Religious brother details tension in Lebanon

.- In e-mails sent to his family members and community, Marist Brother Jose Maria Romero has detailed the growing tension Christians are experiencing in Lebanon amidst the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.

Brother Jose Maria was able to make it to the Champville School, operated by the Marist Brothers in Beirut, in order to send a message to his family members and community, who then passed the message on to CNA.

“First let me tell you we are safe and calm and are staying in a house we have in mountains, where we are out of danger.  Today I came down to the Champville School, where I am writing you this message to ease your concern, despite the fact that the situation here continues to be worrisome,” he said.

“In order understand what is happening,” Brother Jose Maria explained, “you need to keep in mind that Lebanon is a country governed in a unique way.  In recent years, the Hezbollah party, which was created to fight against Israel, had permission to arm itself: a distinct army within a nation.  This party has declared war on Israel on its own, without the consent (or the opposition) of the central government.  As a consequence, we have these bombings which you are seeing on television.”

“The situation is serious, as the highways have been cut off and you cannot enter or leave the country.  But Israel is distinguishing between Hezbollah and everyone else, attacking only the areas where they are large numbers of Muslims.  We are in the center of the country, where many Christians live and so far Israel has not attacked here.  But the highways and airports have been cut off so that Muslims cannot have contact with Syria, which is protecting them,” he went on.

“There are many other details I can’t tell you about now, but I think this will help you understand that the situation is grave. But, neither we nor our schools, which are located in the Christian region, are in any danger right now.  I say right now, because with each passing the day things change and become more complicated,” he warned.

“Please send this message to all who might be interested,” Brother Jose Maria said in closing.

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