Thursday, 7 June 2012

Lebanese longing

Speaking to Lebanese in Beirut today, there is a sense of longing. It is a longing for peace.

Sporadic violence continues in Tripoli - with reports of sniper fire today - after three weeks in which more than 20 have died. Attacks near & across the Lebanese border with Syria have added to the fears of being dragged into a wider regional roll out of the Syrian conflict.

The blame game is rife - which political party to blame or which country is responsible. Here as ever in the Middle East theories are argued with a passion springing from decades of suffering.

However, many see the Tripoli violence as a direct reflection of the Syrian conflict between extremist Sunnis & Alawites. The government of Lebanon is containing the outbreak and there is a will amongst the vast majority to avoid any escalation.  

One young Maronite Christian told me today: "Here in Lebanon we always have had war - interspersed by outbreaks of peace. Now it is up to us to find peace - God has put us here for a reason."

A senior priest added his thanks to charities such as Aid to the Church in Need for supporting the Christian communities so that they can be builders of bridges of peace & understanding.  

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