KINDNESS OF THE LEBANESE Ajata and Virginia were walking from the Cana cave of Jesus when a car pulled up and asked them where they were going. Ajata told the driver Ali, that they were going back to the “Memorial.” Ali, said get in, I’ll take you there and he did. He also gave Ajata and Virginia a tour and explained what had happened. After that, he gave the Founders a ride to another historic site and then back to the van that would return them to Beirut.
Ali, is an unpretentious business man and one of the people in Cana who spends part of his year doing business in Africa. Note: Regarding Africans in Lebanon Some years in Lebanon, a visitor will find a lot of people from South Indian, usually Tamil Nadu India, Ajata’s home state. Other years, there are a lot of Filipinos. This year there were many women from Ethiopia, and from Africa. (One lovely Ethiopia young woman who traveled with Ajata and Virginia, was doing housekeeping in Beirut to put her sister through college. This unselfishness is very typical of Ethiopian extended families.
Another day Ajata and Virginia got off a bus in a small Druze village in the mountains looking for the Shrine of El Maqam El Sharif. They had no idea where to go. They saw some young men talking in front of a shop and asked directions. One of the young men, said come with me. He had the Embrace Founders get into his car, not only did he take them to El Maqam El Sharif, he stopped along the way to take them to the Druze Shrine of Sarah. He waited for them at both shrines and then brought them back to the bus stop. Lebanon certainly does not need the Embrace Founders to promote it. It is packed with tourists for many months of the year. Suffice it to say, that it has a wealth of spirituality for those who chose to seek it among; mountain monasteries, Druze shrines, Shrines of Catholic saints, (such as the much beloved St. Charbel) and a wealth of Islamic shrines in the Bekkah Valley (Beqaa), the orthodox churches, (St George's being the oldest church in Beirut), as usual, have a voluptuous grandeur.
Traveling in Lebanon 2018
Embrace Foundation is a non-profit, educational foundation set up to create better understanding between people of different religions, cultures, traditions and world philosophies.
Embrace Foundation works to bring leaders and scholars of world-wide religions, cultures and philosophies together by sponsoring forums, seminars, lectures and developing an international exchange program. Embrace Foundation is particularly concerned with reaching the world public through the media.
Embrace Foundation is an all volunteer organization. All donations go directly to programs.
Embrace Foundation does not and has never given permission to any outside organization to solicit or receive contributions on our behalf.
All donations should be made to Embrace Foundation only via Paypal or by mail. All donations are tax deductible. A receipt will be emailed to you. Please click on the Pay Pal link below to Donate.
Travel As An Interfaith Act
Embrace encourages all who can do so, to learn about other traditions and cultures by traveling as “Grassroots Diplomats.” We hope that people every where become life long students of our world-wide humanity.
“ In every man there is something wherein I may learn of him, and in that I am his pupil.” R.W.Emerson
TRAVELING IN LEBANON This is the third trip for the Embrace Founders to Lebanon in recent years. Each time they have focused on different aspects of the country - see Lebanon 2012 inCELEBRATE HUMANITYand Current 2012 in theEmbracefoundationarchives.org/current_2012.html The Embrace Founders have tremendous respect for all the Lebanese grassroots people and a great deal of admiration for them. Obviously, Ajata and Virginia are not the only people who admire the Lebanese as they have more tourists from Europe and the Middle East than they know what to do with. However, during these difficult times throughout the world, the Founders feel it is necessary not to gloss over certain situations which people in the United States, the Holy Land and Europe, whose governments have been responsible for much suffering should not be oblivious to. This in no way reflects on Lebanese civilians or the enjoyment visitors get while visiting many of their holy places.
Prologue on Lebanon Ajata and Virginia went to Lebanon in 2010, as well as in 2012 and 2018, but in 2010 things were quite tense since the Mossad had assassinated the Hamas leader in the Gulf while the Embrace founders were in Beirut. On that trip the Ajata and Virginia did not take many photos and although they met a Christian scholar who was researching and writing a history of Christianity in Lebanon they did not have time to avail themselves of his knowledge.
At that time, no one knew if another war was in the offing. The Embrace Founders cut their trip short in Lebanon and were speedily taken to their destination in Syria. As has often been the case in recent years, it was not a good time for Americans to be in many parts of the world due to America’s military offensives, support of the Holy Land politicos and CIA interference. This time Lebanon potentially was one of them. Oddly enough, the situation was calm in Syria despite the fact that the U.S. institutional media had ramped-up its’ propaganda campaign against the Syrians generally labeling all grassroots Syrian people regardless of whether they were Christian, Shi’ah, Sunni or Kurds (Kurds have about 11 religious/ philosophical affiliations) as terrorists
By this time the entire world knows that the only terrorists for decades have been those Sunnis trained, funded, armed and organized by the CIA, Mossad and Saudi government -(read members of the Royal Family and Uluma) - not Saudi grassroots people.
Even Hamas and Hezbollah, who the Holy Land government and their minions in the United States label as “terrorists” were initially organized, trained, armed and funded by the Mossad who wanted to use them to destroy the PLO.
Embrace has never heard of a rebel group, or just as often, a dictator, that has been funded, armed, organized and trained by intelligence agencies that has not ended up turning against these incredibly short-sighted bureaucratic schemers or the countries and the innocent grassroots people they claim untruthfully to represent.
