A nightmare or a horror movie took place in Beirut on August 4, 2020.
Over 154 dead, over 5000+ injured, and over 300,000 homeless all of a sudden, following the two explosions at the port (https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/06/middleeast/beirut-explosion-anger-intl-hnk/index.html).
These numbers could dramatically rise with the rescue outcomes. Despite this, there was a happy story yesterday. They found a missing man alive in the sea (injured yet alive, after 30 hours!).
Anyhow before starting this post, here is a picture of France’s President Macron being hugged in Beirut by a youth…
Thank you France, Canada, and all the world… especially in the middle of a pandemic affecting everyone’s economy (Bambi cannot name all the countries…), for standing up with the Lebanese people! Bambi would also take this opportunity to thank ALL those who showed their solidarity and care for her family. She is speechless. Thank you for the calls, SMS, emails, prayers, love, and compassion.
This being said, here is the story of life and death…
First, at the same time of the SURREALISTIC twin explosions, a newborn (baby Georges!) came to life, as per the BBC video below. You can see him in the arms of his dad. Their picture was taken by his mother, Ms. Christelle (or Emanuelle) Sawaya. “Mabrouk” (= Congratulations) to this courageous young family! The video was taped by his dad.
That was the beautiful part of the story (life).
Sadly, at the exact same time at the same devastated Saint George Hospital, death was awaiting 15 people who lost their lives on the spot (4 nurses and 11 patients. These figures could be higher today, perhaps 20 in total). You can see a sad video of the destruction of the hospital further below (it is sad to watch, you have been warned).
The Saint George Hospital (Saint George is known as the protector of Beirut) was like the second home of Bambi, so to speak, during civil war. At one point, as a volunteer in the ER, morgue, dialysis, she slept there for weeks (she was stuck due to heavy combats and shelling) , even if running home would have taken her a few seconds… OK perhaps a full minute to catch her breath. She used to also jump there (between rounds of shelling) to bring water home (a large container) or… simply to take a shower (once after 18 days in a row!). Less dramatically, this is where all her family came to the world, baby after baby (including herself). This is where her parents usually get their medical care. Even from far away, she has always felt proud of the great news of excellence of this teaching hospital (a living monument for medicine and science in Beirut). This hospital is also the daily workplace of at least 5 or 6 of her cousins. Thank God, they are all safe and sound (despite one’s minor injury at home).
Bambi cried like baby George when she saw the video below (destruction beyond imagination… of course, we can also see traces of blood, reminding us of those who lost their lives or got injured). Remember, baby George saw the light at the same time the lights went off at this heavily damaged hospital. A few seconds/minutes after, the whole place was in a state of evacuation. This is the worst code that health centres can have. Imagine having to evacuate all the patients to other hospitals (some may have been on machines or under surgery, etc.). The latter were also badly damaged (one not too far) or literally overwhelmed. Yet, the medical team kept providing care to injured people in its parking lot. WOW!
Next to this hospital, there is a beautiful church (Saint George), along with its senior residence. It seems that this relatively recently renovated byzantine church got damaged too (Greek nuns came to paint its magnificent icons on the ceiling and on the walls. Same for other churches further away, which were also recently painted by those same talented senior nuns (Byzantine art is their specialty; Bambi had the chance to witness their devoted work when visiting Beirut once). Bambi’s heart goes to her cousin Elham and her spouse (priest) and to her parents. Their church means so much to them…
Most importantly, Bambi’s heart goes to those who lost loved ones, those under the rubble, injured, homeless (300, 000+!) or without cars. To all those who lost their (OUR!) beautiful Beirut!!! Bambi is with you in spirit. She is upset and sad beyond words… Enough of corruption, incompetence, and criminality!
Bambi’s parents miraculously survived, along with Michka! What a blessing, given the level of damage in their apartment (+ her dad’s store)! In the middle of her tears looking at pictures, she could not help not to smile to two details: their Canadian flag (next to the Lebanese flag) remained untouched, despite the destruction on the balcony and in the apartment. They also have a painting of the Swan pond of Sackville (NB)’s Mount Allison University in their dining room. Contrary to the rest, it was not destroyed/broken.
Bambi’s parents could have been easily among those 300 dead people. Thank Goodness they were not present in their destroyed room at the time! Somehow they survived and we are grateful to God (they also could have been without a roof too). Bambi feels sad that they have to deal with all this. Them and all the relatives and friends of their age (the financial crisis and the pandemic were more than enough).
Last but not least, it is heart-breaking that MANY kids have been injured and are surely traumatized, like their parents. Indeed, Bambi’s sister (whose spouse and daughter got injured :() shared moving stories of people’s cry for help (many were carrying their injured kids covered with blood). Bambi’s heart goes to you Rania who lost some friends :(. Bambi thanks God once again that Rabih survived… May he heal smoothly. Same for Stéphanie (“habibi”!)!
To conclude this post, may baby George, and all Lebanon’s children, grow, thrive, and see better days!