Let’s Pray for Beirut the Same Way We’re Praying for Paris.

Via Elyane Youssef
on Nov 14, 2015
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Relephant read: This will silence those saying “kill every muslim.” His daughter died, too.

I am from Lebanon.

As a writer, my introductions are normally hard. I need a line that can introduce my body of words in a catchy, yet narrowed way. But for the first time ever, my introduction isn’t as arduous as I thought.

“I am from Lebanon.”

Lebanon is that tiny country that stands between Syria and Israel. We’re only 10,452 kilometers square, hence, hard to spot on a map.

To start off, we sincerely express our solidarity with Paris after yesterday’s terror attacks.

Everybody knows what happened in Paris and the death toll from the series of orchestrated attacks.

On the contrast, allow me to tell you what half of the world “doesn’t” know, or perhaps chooses to ignore.

Two suicide bombings took place yesterday in Southern Beirut. Forty individuals were killed and 200 were injured. Shops were damaged, families were killed.

We were left speechless. I watched the news of yesterday’s attacks in Beirut as if I was seeing a news program that keeps running on repeat. The insecurity we have constantly felt in Beirut has now returned stronger than ever. We thought that the series of bombings that were occurring in our country for the past six years finally came to an end. But they haven’t stopped.

Putting Paris’ attack and Beirut’s together leaves me with one startling question: How is the world reacting to each?

Opening Facebook shortly after yesterday’s events in Paris to see a safety check option for those residing in Paris left me tongue-tied.

Facebook also gave me the option of supporting France by changing my profile picture to its flag. Presidents from countries around the world went insane with tweets and posts about the attack in France.

But where do other nations that have been suffering for ages stand? Why are they forgotten? Why are people in the Middle East not having the chance to mark themselves safe when an attack or a bombing occurs? Why isn’t there an option of changing your profile picture to your country’s flag during an attack?

The world might claim that we’re used to it. Others believe that the Middle East is where “terror” lives. But we still go to our jobs—most of which are in the heart of Beirut, Lebanon’s capital. We still party hard, go out for dinners and hit pubs in Beirut. Although we are living in the midst of what people call “terror,” we’re living it courageously and pretty well.

Media coverage leads people to believe that the Middle East, especially Lebanon, is in a constant hazardous state. That’s why when an attack takes place, it’s “pretty normal.” The media describes the normal state of other countries as peaceful and violence free.

I want to remind you that all countries in the world are facing daily attacks and unfair deaths but we just don’t always know it. We don’t know about them because they don’t show them to us. Thus, when a big attack takes place, it therefore leaves people in shock and leaves us asking: How come such a peaceful country face this tragedy?

The truth is, there is peace in the Middle East as much as there is in Europe. But the media paints it differently.

It is about time to stop this duality that the media has created.

Mass media has shed the light on certain countries thoroughly demolishing others. It is not an attack against Paris. It is not an attack against Beirut. It is an attack against humanity. This is how we should see it. Everyday, somewhere on this vast earth, thousands are unfairly being killed. And still, we divide attacks as if peoples’ lives in Europe are more pronounced than peoples’ lives in the Middle East.

World leaders should understand that the innocent people who lost their souls in Paris are the same ones who are losing their souls every single day in any another country facing terror and violence. But no one is mourning them. No one is supporting them. This one single night attack in Paris has been a constant norm in Lebanon for the past 30 years. Who supported us? No one.

When will we understand that all lives on this earth count? Every country that faces a tragedy must have a “I am Safe” option on Facebook. Every soul that is being unfairly killed should earn a hashtag. People, politicians and especially the media shouldn’t be indifferent to any unfair death. We should mourn every human dying in an attack, no exception, no excuses.

Let’s pray for Beirut as much as we’re praying for Paris.

Let’s pray for the whole wide world, in fact. Let’s see each each other as equal human beings; not as different countries.

Let’s stop dualities. Let’s be one in our view on death.