It is important to note once again, Embrace does not support or endorse any government or anyone in politics whatsoever. We strongly support Jewish civilians uninvolved with foreign government lobbying or politics. The Embrace Founders themselves, have had close relationships, friendships and guidance from Jewish scholars, rebbes and rabbis but we do not under any circumstance endorse the government in the Holy Land or it’s constant violation of international laws or human rights. The same can be said for our perspective on the United States. Lebanon 2018 The hotel that Ajata and Virginia stayed at in Beirut was filled with Syrian families. This came as a total surprise and was not anticipated at all.
How information flows through some of the countries in the Middle East is almost beyond belief. Although Virginia could be mistaken as a Canadian, New Zealander or an Irish citizen everyone at the hotel knew she had an American passport.
The breakfast room was tense. (The same tension as the bus ride with Turkish people sympathetic to Syrian refugees and Syrian refugees themselves in Eastern Turkey, where Virginia made friends with a Sunni Syrian woman who had lost 25 people close to her) Until, like on the Turkish bus, Virginia made a point of apologizing for the bombing that America’s media, defense contractors and military had instigated and initiated.
After that, everything relaxed.
In a room down the hall in Ajata and Virginia’s hotel, a young Syrian woman cried and cried. “I want to go home. I don’t want to be here.” THE WAITER AT A RESTAURANT A restaurant set up for university students a few doors down from their Beirut hotel, was where Ajata and Virginia after traveling all over in the heat usually relaxed and took refuge in the evenings.
Their regular waiter was a Christian from Aleppo Syria with a university degree. He was also half Armenian. He thought however, that the Armenian government had turned down his Father’s application for immigration to get out of the war, because his Mother was Catholic, not an Orthodox Christian. Does discrimination and prejudice never end?
Ajata and Virginia asked him, why not stay in Lebanon? He said that because the Syrian army had over-stayed its’ short welcome in Lebanon that lasted from 1976 - 2005, Lebanese were often unfriendly towards Syrian refugees and their plight. He said, of course this was not true of all of Lebanese, for instance the people who owned the restaurant, but although he was only a civilian and had nothing to do with the army, he often felt uncomfortable in Lebanon. Actually, a primary reason he left Syria, was that he didn’t want to be inducted into the military. He didn't want to kill anyone. Perhaps the sort of Lebanese prejudice against Syrian civilians was why the young woman down the hall was crying and wanted to go home.
The waiter showed Ajata and Virginia photos of Aleppo where he and his friends used to hang out and then he showed them photos of the area after it was bombed. He was angry but more than that he was frustrated and said he felt hopeless. (The Founders had heard the same thing from a restaurant owner and waiters in Antalya Turkey regarding the situation in Turkey, mainly economic. They were Muslims.) Before Ajata and Virginia were about to leave, their waiter wanted a group of his Syrian friends to come and meet them, but they probably didn’t believe that there was such a thing as a good American. They did not come. CANA (QANA) Cana according to the Bible - New Testament, has the cave where Jesus turned water into wine for a wedding party. (There is a second Jesus miracle that many Muslims believe. In this interpretation wine is substituted for water which thirsty followers desperately need, as many Muslims do not drink alcohol but revere Jesus.) It would be nice if the only story Ajata and Virginia had to tell about Cana was the story from the Bible, but the Embrace Founders promised they would tell the story of the Cana atrocity.
On April 18th, 1996 the Holy Land Military intentionally targeted civilians both Lebanese and United Nations workers (the Founders were told the U.N. workers were from the Philippines and Africa) in a United Nations compound and shelter. They also bombed a garden and connected area behind the United Nations compound killing additional people.
A memorial was dedicated to the innocents who died there. A photo is above. Amnesty International concluded, "the IDF intentionally attacked the UN compound...”
Human Rights Watch: "The decision of those who planned the attack to choose a mix of high - explosive artillery shells that included deadly anti-personnel shells designed to maximize injuries on the ground-and the sustained firing of such shells, without warning, in close proximity to a large concentration of civilians - violated a key principle of international humanitarian law. . .
The UN appointed military advisor Major-General Franklin van Kappen of the Netherlands: “Contrary to repeated denials, two Israeli helicopters and a remotely piloted vehicle were present in the Qana area at the time of the shelling. While the possibility cannot be ruled out completely, it is unlikely that the shelling of the United Nations compound was the result of gross technical and/or procedural errors “
There is considerably more negative testimony, but readers can investigate it for themselves.
On 30th July 2006, the Holy Land Military again targeted Cana hitting a civilian apartment building. Human Rights Watch confirmed that 28 died, of whom 16 were children. The dead were wearing clothes for sleeping.
Cana is hardly the only time the Holy Land military has intentionally targeted the United Nations, in recent years:
1.) January 15th 2009 Israel ignored repeated warnings from UN staff before hitting the main UN compound in Gaza with white phosphorus shells on
2.) August 3rd 2014. The Holy Land Military intentionally bombed a United Nations school in Gaza.
Embrace Foundation Retreat Center Embrace.Foundation (skype messaging) - 011+1+212.675.4500 (New York)