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Mourning Beirut—A Look Back in Time

USA | Wednesday, 5 August 2020 | Views [90]

Beirut Explosion Site (photo from the Atlantic)

Beirut Explosion Site (photo from the Atlantic)

Journal Entry from February 14, 2015  journals.worldnomads.com/vagabondstoo

THE IMMIGRATION OFFICER SEARCHED OUR PASSPORTS, page by page, for evidence of a visit to Israel which would deny us entry into Lebanon.  No worries — they are in our expired passports.  While there is tension between Muslims and Christians, Lebanon has no room for Jews — or those who have visited Israel.  Even though the flight was short — the combined taxi rides actually took longer and cost nearly as much — we were tired, disoriented and more than a bit cranky and it was nearly midnight when we reached Q Hotel near Harma Street in Beirut.


    Martyrs Square, complete with bullet holes

We were still disoriented, though not as tired or cranky, this morning as we set off in search of a guidebook to Lebanon.  This is another of those places about which we, like most Americans, are totally ignorant.  Danny Thomas aside, the only Lebanese we have met were the displaced Christian couple who ran the Moabland Hotel in Madaba, Jordan.


                 Muhammad Al Amine or "Blue" Mosque 

February 14, Valentines Day, is a holiday in Beirut.  It has nothing to do with hearts and flowers or Cupids; ten years ago today the late-Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri, along with 21 others were killed in a massive Downtown Beirut blast that targeted his convoy.  Heavily armed police made Beirut look like a city under siege as we walked along the corniche to the historic center.  This is nothing new for Beirut which has risen time and again from the ravages of conflict.  Even the statue at Martyrs Square is riddled with bullet holes.  Despite its recovery, razor wire and road blocks are still architectural elements in the city once known as “Paris of the Middle East.”


               A fact of life in Beirut

Update:  While the Q Hotel is more than a mile away, Martyrs’ Square and the Mohammad Al Amin Mosque are much nearer to the explosion site.


                     Site of Explosion, Blue Mosque and Q Hotel (Google Maps)

Tags: retrospective


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