Press review

Beirut - A Norman priest talks about the destroyed district "A place full of life".

EN - Saturday, 08 August 2020

Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, was ravaged by two explosions on Tuesday August 4. Father Nicolas Courtois, priest in the Diocese of Coutances et Manchois, lived in Lebanon at the beginning of 2020. He confides.

When did you go to Lebanon?

"I went there at the beginning of January and I returned in mid-March. I left as an ordinary volunteer with the association SOS Chrétiens d'Orient. Beacause I am a priest, I served as chaplain there."
How do you feel after the explosions?

"I feel enormous sadness for Lebanon and for Beirut. Especially since the neighborhood that was affected was the one where I lived with the other volunteers. These are the Christian neighborhoods, already very marked by poverty. They are now affected in an even more dramatic way. It is a great sadness for all the families that I have met there. "

How are your friends there?

"I have not had direct friends who have suffered deaths in their families. They are safe and sound. There is a lot of material damage in their homes. A family where a little baby was born in the maternity hospital for the explosion is also safe and sound. In the end, I was given some good news. "

Did you know the disaster area?

"I could see the port from the apartment. We travel around the neighborhood very regularly because there are a lot of families we help in the area."

Can you describe it to us before the explosion?

"It was a neighborhood made up of small streets, old houses. There are many Armenian, Catholic and Orthodox families (...)"

What is the future of Lebanon?

"I am devastated because it is a country which was completely on the ground. I do not know how they are going to recover. But we must keep hope: I have just read a testimony from a nun who runs a hospital rebuilt for the fifth time since the war. The wing which has just been inaugurated has been devastated. Yet she says that the most important is solidarity and attention to others: it is stronger than anything. 'they have in them a capacity to start again and to get up again, even if I am still worried. "


Read more (in French) on La Manche

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