For many in Lebanon, the violence that broke out on October 14 brought back memories of the civil war. A special episode of SAT-7’s program You Are Not Alone, broadcast just two days after the clashes, shared survivors’ voices, offered hope, called for peace, and raised prayer as life becomes increasingly difficult in Lebanon.
“My daughter is two years old. She didn’t understand what happened,” says Bchara Airani, who was trying to escape the violence with his child when a bomb exploded in front of their car. “She was laughing, and then she was shocked. When I talked to her, she wouldn’t answer.” Since then, Bchara says, he and his wife have been worried for their daughter, who has been sleeping far more than usual. “We hope she is not traumatized. We leave it in God’s hands,” he says.
Bchara felt he is living through now what his parents lived through during the civil war. “It is a very bad feeling to be living this again, in 2021, when we are in [a time of peace]. I refuse to accept for my children to live through what I lived through.”
You Are Not Alone’s Sirene Semerdjian also speaks to Clarissa and Lucas, a brother and sister who were in their school building very close to the violence happening. They say that everyone was frightened, especially fearing injury from the large glass windows in their classrooms. “I didn’t react much; I was strong. But once I got home, I started crying, I released all my emotions,” says Clarissa. Asked what he would say to those perpetrating violence, Lucas says, “God will forgive you if you stop doing these things.” Clarissa adds, “Your weapons drive us to war. To things that we don’t want to live through.”
The children ended by praying for Lebanon’s protection and an end to the crisis. The episode also included input from a psychologist as well as a church leader, who leads viewers in prayer for Lebanon.
“This episode is a shout of refusal to all violence and clashes that are happening in Lebanon and to say to every Lebanese who is living fear, you are not alone,” says Sirene during the episode. “It is time we silence all sounds and listen to one sound – the Lord’s voice – and do His will and put our lives and destinies in Lebanon in His hands. He is able to provide light for all the darkness we are living in.”
SAT-7’s Lebanon team feels that as their country goes through immense suffering – with three-quarters of the country now in poverty – their role in offering hope through media only becomes more important.
“We have lived through this before in our lives, in our childhoods,” says Maroun Bou Rached, Executive Director of SAT-7 Lebanon. “Lebanon is going through a very difficult time, and we are expecting it to get worse. But our mission now is to help others – help others to stay in Lebanon, including Christians. If our ministry were to leave, then how would we be able to help others?”
George Makeen, SAT-7 Arabic Channels International Director, adds:
Please keep praying for Lebanon. What was already a difficult situation has become even more complicated by these developments. In response to the violence, SAT-7 is sharing a balanced message: one of hope, while highlighting the importance of seeking justice without using force. This is very important in light of these events. Please pray for our viewers and for peace on Lebanon’s streets.”