Author: Elyane Youssef

Editor: Caitlin Oriel

Image: Robbie Dale/Flickr



About Elyane Youssef

Elyane S. Youssef is an extraterrestrial who was given birth by Earthlings. While living on planet Earth, she fell in love with art, books, nature, writing, photography, traveling, and...pizza. Elyane finds her joy in backpacking and bonding with locals. To see the faces she interacts with on her travels, you can follow Face of the World on Instagram. Besides getting on and off planes, she is in a serious relationship with words and hopes to inspire as many people as possible through them. Once her mission is accomplished on Earth, she will return to her planet to rejoin her extraterrestrial brothers and sisters. In case you're wondering, yes, she is still willingly obsessed with Frida Kahlo. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.


72 Responses to “Let’s Pray for Beirut the Same Way We’re Praying for Paris.”

  1. Marine says:


    Praying won’t solve anything. Thinking, talking, sharing will.

  2. speachless says:

    As long everyone is praying none gets hurt – first step – if we stand together and overcome our differences we do something about it. No religion is superior …. God is. Our blood is red our tears are salty …

  3. Iza says:

    Well, I do understand why the peaceful majority of Muslims don’t voice their concern and make themselves heard. One thing is, while the “silent majority” is a well-known notion, I haven’t lived long enough yet to hear about an “outspoken majority” anywhere in the world – it’s the minorities, especially aggressive ones, who are normally outspoken. And another thing is, they remain loyal to other Muslims, at least against the outside world, even if inside the different ways of Islam are antagonistic. Wash your dirty laundry at home, and so on… At least, that’s the general perception of their attitude. Which may no longer hold water, as I’ve just read in the news that the French authorities believe that the Syrian passport found at the site in Paris was fake – dropped there to be found and create an easy-to-predict reaction. If that’s what one Muslim does to another these days, if my interpretation of the intent beyond this fact is correct, it seems high time for the peaceful Muslim majority to find their voices (and willingness to act) – before it’s too late. Not too late for the Christians / Europeans, but for themselves…

    Anyway, Elyane – a great text, a great food for thought fully deserving to be shared. Which I intend to do in a moment.

  4. abby says:

    Solution there is simple to solve….stop the oppression and terrorizing of the Palestinians, and you have nothing to worry about.

  5. Sharon says:

    Elayne, my prayers are for all people who are victims of violence. It's hard for me personally to understand the motivation and how they can get their followers into becoming suicide bombers. You question why Paris is being focused on. I'm asking how this could happen to a country with probably the most sophisticated security in the
    world. This is the issue, not Paris per se. It isn't that other countries aren't important, it's how did they surpass all the security? If they can get past it there, how can anyone or place feel safe. Prayers are not security, They are comfort and hope but against these extremists I don't think prayer will be effective in stopping the violence. I want a peaceful world. How do we get there

  6. paul says:

    As in Sunni,Sh,ite,Wahabi etc ?

  7. hayzel faye orgen says:

    I am a Filipino and we experience this terror every single day in our community yet we have to live but not live with it. I am pro-life and I pray for every human being and nation to stop this violence. I share your thoughts and my deepest sympathy and prayers with you. Pray for the world and humanity.

  8. Richard says:

    Very well said. I was myself, horrified to learn on Saturday (two days after) about the attacks in Beirut, I was shocked to realise I had seen no news stories. I wondered if I had missed them and asked my friends. Nobody knew. Not in the UK, not in Hong Kong or in Singapore or Australia. We just did not know. I then had to sit and ask the hard question… why was the world showing support for France, but not Beirut? I came to the ugly conclusion that there had been selective coverage or prioritization of stories, at best. It made me very uncomfortable as I could not understand why. Is a life in Paris worth more than elsewhere? Surely not. Or should I say, I hope not. So I looked further, and the story was there, but not on the banners on web sites (where so many of us get our fast fix of world news from)… it was there, but you had to look for it. So I then asked more people. Like me, they just did not know. I had to conclude, there was no support because people did not know. Then I watched FB bloom in red white and blue. And I just could not do it. I had read postings asking, why are we forgotten? Postings from so many places where lives are lost, loved ones taken away from families – and I made a decision, I would not go red, white and blue, but posted a picture that says I am with all innocents in the world… and shared my reasons for doing so on FB. Of course I stand with France, but I stand with so many more – including everyone in Beirut. You do have support, you do have people with you, even if it may not feel like it. A voice such as yours will change this I hope

