Beirut's Way of Sorrows | Sojourners

Beirut's Way of Sorrows

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice: "Eli, Eli, lama sabach-tha'ni?", that is, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?"
(Matthew 27:46)

Our delegation of eight American clergy and Christian relief specialists was already 30 minutes late for a 3 p.m. appointment in west Beirut, Lebanon, on June 4,1982. The itinerary called for us to visit a Palestinian orphanage in the densely populated Sabra refugee camp (one of three major camps ringing Beirut near the International Airport).

We pulled into the Beau Rivage Hotel at 3:05, realizing that our Palestinian guide had suggested we depart from the hotel at 2:30.1 urged everyone to change clothes and be prepared to leave within five minutes as I rushed throughout the lobby in search of our guide. Suddenly our hotel was violently shaken by a series of explosions. Even the Lebanese and Palestinian waiters, who had lived through much violence during the past seven years of the Lebanese Civil War and successive Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, looked bewildered as they encouraged everyone to take cover in the basement to avoid flying glass. One waiter yelled, "The Israelis are bombing, and it's very close! Hurry up!"

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