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The zone where we are has been respected until now by Israel

17/07/2006: Lebanon

Dear parents, Marist Brothers and friends, I am writing to you to give you some news of this country as well as news of our brothers and teachers of our college as several among you have written to us to be informed of our situation.
Firstly, I want to say that we are well and calm in a house in the mountains, where we are not in any danger. Today I went to the college at Champville from where I am writing to you to reassure you despite a worrying situation.

In order to understand the situation you must take into account that Lebanon is a country governed in a particular way. During recent years, the party of Hezbollah (Muslim) created to combat Israel, had the authorisation to be armed: a particular army in one nation. This party declared war on Israel without the approval or opposition of the central government, and hence the bombardments that you have seen on television. The situation is serious because all the roads have been cut and it is difficult to leave or enter the country, but Israel makes the difference between the Hezbollah and the others and it attacks the places where the Muslims are numerous. We are in the centre of the country, the zone inhabited by the Christians and up till the present moment the zone has been respected by Israel. Nevertheless, the roads and the airports are inaccessible to prevent the Muslims being in contact with Syria, a country that protects them.

The brothers who came to the session and those who were thinking of going on holidays or to the Provincial Chapter are finding it difficult to leave Lebanon and must wait for the situation to be more secure. For the moment, the airports are closed and in front of our house we can see many boats on the sea that are encircled by Israel to prevent them from reaching the port.

I am describing the situation as a foreigner and I have left out many details. I would like, however, to make sure that you realise that even though the situation is serious we are not in any danger at the moment because our colleges are situated in the Christian zone. I say “at the moment” for the situation changes and becomes more complicated each day.

I left the session that we are having in the mountains to come to write this letter and to reassure you. Please communicate this news to all those who would be interested.
I am continuing to sleep well, even though I am profoundly touched by the suffering of those around me. You have to see the strength of spirit of these people who have already experienced a long civil war.

Please pray for peace in this agitated region!

José María Romero

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