Mittwoch, 2. August 2006

Home, sweet home!

Eine weitere Email von Dr. Riad Kassis:

Almost every time we, as a family, return from a wonderful vacation, as we enter our home we say: Home, sweet home! No place is like home! I am sure that you have had the same feelings in many occasions. However, imagine being forced to leave suddenly your home! Imagine yourself as a child forced to leave behind all the dear things you had once, your pillow, your teddy bear, your favorite cartoon programs…! Imagine yourself forced to leave the comfort of your own bed to sleep on a thin mattress in a park or in a classroom! Imagine yourself without a hot meal, but hardly surviving on canned donations! Imagine that your daily routine has suddenly been turned upside down! Imagine that you do not know when you will return home and unsure whether you will find a heap of rubble instead of a sweet home! Imagine the long lasting psychological effects, on both children and adults, for being displaced!

For me personally it was hard to imagine. I have heard and seen reports on the displaced people in Indonesia, Sudan, and other places in the world. But I have never imagined that to be displaced is such a tragedy until I have encountered this with my own eyes in my dear country Lebanon. Now there is no place for imagination. It is a bitter reality that we live with on a daily basis! It is estimated that more than 800,000 Lebanese are displaced now! In 2005, more than a million Lebanese were in the streets of Beirut united for a free and democratic country. Many nations expressed their support and promised to improve the life of the Lebanese. Now almost a million Lebanese are displaced. In just 20 days their whole life was shattered into pieces. The same nations that promised support are now unable or unwilling to call for a cease fire. Their promises are also shattered into pieces. The fulfillment of their promises is now in form of medical supplies and blankets! As Lebanese we are grateful for all the help we receive, but we are losing faith in the credibility of many supposedly friendly nations!

Here close at home, humanitarian and Christian organizations are working hard to take care of the displaced people in spite of the difficulty of the siege and the destruction of the infrastructure (power, roads, bridges…). At our institution in West Beqaa valley, we are trying to be creative not only to help the displaced, but also by helping the farmers and merchants who are suffering economically. As our budget allows us we buy the produce from farmers and goods from the merchants in the area and distribute them to the displaced people. Currently we are taking care of 150 displaced people at our institution and about 300 displaced people located in nearby villages. We are distributing meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables. However, our main focus is on children under 15 years of age. We distribute suitable toys for them, invite them to watch a movie on a big screen (if power is on), and bake them special cookies in our own German bakery. We are also in the process of having a psychologist to help the children overcome the trauma of war, destruction, and displacement.

The psalmist writes: “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Ps. 11.3). My response to him is: The righteous does not lose hope. The righteous will rebuild the foundations again. The righteous will work hard to let the displaced feel home even away from home. The righteous continues to build a destroyed nation and to uplift the broken souls. We will build the foundations of Lebanon again. In fact, we have already started this process when we became united against the aggression. By God’s grace we will have, in the near future, a sweet, sweet home for every Lebanese!

The Revd Riad Kassis, PhD

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