Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Friday, February 12, 2016
CYO Football 2015 2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

SJB Ravioli Dinner 2016

Home : News : Nation and World
Displaced Christians in Lebanon experience a life in waiting
Catholic News Service photo
Syrian refugees cook outside a tent at the Majdal Anjar refugee camp in Bekaa Valley near the Syrian border in eastern Lebanon. Lebanon, with its population of about 3.5 million people, has received more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees, the largest amount of any country in the region.
Catholic News Service photo
Syrian refugees cook outside a tent at the Majdal Anjar refugee camp in Bekaa Valley near the Syrian border in eastern Lebanon. Lebanon, with its population of about 3.5 million people, has received more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees, the largest amount of any country in the region.
Catholic News Service


BEIRUT — The misery experienced by Mariam and husband, Ephrem, and their three young children is just one example of hundreds of thousands of Christians in the Middle East, displaced by wars in which they are not participating.

The family's place of transition is a single room in a run-down building in Beirut. It is a building full of people like them who have fled the war in Syria, all attempting to eke out an existence.

A glimmer of hope momentarily appears in the eyes of Mariam's neighbors congregating on the stairwells when a stranger accompanies Ephrem to the family's room on the third floor. That's likely a reflection of their dream that someday, someone can arrange to rescue them from their misery.

The refugees requested that only their first names be used to protect their identities.

At first, just Ephrem, Mariam and their children lived in the room. But as the situation in Syria worsened, more of Ephrem's family fled to neighboring Lebanon. Now, seven adults and five children are crammed into the small space.

Holding year-old Youssef, Mariam greets a visitor as she and her husband roll up foam mattresses still on the floor.

Youssef's siblings, Takla, 4, and Nada, 2, are sound asleep on the two single beds pushed together in the sparsely furnished room. Suitcases are piled atop the stand-alone closet beside a small couch. There are no toys.

Before coming to Lebanon, the couple and their children had lived in Darya, a suburb of the Syrian capital of Damascus. Ephrem's job as a teacher at an electronics institute had been enough to support the family and for Mariam to stay at home with the children.

Not long after the initial uprising against the Assad regime, their neighborhood had seen intense fighting, caught between posts for the Syrian army and the rebel group, the Free Syrian Army.

"Before, we were living in a good way with Muslims. But when the Al-Nusra Front, came in -- we could recognize them by their long beards and long shirts -- many of the Muslims turned fanatic," Ephrem explained, referring to the al-Qaeda linked jihadist group.

When leaving the house became too risky, Ephrem quit his job. Before long, the couple saw no other alternative but to flee Syria.

It was a predicament all too familiar for Mariam, who was about to become a refugee for the second time. "I never imagined that I would experience Iraq all over again. I felt the same fear," she said.

In 2007, Mariam, her parents and siblings fled to Damascus from their native Baghdad to escape the same kinds of danger. Amid the family's misery as refugees, Mariam, then 22, soon met and fell in love with Ephram, a Syrian Christian, and they married.

By 2010, the rest of Mariam's family had been resettled in Canada and Holland by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Even though by that time she had her own family and was happy that her parents and siblings could begin a new life, "I felt that I was left alone," Mariam recounted.

The exodus of Christians from Iraq has reduced their numbers from 1 million to less than 400,000, according to the office of the Chaldean Catholic patriarchate.

Amid Syria's deteriorating situation, the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq has received more than 100,000 refugees, some 46,000 who arrived during a two-week period in September, Caritas Iraq reported.

According to the UNHCR, the overall number of Syrian refugees passed the 2 million mark in early September.

Tiny Lebanon, with its population of about 3.5 million people, has received more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees, the most of any country in the region. Before the Syrian crisis began there were already more than 50,000 Iraqi refugees living in Lebanon.

When Mariam and Ephrem went to register their family with the UNHCR after arriving in Lebanon in December, they learned they did not qualify because the organization already had a file on Mariam as an Iraqi refugee. Consequently, the family is eligible for a single monthly voucher of approximately $25, instead of the nearly $125 they could have received as a registered family. They said they hope to be resettled under Mariam's case.

Ephrem's mother and single brother were the latest family members to arrive in Lebanon in July. A month earlier, Ephrem's 30-year old niece was killed in a bombing in Damascus. "She went out only to buy bread," Ephrem's 78-year-old mother said. "Her body was unrecognizable. They only knew her by her shoes."

"A lot of Christian people are being killed in this war," Ephrem added. "Why is the world closing their eyes to this?"

Meanwhile, no one in Ephrem's extended family has found work in Lebanon, and the meager funds they came with are running dry.

"My children are not getting enough nutrition, not even enough milk. We're not able to give them what they need," Mariam explained. "With all these pressures, it's hard for us to show love to one another."

Maintaining hygiene is a major problem. Aside from the 12 people in their room, a single bathroom on the floor also is shared by six of their neighbors.

In their building water only flows for a maximum of five hours a day, a casualty of Lebanon's 15-year civil war that ended in 1990. Residents who can afford it typically rely on private water companies for deliveries.

The family is grateful to the Syriac Catholic patriarchate for paying the refugees' rent. Syriac Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan previously told CNS that refugees from Syria regularly come looking for help and that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find housing for them.

Meanwhile, refugees continue to pour into Lebanon at a rate of about 10,000 to 12,000 a week, said Father Simon Faddoul, president of Caritas Lebanon. So far, the organization has been able to help about 125,000 refugees since the Syria's civil war erupted in March 2011.

"But the needs keep growing, day by day," Father Faddoul told Catholic News Service.

"Now we have 1.5 million Syrian refugees," he said. "What will we do if they become 2 million? How will we provide for them?"



Advanced Search










Mary Jo Tully ~ The Path to Resurrection

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2016 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved