In this week’s episode, Chris Williams shares his experience of living in Beirut, witnessing revolution, government change and the recent tragic explosion which caused huge devastation, deaths, and left over 300 000 people homeless.
Chris shares his stories about the vibrancy and warm heartedness of Lebanon
“ this country is…. .a great place to be and the overwhelming thing for me is that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you have come from the people here are so welcoming … their sense of warmth and hospitality and being welcoming is amazing”
Chris talks through his and his partner Gemma’s experience of the aftermath of the explosion and witnessing incredible acts of kindness and generosity as people immediately tried to look after each other…Chris tells the story of of how their foster cat Mouse was rescued by Animas Lebanon, and his and Gemma’s gruelling 45 minute walk through the rubble of a ruined city “ full of lots of injured people, lots of panicked people, lots of scared people” but how the return journey took him by surprise: “What I expected to be an upsetting trip back was actually heart-warming and moving because … the streets were just full of people… who had come straight there to help.. to do what they could… bringing manoushe (a traditional Lebanese breakfast) …. , hundreds of people giving bottles of water out, asking do you need somewhere to stay… everyone pulling together in this really bleak time”
We speak about the hope that rises when we bear witness to this, that even at the absolute worst of times people try to help each other
Chris feels hopeful for the future of Lebanon: “When the people come together to demand something… they are so powerful – when everyone is one speaking with one voice and demanding change … that shows real hope to me because I think there can be change … …. there is so much hope in the country and so much potential “
Here are some examples of places to donate
Lebanese Red Cross are focused on medical and rescue efforts - https://www.supportlrc.app/donate/
Impact Lebanon are providing shelter for displaced people - https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/impact-lebanon?utm_term=dXEJkepP7
Amel are providing food, medical support, rehabilitation and psychological support / therapy - https://www.gofundme.com/f/emergency-fund-for-lebanon?fbclid=IwAR3HSzw-mL-p4_XOU5ftrj7dj_xNZYzgaA5NaqBnUa8ub7aYDXsDMebwMVA
Animals Lebanon are also doing really great stuff rescuing animals from the rubble - https://www.animalslebanon.org/donate
Here is the Guardian article with more recommendations:
Sources of information about the region : https://www.arabnews.com \
My book "How To Be Hopeful" published by Elliot and Thompson is due out September 2020. This podcast series is a chance for me to chat again to some of the people who I interviewed for the book, as well as some people who I didn't have the chance to. I hope you enjoy it.
You can find me here www.bernadetterussell.com
twitter @betterussell insta @bernadetterussell