Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Man seeks his fate in Lebanon
"It was a nightmare."

I heard that over and over again in the day I spent along the Syrian-Lebanese border. Hundreds of thousands of people have been streaming across the main crossing since this crisis began. Most are poor Syrian workers living in Lebanon. Many of them had no money for a car; they walked, carrying whatever they could, from Lebanon into Syria.

I met Lebanese families who described the bombs dropping close to their homes. One man helped four injured people to the hospital and then grabbed his family and took off for Syria.

The officials here -- a country not so easy to enter to begin with -- have relaxed the rules. Diplomats, tourists and everyone in between spent hours crossing into Syria.

They come with a sense of suffocating uncertainty. When will they go home? Will Syria become part of this escalating crisis, the very place they have fled to in order to escape the violence?

Hotels are overflowing with guests, some spending the nights on the lobby floor. It all happened so quickly, and many are only now coming to grips with what they saw.

The road into Lebanon at the crossing we were at was understandably empty. But a few cars did go in. One Lebanese man I met was living in Saudi Arabia. After he saw the news, he rushed back to Lebanon.

I asked why, and he said, "My family. My country. My everything is in Lebanon. Now I must be in Lebanon. If I die anywhere, it should be in Lebanon."
Posted By Aneesh Raman, CNN Correspondent: 4:48 PM ET
  16 Comments
Aneesh please be careful. Your reporting has put a human face on many of the stories covered. The fact that we can see that these people are just like us except for where they live gives the conflict a whole new perrspective. Keep doing what you're doing, but if the sitution warrents put on a flak vest.
Posted By Anonymous Marcia Warren, MI : 5:17 PM ET
I don't understand anyone rushing into harm's way just to get "home." If it was so home to him, what was he doing living in Saudi (probably working)? Still, it doesn't make sense to me. Arabs are family-oriented people and his family would take care of itself with the help of extended family and friends. And if his plan was to go there to die, what good would he be to his family, anyway? I've lived internationally for 30 years and if the U.S. were about to go up in smoke, my family could manage on their own, as they have always done. So I don't get that guy's thinking. Death wish?
Posted By Anonymous Gypsy, an American in Mexico : 5:30 PM ET
Love of your country is impossible to instill in someone. A personal belief that one can make a difference in a land he helped build is the couragous statement this man is making.
Posted By Anonymous Dave Winfield Quincy, Illinois : 5:31 PM ET
Because Aneesh reported that many Lebanese are angry at the bombing of their country, is it possible that the Israeli military effort to eradicate (or to reduce its influence) might backfire if more Lebanese begin to favor Hezbollah because they are currently fighting the nation that is bombing Lebanon?
Posted By Anonymous Danny N, Dix Hills, New York : 5:45 PM ET
Home will always be where the heart is, no matter how unstable, unhealthy or how crazy everyone thinks it is. Home ias where the memories are made and I do not blame that man for staying behind
Posted By Anonymous Stephanie, Winnipeg, Manitoba : 5:47 PM ET
It would be interesting if CNN would provide more coverage of the situation in Lebanon including what is going through the minds of civilians in this tiny country that is paying the price of Hezbollas's madness and Israel's disproportionate reaction.

I have yet to see a discussion around the sufferings of the Lebanese as a result of these agressions. It almost feels as though human life is not some valued in Lebanon as it is in Israel.
Posted By Anonymous Tallahassee, Florida : 5:50 PM ET
I am so glad that I have never experienced the fear of having my own country invaded.

The sense of fear that was felt by all Americans after September 11, that we may be attacked ourselves, is nothing compared to the terror felt by those who are fleeing from an enemy who is not just supposed, but quite real.

All humans should feel for those who are surrounded with the shadow of war.
Posted By Anonymous Michael, Lowell, MA : 5:55 PM ET
i just want to know the status in cyprus, what is the hotel availability
and can the pepople get out of cyprus?
Posted By Anonymous salah springfield va : 6:06 PM ET
Having lived outside the US several times (over half of my adult life), when 9/11 happened, all I wanted was to go home, to be with my family, to be in my country, to try to help my country and my fellow citizens.

While I was not able to return to the US for another 4 years, I completely understand the man�s terrible urge to go home. To help in any way possible.
Posted By Anonymous Cassie Dallas, PA : 6:23 PM ET
Thanks, Aneesh, and all CNN staff for your great reports. I watched AC on Friday, and caught AC, LK, Wolf and John Roberts on Sunday. I saw your piece on the border. These people are leaving with a bag of possessions and no sense of when they can return, or if they will even find safety. Who knows when this mess will end. Thanks again and stay safe.
Posted By Anonymous Kathy Chicago, Il : 6:44 PM ET
"My family. My country. My everything is in Lebanon. Now I must be in Lebanon. If I die anywhere, it should be in Lebanon."


What an amazing sense of family and patriotism. I don't think you'll find that type of devotion coming from a lot of people. Also, you're doing a great job out there, Aneesh. Keep up the good work!
Posted By Anonymous Jennifer, Philadelphia, PA : 6:47 PM ET
Aneesh, Thank you for posting this article. I saw the video clip, but actually reading this made it even more touching.

Please stay safe.
Posted By Anonymous Claudine Baroudi, Encino, CA : 5:13 PM ET
Aneesh, keep up the great work. Thanks for giving us another persective on this conflict. My heart goes out to those people.
Posted By Anonymous Reena, Phoenix AZ : 5:27 PM ET
Lebanese people are 40% Christian. The churches have been bombed. Last night 23 tons of bombs were dropped on a mosque. The Lebanese army have been bombed. Airports, hospitals, ports, roads, bridges have all been bombed. The UN have been bombed. Every nationality are being bombed in Lebanon. Even the two kidnapped Israeli soldiers are being bombed. What does this tell us - Israel wants to flatten everything and everyone on Lebanese soil!! Looks like another Gaza to me. Do they want to steal more land?
Posted By Anonymous Abe, Philly, PA : 8:51 AM ET
It saddend me that the world is just watching at the sad state of innocent people in Lebanon right now. Israel's acts do not in any way represent their faith nor the teachings of any religion. But why are they involving the Lebanese people who are not in any way involved with the Hezbollah?? How could they continue to live their lives and live a faithful right knowing their acts are acts of EVIL! All I can do is pray for my Lebanese brothers and sisters. I am asking the world to do something! Please!
Posted By Anonymous Jean, Manila, Philippines : 8:57 AM ET
Aneesh, Lebanon is a wonderful country full of the most friendly, generous, caring people. It will be rebuilt and the tourists will come again. No-one will forgive Israel for destroying Lebanon. They have made it look like Gaza. Shame on them. Love to you Aneesh.
Posted By Anonymous Pete, Daytona,Florida : 9:08 AM ET
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