Update from Colin & Audrey Gibson

Lebanon.  September 2020
"We will not forget and we will not forgive them ever.  And if they can't bring them to account then we will by our own hands."
Thousands of people gathered on Wednesday last week to mark the first anniversary of the catastrophic explosion at the Port of Beirut last year (4th August).  Marches from various parts of Beirut culminated in an outdoor Mass at the site of the explosion presided over by Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai of the Maronite Church.  The memories were clearly difficult for many, especially the relatives of those who died and who had a special place at the service.

Sadly, there is also much anger as there is still no clear indication of who was responsible for the disaster.  The political establishment has closed ranks and prevented any meaningful investigation.  Some of this anger boiled over into violence in other parts of Beirut.  The quote above comes from a lady whose son was killed in the explosion when masonry fell onto his car.  Fortunately, the demonstrations were not too extensive with only about 8 people hospitalised, though one of our younger American friends who ventured into town suffered breathing problems after being caught by tear gas, used to disperse the demonstrators.  We decided to keep a low profile and watched the commemoration on tv – sometimes with the split screen showing the Mass and the demonstrations happening simultaneously.

“Here to cure your hunger” the slogan of the 'Vaxine Burger Van' which we drive past regularly and which goes to show that the Lebanese people can still can see the funny side of life at times.  And this is despite all the difficulties facing them - a shortage of bottled gas (used by nearly everyone for cooking) and the possible removal of subsidies on petrol are the latest additions to the already long list.  The van was set up when restaurants were closed due to Covid and continues to do a good trade (as far as we can see – we have never stopped to buy).  Spot the 'Immune Cow' burger on the rear door!      

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