The killing of Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan in a Beirut car bomb on Friday sparked days of tensions, accusations and violence in Lebanon between supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad and his opponents. Al-Hassan was solidly in the latter group, and his supporters, many of them Sunni Muslims, blamed Damascus for the killing. Many also called for the resignation of the Hezbollah-dominated government, saying it is too cozy with the Syrian regime.
In Washington, the FBI confirmed to CBS News its personnel was heading to Beirut to assist Lebanese officials in investigating al-Hassan’s death. [Link]
On October 19, I woke up and drove to work in Achrafieh. Around noon, I called a friend to see if we can meet up for a coffee at Starbucks Achrafieh and we agreed to meet there at 1:30. Around 1:25, I remembered I had an important conference call and pushed our meeting an hour. An hour after, I had to cancel our appointment as I got caught up at work. At 2:50 pm, a bomb went off near Sassine square killing 4 people, among them Wissam el Hassan and his bodyguard, and injuring over 90 people. To sum it up, I could have got killed that day. Thank God I had work to do!
I hope you did not buy my story because it’s total B.S and I was being sarcastic even though I was planning to go to Sassine that day and was passing by that same exact street.
The reason why I am writing this is because some celebrities in Lebanon want us to believe they had a near-death experience on that day because they were simply passing by Achrafieh or by that street, as if Achrafieh is a small town with two main streets only.
One of them is Ragheb Alameh who apparently was on his way to the studio on that day and got there before the bomb came off, probably just like few thousand other Lebanese who take that street everyday. Another is Comedian Michel Abou Sleiman who had to go to some nearby studio but made a few stops before. [Link]
I am not saying they shouldn’t feel lucky not to have passed by that street at the time of the blast, or near it, but there’s no need to make a big deal out of it, specially that a zillion other Lebanese cross that street on a daily basis. Added to that, over 60 families became homeless after the blast and I have yet to see any of our Lebanese celebrities visiting the victims or helping them. Instead they are sending tweets denouncing the killings and showing support (Wen byoserfouwa hay?).
I was just informed that a Syrian worker (Called Jassem or Haytham) was also killed in the blast, making the number of casualties 4. It is worthy noting that there might still be missing or unidentified people given the power of the explosion.
Meanwhile, 10-year old Jennifer Chedid, who was severely wounded, is fighting bravely death and her condition is improving. Let’s pray she recovers quickly.
[YouTube] LBC report on the innocent civilians wounded by the huge explosion
The explosion that shook Achrafieh two days ago destroyed several buildings, shops and vehicles and left many families homeless. Aside from the injured that are being taken care of in hospitals, there are several groups and individuals offering their help to the victims in an attempt to offer them shelter and food.
How can you help?
Follow the hashtags #ashrafieh4all and #SassineAid to see how you can help by providing food, shelter or clothes. If you are a blood donor, follow DSCLebanon to see what blood types are needed and where.
There’s also a Fundraising concert planned on Thursday 25/10 at USJ Mathaf to raise money for the families victims of the bombing. Entrance fee is 10$ (or more if you like) and all the money will go to the families.
Georgette Sarkissian was one of three victims identified after Achrafieh’s bombing on Friday. She worked as an office helper at BEMO bank, was married and had two children. She was on her way back home to prepare food to her children when the explosion happened.
It is worthy noting that none of the officials or politicians present in Lebanon attended Georgette’s funeral. Added to that, I only saw a mention of her funeral on LBCI news yesterday.
Note: I changed the text in the poster that was being circulated online as I didn’t like the term “used to serve coffee at a bank”.
Georgette Sarkissian, 42 years old, mother of three
As I posted earlier yesterday, I am trying to compile a list of the people who got killed by the Achrafieh blast yesterday. However none of the media sources I’ve checked has an updated number or names and until now, there are 3 confirmed dead which are, Wissam Al Hassan, Ahmad Sahyouni and Georgette Sarkissian. Unfortunately though, there seems to be 5 other missing people which were not identified up until this hour.
May they all rest in peace and God be with their families.
Slain General Wissam Al Hassan
Picture of Ahmad Sahyouni. Thank you Elie
PS: I couldn’t find any picture of Ahmad Sahyouni. If anyone does have one, please do share.