Note from Lebanon

[AUB is American University of Beirut – . The woman writing the note is Clare. John is her husband, and the son of a couple at my church; they were educational missionaries and he grew up in Alexandria, Egypt–he has never felt comfortable in the US, and can never be anything but an American in the Middle East. Georgio is their 7-ish year old son, who was the first American child born in post-Civil War Lebanon, after Americans were allowed to return to the country.]

It’s best to make a telephone call the offices of elected officials or to send a telegram. Second most effective is to fax or send a regular letter. Third is to send e-mails. For contact information, go to No matter: do something!

Dear Sonnie,

Thanks so much for your note. Yeah, so you know that they blew up the airport runways the day before Georgio and I were supposed to leave? And they just keep blowing things up. It’s incredible. But of course they’re focusing on those most heavily populated, poorest areas, rather than where we live. We just get the big booms and bangs off and on, day and night. It’s a remarkable experience. I’m fascinated by my own reactions, as well as those of the people around me. Sometimes I’m laughing and other times crying. We’re part of a nice community that already was pretty close. Everyone is constantly calling one another for news updates and clarification of the countless rumors that are going around, and just being generally supportive.

Unfortunately, both John and I can only access email and the internet from work. My computer at home died about a month ago, and I didn’t get a chance to replace it, but we’re all fine. Since we live in AUB faculty housing we have enough water and generator-powered electricity (while the rest of the city goes
without much of the time). They say AUB has supplies to keep electricity and water running for 3 weeks. And we feel safe on campus. So I haven’t felt any
overwhelming urge to leave. As long as we’re in our home and together and feeling safe, I’m fine (well, relatively speaking; it’s still stressful and particularly hard to give Georgio the time and patience and attention that he needs).

John can’t leave until he’s taken care of the 70 or so students from abroad enrolled in the summer Arabic program here (since he’s the Director). He’s at the office from about 7am to 7pm, dealing with their needs and their parents’ concerns. We may end up having to leave without him, in which case I’ll be upset. Here too is where it’s really hard being a parent. We need to get Georgio away from this; it’s not good to hear him talk about wanting to kill Israelis. I keep saying that they are moms and dads, and have moms and dads too, and we need to stop the killing rather than having more. Why can’t the guys doing the shooting get that through their heads?

So, that’s where we are right now. People keep asking what I’m going to do. I don’t know. I’m just taking it a day at a time. Somehow I’m sleeping well, as is Georgio, who’s also drinking tons of milk. I guess his body instinctively knows that the calcium will help deal with the stress. We put him to sleep in our bed, then move him into a “nest” on the floor between the bed and the closet, and far from the windows just in case. So many precautions to take that you’d never think of normally.

I’m hopping mad at the US government, which of course is nothing new. They’re sending an aircraft carrier to evacuate the Americans here, and they’re going
to charge us to get on that boat, and all the while they’re footing the bill for all those bombs they’re dropping here, and they’re re-fueling the jets that drop the bombs. I called my senators and congressman to protest our support for Israeli actions here and to beg them to take a stand against what Israel is doing. You’d be doing me a favor if you did the same. Perhaps you already have.

It’s terribly sad what’s happening here. I guess we’ll be there soon, and then we’ll have to figure out how to get back to our lives here… somehow.

Bye now. Love, Clare

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