  9. Elissar says:

    I totally agree but I have to say I as a Lebanese would rather the sympathies and solidarity of my people first. I did not see the candles being lit, flowers laid or prayers offered on the eve of the Beirut attacks, neither the next day, I did not see sympathies pouring in on Facebook for Beirut from Lebanese people as much as I saw sympathies given to the Parisians. When the Paris terror attacks happened, those same Lebanese people that ignored the Beirut “Dahiya” expressed their horror and stood up for the French people, some even changed their profile pic and added the French flag. I am horrified by the Paris attacks, I love Paris, one of my favorite cities, I expressed my horror and too, but the difference is 1st came Beirut, my Lebanon, my people, my flag than came the others. There is so much hate between the Lebanese it is awful. I do not blame the western media of ignoring to give the same coverage to Lebanon attacks as much as the French attacks, I blame my people, our media for failing to do that. if we do not love each other and stand together why should the world stand with us.

  10. Robert says:


    Were you blogging to these arabs asking them to stand with us when they were done celebrating the thousands of deaths here on 9/11? This is why there is no Beirut flag changy thing on facebook. This is also why it probably didn't make the news here. Some of meant it when we said never forget. I won't celebrate in the streets, laugh about it with my friends, or even think they deserved it, but I'm certainly not going to bother google searching a flag image.

  11. Johnny Jonsson says:


    I’m looking for a lebanese modern song to share on facebook to honour all all the people suffered from the Daesh-attack in southern Beirut last wednesday.


  12. georgea says:

    Elyane, I support you. And I want to know more about your life if you want it share with me. I want to say to my friends about you. You all are so strong. I am sorry about your country.

  13. Ronald Wild says:

    Why pray? It achieves nothing.

    Let’s just stop killing people, use military budgets for building infrastructure and have the West stop invading countries and setting up mercenary armies that go feral.

  14. Alaa says:

    Two words for you: thank you

  15. Nathan M. says:

    The paragraphs below are not my own, but a friend's. They succinctly explain why we do not have to be guilty if we mourn over Paris, but not every other tragedy in the world.


    I have, in these first few days after the Paris bombings, read several op eds decrying the West’s hypocrisy, small-mindedness, ignorance, etc., because we do not grieve as much for the victims of similar terrorist attacks in Beirut, Iraq, Yemen, and elsewhere in the middle east. Suffice to say, the critique is that our solidarity with France is cheap because it is a solidarity of specificity and not for the whole world and for its every wound. And it is true, I feel Paris more than I feel Syria/Lebanon/Iraq ad infinitum. This is not because I believe Lebanese or Iraqi blood is cheaper than French blood but rather, it is because the West has spent centuries building ties with each other. Modern Europe grew out of a tribal system that was eventually united and settled into its current state by empire, war, religion, royalty, trade, travel, and philosophy. Europe, has never kept itself to itself. It is too geographically concentrated for that. Its mountains are not so high to prohibit crossing and no sea is too big to separate it. Europe has had its own even recent “tribal” conflicts (e.g. the Troubles in Ireland, Bosnian genocide, Holocaust), but it also has a history of extreme coexistence. And America in particular owes a lot to the French. Our founding ideals get its toes wet in French philosophy. England gave the world the industrial revolution and France gave it the Enlightenment and America owes so much of its identity and success to both. And it was the French who were – thanks to a desire to stick it to the British – America’s first friends. The French have fought our wars, built our cities, and broadened our minds.

