Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on June 6, 1976 · Page 14
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June 6, 1976

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 14

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Charleston, West Virginia
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Sunday, June 6, 1976
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14A Sunday Gazette-Mail -- Charievofi West Viryinia -June C, 1976 Richard Lee Strout Lebanese Hell You dial "0" for operator and ask for overseas. When she answers you say you ·want Beirut University College, extension ,'33, Beirut, Lebanon. She asks doubtfully ."Beirut?" and you repeat, "Yes, Beirut, ·Lebanon, where all the killing is." It's not much to ask, is it? Just a call into hell. '.- The operator may say one of several "things: "All calls to Lebanon are indefi- ·initely suspended," or, "Call back in three minutes, or three hours or three days." Or she may say (she did the other day) "Hold the line." The electric spark goes under the Atlantic, or by satellite (who can understand these things?) and there is somebody with an accent on the other end, and a voice saying, "Yes, this is Beirut, but there is no such number." and you say firmly, "Yes there is, for Ghassan Rubeiz, at the university." Then suddenly another voice breaks in, "Why -- isn't that the son of Michel Rubeiz? - I know him well!" and the two operators talk. ''Love and kisses," says the one in Lebanon unexpectedly, "how is everything in New York?," a . little later you have your party. Shrapnel has broken the dormitory windows in Ras Beirut, you learn, but no direct hits; all alive so far ... they are sleeping in the corridors. Crazy? It's all crazy, the world is crazy, only some places are crazier than others. Beirut, one of the loveliest cities in the world, on the Mediterranean, the banker and the communications center of the Middle East; high-rise apartments of oil sheik investments going up over the hills; palm trees; big cars driving recklessly, horse-drawn vendors honking rubber horns in traffic shouting "Kaz!" (kerosene), a city with everything going for it, getting rich, everyting to live for, Christians, Moslems, Palestinians, living in apparent harmony, needing nothing but trust to survive and then collapse. After 30 years of independence and saluting the flag, and reciting patriotic verses in the schools, and boasting about Greater Lebanon -- trust disappears. And suddenly there is the Holiday Inn, half-built, blasted with gunfire, sniper fortress, for all sides killing each other. It had to be called "Holiday Inn;" nothing else could so dramatize the murderous irony of the situation where now some are trying to make peace, some to win a civil war and most merely to survive. I used to think the world would end with nuclear bombs; now I know better, it will be more lingering, when trust ends and street fighting starts. *· THERE HAVE BEEN 20,000 deaths so far among Lebanon's 3 million people or the equivalent carnage in U.S. terms of l'/z million. The wounded are in proportion. It is almost impossible for Americans to grasp it. But by reason of family connections my living room has become a center of Lebanese emigres, the upper-class Diaspora of academic intellectuals, that is scattering doctors and lawyers and professors and scientists out of the doomed city. Nothing like it has happened in modern times. French refugees must have talked like this in little awed circles in London at the time of the Terror. Some have come with what they had on their backs but they are alive, they are lucky: they have education in their heads. David has got a job at the World Bank; Amin, the pediatrician, will go to Duke, they are Orthodox; Bassam, the Moslem, will find a job with his medical degree. The dispersal will wipe out Lebanon's professional class; they talk of friends -- who's in Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, France, Kuwait? Craftsmen, too. The celebrated Lebanese artisans in gems and jewelry have gone to France, many of them, and some of all places to Los Angeles. They are separating round the world. A year ago parents pleaded, don't go; now they beg them to leave. They do not hate Moslems or Christians, this group; it is bewilderment, not hate. There is no enemy, no foreign foe, it is chaos they fear, facfionalized feuding. Maybe Syria can bring