Twenty Years Ago: My husband begins calling relatives in his hometown, Beirut. They, unlike us, have televisions and have seen the second plane smashing into the tower. “God help us if this is from the Middle East!” my husband says softly. Soon more shock waves of this merciless quake arrive: The Pentagon has also been hit. Four passenger jets on transcontinental flights are reported hijacked. Three are accounted for, all their passengers and crews dead. How many more planes have embarked on murderous suicide missions? And for whom?
A headline in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz on the first anniversary of the blast declared bluntly that “Lebanon was beyond saving.” No: Lebanon and the Lebanese can and must be saved. It is the political class that must be removed from power and set adrift in the toxic sea of sin and sorrow they have created. An international investigation is crucial if Lebanon is ever to recover from this heinous crime.
I asked my brother-in-law “What does ‘Beirut’ mean?” He had just finished telling me about Beirut’s repeated phoenix-like rise from fires, calamities, and even an earthquake that had destroyed a Roman law school here in the year 551. He smiled and said “Beirut means ‘takes a licking but keeps on ticking’!”