Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Fate of Beirut truly a tragedy

The catastrophic explosions and aftermath in Beirut, Lebanon, were truly a horrible tragedy. I have never been to Lebanon but my father traveled on business throughout the Middle East 90 years ago. He spent a year in the Middle East, followed by a year in India, buying furs (mostly Persian lambs), and having them shipped back to the States. I grew up hearing amazing stories of his travels, including crossing the Syrian Desert at night in an old Buick and navigating by the stars, avoiding bandits, and learning to speak fluent Arabic. But what always stood out were his tales of Beirut, the “Paris of the Middle East.” He loved his time there, so much so that when he was ill with cancer and hospitalized in 1982, my mother would not tell him the news about the horrors of the Lebanese Civil War raging at the time. She was convinced that it would upset him terribly.
Perhaps Beirut in 1930 was not as wonderful as my father made it out to be. Probably not. But no people, whatever their politics, deserves the cruel fate of the Lebanese. If the pandemic that we are all going through shows anything, it may just be the desire of us all to want the peaceful right to health, happiness and equality.
Ed Blechner
Addison

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