From civil war to Beirut blast: Lebanese mothers' unyielding resilience amidst years of turmoil

Lebanon News
2024-03-21 | 02:16
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From civil war to Beirut blast: Lebanese mothers' unyielding resilience amidst years of turmoil
From civil war to Beirut blast: Lebanese mothers' unyielding resilience amidst years of turmoil

By Karine Keuchkerian

For generations, Lebanese mothers have long been pillars of society, balancing multifaceted roles across a 24-hour cycle. 

From managing household responsibilities to engaging in diverse professional fields, they tirelessly strive to secure their children's livelihoods. 

Even with the data showing that females represent around 51.5 percent of Lebanon's population, Lebanese women, mainly mothers, have long faced discrimination, struggling to have a fair system protecting their rights, especially considering the many issues spanning personal status laws, single motherhood, and maternal custody.  

Yet, with all the difficulties, Lebanese mothers stood their ground and continued striving, whether being homemakers or women in the working field.    

Lebanese Mothers Through War
The country's mothers have long struggled as Lebanon passed through various dramatic political and economic circumstances, starting from the 15-year civil war. 

At that time, parents, especially mothers, raised their children against the backdrop of the Lebanese civil war (1975-1990). 

In Lebanon, many tried their best to shelter their vulnerable children from the repercussions of the war, trying to keep them safe amidst heavy clashes in different parts of the country. 

Living in "survival mode," some mothers lost their children in the deadly clashes, while some have been tirelessly protesting for years, demanding an answer regarding the thousands who "disappeared." 

Based on Human Rights Watch, an estimated 17,000 Lebanese were kidnapped or "disappeared" during the civil war, as many are believed to have been transferred to detention in Syria.

However, some of the mothers died with no honest answer and with no knowledge of their children's fate.

"We used to go down to the shelters when we heard the sound of shelling. People used to cry," Samira A., a mother who lived through the civil war, told LBCI English. 

"As mothers, we used to fear for our children and worry about our husbands, who used to fight," she added. 

She expressed that it was a strange feeling, always being scared to hear about someone dying.

She said: "We used to help each other in the shelter to find food. There was no water, food, or electricity."

"We used to pray all day," she stated, adding: "It was war. Mothers were scared for their children and their families [...]; however, we lost many members of our families. We were poor; there were no job opportunities."

Remembering the first days of the war, Rita F., who was eight years old at the time, told LBCI English that her mother used to entertain her and her siblings when they went to the shelters, trying to distract them from being scared.

Lebanese mothers' hardship amidst the ongoing crises did not end there. 

Echoes of Tragedy: Beirut Port Explosion
Decades after the civil war, one of the most catastrophic events shaped Lebanon's recent history: The August 4, 2020, Beirut Port explosion, which killed more than 200 people, injured thousands, and left more than 300,000 people homeless.  

On that day, at around 6:08 pm, the lives of many changed forever.   

Mothers particularly paid the high cost of years of corruption, losing their innocent children in the blink of an eye.

Almost four years after the explosion, families, particularly mothers, have been staging almost-monthly protests, trying to find an answer, trying to bring justice for their killed children while going through "indescribable" pain.

Lebanese mothers have long demonstrated strength and resilience in the face of conflicts, from navigating through decades of political turmoil to enduring the devastating aftermath of the Beirut Port explosion. 

Despite enduring hardship, they continue to advocate for justice and strive to provide a better future for their children. 

This is why, on Mother's Day, we should always remember the ones who sacrificed their "everything" for the happiness of their families!

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Beirut Port Explosion

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