks Mary :)) forwarded this letter to Bambi. She must have received it from someone from Beirut, Lebanon.

What an interesting statement… Of course Bambi cannot verify the authenticity of the letter (+ does not have the time to do so!). However, from the TV news documentaries and testimonies of people she has talked to in Beirut, all this seems to be 100 percent accurate.

Remember, we are talking about a bankrupt country, which citizens have revolted against its corruption (with a good reason :(!). So imagine, if those same citizens are saying what they are saying now about the performance of the government, the official health authorities, and all those who generously collaborated with in this operation (from MEA airlines’ staff to hotel staff, etc.). Bravo Lebanon!

Before sharing the letter, Bambi is not surprised… During civil war, MEA airline has literally done miracles to save passengers (including Bambi and her family). Once, an airplane had to fly to Cyprus at lower altitude, door unlocked, as the shelling started suddenly (Cyprus is just 20-25 minutes away by airplane). This story is real, told by a retired flight attendant to Bambi. The spouse of this person was not as lucky as her to survive a 15-year-long war. He was kidnapped at one point. His body was never found.

Anyhow, here is the letter below. Enjoy!

“Roger Bejjani:

Statement made by my brother Gaby who arrived to Beirut from Paris yesterday Tuesday April 7, 2020.

Dear All. I left Paris for Beirut on Tuesday April 7, 2020. I just arrived home (April 8, 2020 @ 4 pm) after a unique frightening experience. I have to congratulate the Lebanese government and the concerned ministries for their professionalism and the logistics they have deployed from the departure in Paris via the Lebanese embassy, the MEA and its devoted staff, the interior redesigning of the plane to cope with the threat of contamination between passengers. The flight attendants were wearing astronaute kind of protective and insulating gear, the delegates from the Lebanese interior and general security and the ones from the health ministry were also properly protected. We were provided by the Lebanese authority masks and gloves, whilst France did not have any masks available in the pharmacies and even in some hospitals. They segregated us with different colors: a green color to the ones who had a previous recent negative test which was a minority, yellow color for those who said having no Symptoms, blue for those who declared they had diabetes, blood pressure, excess weight, cardio vascular and cancer, finally red for who was showing Corona symptoms. During the flight, a doctor was permanently contolling the temperature of all passengers.

I shall not forget the energy and discipline shown at Beirut airport in maintaining the distancing in a calm and respectful way and in asking the passengers the standard questions before being tested by an excellent team of medical experts. Once the process completed at Beirut airport, each nine of the plane passengers were allocated a bus and luggages sanitized prior to charging them on the bus. Even the clothes worn by the passengers were sanitized. At the hotel where we had to wait for the tests results, every three passengers were received by a health specialist who explained the necessary process for those who will be eventually tested positive and for those who will hopefully test negative. At 7.30pm I went to my room with a sea view, i showered and tried to relax and ultimately slept. No one was allowed to go to the lobby or eat @ the hotel’s restaurant or certainely [sic.] to go out. The police was surrounding the hotel. Obviously I did not feel at all as eating and was worried about the test results. As you know 30% or even more of the positive worldwide population has no Symptoms [sic.]. I started remembering all the people I met in Paris during my three weeks of confinement to reboost my moral. I woke up today trying to give myself comfort whilst waiting for the sanction. Paradise would be to be 15 days confined in my room at home and hell to be confined as much or even more in a governmental hospital. Every door knocking or every phone ringing was for me a big moment of self control trying to courageously face the verdict.

I had to fill new forms confirming my acceptance of the confinement either way. Then they asked me who will drive you home; I saw that as a good sign but unfortunately it was a simple administrative question as results were not yet out. My daughter Céline read to me over the phone the Orient le Jour info confirming that 4 positive cases out of the Paris plane were already sent to Hariri hospital. My brother Roger said to me that this needs to be confirmed as info is not always very accurate. I contacted the receptionist who said that they were still waiting for the results. Every five minutes the good news was transformed into neutral news and time was running. I called  Best assistance CEO George Abdel Massih who sent me a link confirming Orient’s statement.The deliverance came at 2.30pm when they called me asking me to check out. I immediately called Celine who arrived with her mask surrounded by security forces. I have to really praise here the Lebanese government. We owe them at least a sincere recognition, as they behaved better than many other advanced and much richer countries. For a government facing huge financial challenges, they acted and are still acting in a very honorable way to fight this Pandemic [sic.].

Yes this time , I am proud to be Lebanese and they should be encouraged in this priority mission safeguarding the health of our population. “

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