    And finally, this is not about nationalism or hate towards one group or another. I grew up in Europe seeing the American flag spat on, trampled on, and burnt by Europeans who did not like American foreign policy. And so on 9/11 when I saw the American flag held up, and celebrated in those same countries that I know have an often (legitimately) uneasy relationship with us, it meant a lot. It meant that they felt the September 11th massacre in their guts, too, as I now feel theirs.

    And so I do not think it is fair or just to shake a finger at people for feeling the Paris slaughter in ourselves, when maybe we don’t feel other calamities as much. I understand that there are other horrors happening to other people everyday but it is, for better or worse, a more intellectual experience for reasons of history, genetics, culture, geography, and religion, etc. Suffering is suffering. That is the one of the few things all of us humans share. I UNDERSTAND that the world is full of equally valuable suffering, but I FEEL France’s.

  16. Aleda says:


    “Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in this world, but has not solved one yet.” – Maya Angelou

    With recent attacks in Paris, and Beirut along with the existing ones in Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Libya and others, I had to limit my time on Facebook for a while because I couldn’t bear seeing all the blame and hate messages towards Muslims and Islam. However, the saddest thing of all is how the mainstream media add fuel to the fire by showing only half of the truth, if not lies, to the masses.

    Read more >> http://www.aledaboyd.com/…/Islam-terrorism

  17. Todd says:

    I do appreciate this article and each and every live does matter. The question of why the west doesn't report as much or show remorse for Middle Eastern violence is an interesting question, but I do remember dancing in the streets throughout the Middle East on September 11, 2001. It is a hard thing to ask the victims of that day to forget the demonstrations from this part of the world on our day of need. Perhaps we can move forward and move to a unified front against terrorism one day, but it is hard to show remorse for those that danced when we were attacked. The idea of the silent majority is something to discuss, but do a simple google search and the celebrations on 9/11/2001 was throughout the Middle East. Perhaps that mind set needs to change before the west is able to embrace the idea that we need to show compassion for those who danced.

  18. Jennifer says:

    I have been praying for all of mankind. I have a couple of friends in Lebanon. I am deeply sorry for your losses there. I don’t know what the answer is to stop the terrorism. I also have been posting things such as this that you’ve written to open peoples eyes! My name is Jenny and I love you and will keep you and all in my prayers.

  19. George Vreeland Hill says:

    I pray for Beirut, but here is the sad truth about why Paris is remembered and Beirut is not …
    People around the world are separating themselves from Middle East culture.
    The region has seen war and death since before the Bible.
    Their lives are stone-age like and often barbaric.
    Terrorism there is nothing new, but it is new to most people, so they reject it.
    They have read and have seen women being stoned to death for being raped which makes them unclean and unfit to live, and beheadings, beatings, mass genocide and on and on and on.
    People do not want to associate with it.
    They don't want it in their backyard.
    So they say … "So what? That's the way they live."
    Paris is not that way, so people sympathize.
    The Middle East will never change and we will not change it.
    However, their people go to other countries and try to change things there.
    It is causing problems to the point where they are no longer wanted.
    Not that they ever were.
    The result … No one cares about them.
    So the victims of Beirut are forgotten.
    Look around Facebook and you will see France on full display.

    George Vreeland Hill

  20. Susan Burt MacVicar says:

    Well written and very thought provoking with so much feeling it really makes people think we are all in this life together. No one country is alone and terrorism appears from every where and " IS"often over looked or ignored when informing the world. Every little soul is precious and important in this life wonderful gift of life god has given us. Thank you so much for this post. For opening everyone eyes. God bless you Elyane Youssef and all souls in this world. Peace be with you.

  21. Natali_78 says:

    Let's pray for the whole world. It's pain we all feel and it has no flag, no skin color. Yes, it may seem unfair that Paris gets more attention and people don't see what's happening in the other countries. Recently I have read the article how the biggest world companies supported France http://personalmoneyservice.com/business-world-su… but I didn't see anything like this about Beirut.

  22. Allen F Mackenzie says:

    Distinctions in between combatants and civilians have to be made.
    The attack by ISIS was on Hizbullah headquarters, a terrorist organization.