Interview with Léa: Syria and Lebanon

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Interview with Léa: Syria and Lebanon

Claire Lewin, News Editor

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Syria has been in a civil war for about two years now. But recently, tension within the country has escalated to a new level due to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the government. Although nothing has been confirmed, it is serious enough that America is thinking of intervening.

Due to the dangerous situation in Syria, many Syrians are fleeing to nearby countries for safety. Lebanon is one of these countries. The nation has become an increasingly dangerous place to live due to the presence of Syrian refugees and the threat of the Syrian government.

Léa Saab, a 16-year-old high school student from the city capital, Beirut, has spent many summers in the United States. I met Léa two summers ago at Tufts University, and she also attended a program at the University of Michigan this summer. After asking her questions regarding the current state of Lebanon and the Middle East, she has provided us with some insight. Since English is not her first language, some of her responses were edited for clarity.

 What is the current feeling in Lebanon?

People in Lebanon are not feeling safe right now. Although they continue to go out and have fun, they’re aware that at anytime explosions can happen anywhere.

How has the Syrian war changed your country or the way you live your life?

The Syrian war is affecting Lebanon by making its people everyday hate our government more for their inability to save us. People are siding with whoever they think will save us from a horrible death. We’re all scared and fearful of living our usual, everyday life, but we know the world won’t stop spinning for what’s been happening in the Middle East for almost two years now.

What are the Lebanese peoples’ attitudes toward the Syrian War?

Lebanese people are concerned with what’s happening in Syria. Since Hezbollah freely made the decision to directly intervene militarily in the conflict in support to Bachar Al Assad, all communities are now threatened. Some wish for the survival of the regime because they depend financially and politically on it, while others are looking for the complete opposite because they have been persecuted by the father of Bachar Al Assad just like he’s doing with his own people now.

Lately, as you walk through the streets do you see the impact of the Syrian War?

In some minor areas the impact is much clearer as the amount of refugees has drastically increased, but in general life continues not as it was before, but is still active nonetheless. Lebanon is one of the last countries still welcoming Syrian refugees even though over a million refugees are already sleeping, eating, and sometimes working in the country.

Have you seen a lot of Syrian Refugees?

I have personally met a Syrian refugee. His name is Abdallah, I met him in Downtown Beirut even though he lives very far from there. He was selling flowers. He’s 10 years old. He stopped school because of the war in Syria and came to Lebanon with all his family. His dad doesn’t work, he just sends each one of his young children in an area of Lebanon to sell flowers until midnight, and then takes their money as soon as they go back home. I’ve also met this year two brilliant Syrian Refugees in my class, who have lost family members in this tragic war.

What is the biggest threat that the Syrian war poses on the Lebanese people?

We fear the conflict moves to our country because of the alliances that exist between the regime and Hezbollah from one side and the future movement and rebellion from another side.

 What are your hopes for the future?

As Lebanese people we all wish this ends soon. No one from the new generation wishes to live the same thing that our parents went through three decades ago.

Any additional comments?

People in Syria have been dying in outrageous ways, the chemical weapons are just one of the ways their President is using to have the power back. The Syrian conflict had already resulted in the death of more than 110,000 people and the issue is still not clear. In Libya it was easier for the Western countries to act against Khadafi despite much less persecutions against his people. It is regrettable that they are still not capable to act in Syria as the situation is becoming more dangerous for the whole region.

 

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