I have commented on blogs and talked in email here and there about our worry of the last twenty-four hours about Arab-American cousins trying to get out of our South Lebanon village to the American embassy in Beirut. We have heard news that has us somewhat relieved. Some other family is mourning their dead on the coast road today.
My aunt, my cousin, his wife and three children all arrived safely in Beirut, having driven in a sedan over the mountains via the Sidon/Damascus road. They are holed up in a reasonably safe area with access to the embassy. They feel they can hold out there for "six months" and we shouldn't worry.
There was an hour there today when I was seeing reports of a minivan with twelve destroyed on a coastal bridge (Rmeile) and I hadn't heard yet that my cousins were in a car, 6 in number, and on the mountain road. I was weeping and I called around to cousins who began to weep, too. Some hadn't known about the minivan plan. So for an hour I was struggling to keep it together, trying to find out information about the twelve people dead on the coastal road in Rmeile. I still don't know who they are, but I know that some other family is devastated tonight.
My young teenaged cousins, offspring of a first cousin, who are American-born, are still in the village. Their father is abroad and I believe it was his decision that they not attempt the mountain crossing that my aunt achieved just now. If I were him I would have said the same. People are being killed on the roads by Israeli gunships.
However the shelling is very close to our village now so people are trying to figure out what to do.
My delightful correspondents finding their way here from truth-laid-bear, please note that all these cousins are Catholics, Republicans, and not Hizbullah supporters by any means. Thank you for your compassion, and all your help promoting democracy and the reconstruction of a free Lebanon.