peace; they hope so. There were forebodings even in former days of shiskebab and tabouli of arak and mezza how carefree they seemed; it was always agreed that the constitution had to be changed, that reforms had to come, that the u n f a i r parliament, stacked against the Moslems by Christian conservatives, six to five, must be reformed and the despotic powers of the president curbed. Also, sooner or later something must be done about the immigrant Palestinians that fled into the country, starting in 1948, with another flood in 1967. It was a mistake, it was agreed, to let them have their own arms in their refugee camps, supported by the U.N.: they were making a state within a state. Yes, something had to be done! Everyone agreed; but on the other hand look how prosperous the country was; it must be doing something right! With all Lebanon's faults in the long run the system worked pretty well and other Pittsburgh FBI Agent to Speak Vincent E. Ruehl, special agent in charge of the FBI's Pittsburgh office, will speak Tuesday at a meeting of the Charleston Chapter of the National Association of Retired Employes. The meeting will start at 1 p.m. at Lee Terrace, 1319 Lee St. All retired federal employes and their guest are invited. Ruehl has been a member of the FBI since 1951. Prior to his assignment in Pittsburgh, he served as assistant special agent in charge of the Portland, Ore., office, and in the Boston office. Car Wash, Sales Planned at Wesley Chapel There will be a car wash, rummage sale, and hot dog, cake, pie and drink sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday .at Wesley Chapel onsissonville Road. Prcgjeds will go to the bail team. nations could envy its democratic freedoms, its theater and sophistication, and its high living standards -- affluent, that is. fc- WITH EACH OTHER the emigres joke at misfortunes; it is like 1929 when it wasn't so bad since all were ruined. One laughs at the big profit he made on real estate three years ago. What did he do with the money-? Put it in a ruined bank . . . Another has a car, an Opel, stashed in a garage -- have they found it yet"? Or the parents' home in the mountains, everything looted. Amin's nephew with a degree is selling "Nido" (powdered milk) from a pushcart, d u c k i n g snipers. Some are killed. These emigres here are merely penniless - they are the lucky ones. They ask about America. Well, I explain, we are doing well; it is true we have no energy program after two years because politicians can't agree. Sooner or later we must do something about wel- fare, health insurance, income disparity. Institutions that produce a year's election every four years ought to be modernized; something is wrong with a political system that produced Agnew, and Nixon, and Vietnam, and 7 million unemployed. But these can wait, I explain; plenty of time, no hurry. Ghassan speaks quietly. "We all live in our Holidav Inn," he says. KENNEY'S Prescription Pharmacy 714 tee St Phone 342-4178 MYADEC VITAMINS CAPSU1IS or TABLETS 100+30 FREE OUR EVERYDAY $yl 99 LOW PRICE 1 Summer Educational Experiences In Athletics At West Virginia State College Ages 7-17 1st Session 2nd Session June7-July 1 Tennis- 8:30-9:40 Swimming- 9:45-10:55 Bowling- 11:00-12:10 T?nnis- 1:30-2:40 July 12-Aug. 5th Tennis-8:30-9 40 Swimming- 9:45-10:55 Bowling- 11.00-12:10 Tennis- 1.00-2:10 . Swimming 1:00-2:10 Fee: $3.00 per student per session Register-Athletic Office Fleming Hall 9:00 JIM. to 4:00 PJd. 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CASHEW OR PECAN LOGS Our Reg. 58c Sturdy nylon- reinforced vinyl hosewith brass couplings. Vi" inside diameter. Our Reg. 5.27 Fluffv Kodel 232* polyester fill K.odel* n o - i r o n p o l y e s ter/cotton ticking. Washable. 3-oz.* packs. ·Netwt. SP1NCAST REEL AND CAMPERS' COMPACT ROD SET Our Reg. 6.94-2 Days PUP TENT Our Reg. 27.88-2 Days 6-PAOTD" BATTERIES Our Keg. 97' T-OZ.* COCOA BUTTER Our Reg. 28* 19* Model #200 reel, adjusta ble star drag, 70-yds. line Fiberglass rod, cork grip. 5x7 base size with near extension, 38" center height. 5-oz. blue cotton canvas with aluminum poles, screen door. Our Reg. 5.97, 4-party Cook Set 3.97 Our Reg. 87.77, 12x10' Screen House 74.88 Package of 6. Save now. 6531 MacCORKLEAVE. S.E. CHARLESTON, WEST VA. 1701 FOURTH AVE. PATRICK ST. PLAZA 1400 MacCORKLE AVE. S.W. ST. ALBANS,. WEST VA. i

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