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Saturday, March 25, 2017
Jesuit reports from Lebanon
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¬†Fr Fadel Sidarouss SJ - Provincial of Near East, sends this special report Military confrontations seem to have become peaceful since August 14, vigil of the feast of the Assumption. In addition, nearly a million displaced persons returned that day and in the days that followed to their cities, villages and buildings to take up lodging somewhere, however uncertain, according to very precise instructions issued for normalizing the post-war situation. Reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure has been no less immediate; everyone is busy doing it: individuals, sponsors, parties, the government, with promises of help from Arab and foreign countries. Food commodities are progressively reappearing in markets. The process of re-entry into schools and universities is already under way; it doesn't seem to have been compromised, despite a slight delay. A real epic! The vitality and fighting spirit of the Lebanese are at work! Currently the real stakes are of a political, diplomatic, and denominational nature. There is neither winner nor loser; and yet all groups call themselves winners: the morale of troops, of soldiers, of those who resist and of civilians has to be maintained! Enforcing Decree 1701 of the Security Council, with each party sticking to its own interpretation of the decree, constitutes the spearhead of public debates, particularly the one about disarmament in the country. This is to the advantage of the Lebanese army, which has begun deployment in the south (something that should have taken place in 1978), but it is not a settled move, even if it provoked war and constituted a condition for stopping conflicts. Since the situation is highly denominational, a certain 'national unity' acquired during the war is in danger of being compromised, especially by the interference of foreign powers. In short, a calm wariness, a stirring to return to a normal life and to a political activity brimming with health. We have not been directly targeted or damaged, but have been very busy helping victims of war. Hundreds of urgent requests for help are flooding our Social Centre of Beyrouth (CJC) from people at very extreme levels of poverty who have lost everything. I. Our charitable institutions: 1. Medications and treatments: to date, 60 cases - USD 18,000. 2. Scholarships: to date, 20 cases - USD 14,000. 3. Social coverage for unemployed people who have children in their care. To date: USD 25,000. 4. The Social Action Committee (CAS) of the secondary schools of Notre Dame of Jamhour and of St. Gregory will run a special campaign all year long. The total expected from this effort is in the area of USD 50,000. II. Our educational institutions (two schools, three secondary schools, one Institute of Higher Education and one University): These will certainly experience financial difficulties in maintaining their educational projects during the year, with the number of pupils and students certainly bound to decrease. But above all they will have to ensure scholarships for pupils whose parents will not be able to pay the costs of schooling. On its side, the USJ plans to set up a fund of a million US dollars for university scholarships. Thus, supporting pupils in schools and students in the universities will help families stay in the country and not consider emigrating. 5. In the 4 establishments of Beqaa, an area heavily damaged by the war, the total figure needed to ensure salaries just for September is about USD 125,000. 6. The secondary schools of Notre Dame de Jamhour and of St Gregory, which ordinarily take care of school grants, anticipate this year a rise of some USD 200,000. III. Our social institutions 7. At Tanail, in Beqaa, the dairy could not sell its products, nor could the farm take care of the harvest and its sale (despite this being the season); the consequences are likely to be prolonged. It will be necessary, in spite of everything, to ensure payment of salaries for the months of July, August and September for about 25 permanent employees and between 40 and 80 day workers who require a higher salary: $75,000 US (according to preliminary estimates, the agricultural loss for the whole country would be about 10 million dollars US). IV. Our spiritual institutions 8. The centres of spirituality at Tanail and at Bikfaya were not open this summer, and the fervent faith of the people found expression in their houses and in their parish churches. The deficit is respectively USD 7,000 and 2,000. The cries of the poor and of war victims touch us all to the heart. Those who wish to send a contribution, can do so through the following account: Beneficiary: GISA - Economato Generale Societatis Iesu Bank details: ISTITUTO PER LE OPERE DI RELIGIONE (IOR), 00120 Cittŗ del Vaticano SWIFT: IOPRVAVX Account in EUR: 27212-001, Account in USD: 27212-007 Reference: Help for PRO 222701-11. Please send a note to SJS ( ), informing of the amount and date of the transfer. You may, if you wish, specify a given destination.
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