Lebanon’s style set gets serious over forest fires

Thick smoke had been seen drifting over the outskirts of Beirut. (AFP)
Updated 16 October 2019

Lebanon’s style set gets serious over forest fires

DUBAI: Lebanese influencers are coming together on social media to raise awareness about the forest fires blazing through parts of the country in recent days.

Influencers including Lana El-Sahely, half-Australian Jessica Kahawaty and Nathalie Fanj have all taken to Instagram to lament the lack of support for Lebanon’s Civil Defense, which has been battling to quell the flames since Monday.

On Monday night, fires ripped through the Chouf mountains and northern Metn in Mount Lebanon, reaching the forests of Zgharta in the north. Firefighters from the Civil Defense tried to put out flames, but people woke at 3 a.m. only to see them revived and spreading from one region to another due to strong winds. Consequently, civilians had to intervene to extinguish the fires themselves, as government forces were not able to reach all burning areas.

Thick smoke had been seen drifting over the outskirts of Beirut, the mountainous Chouf region to its southeast, and the southern city of Saida.

In the Chouf, an area famed for its forests, a volunteer firefighter lost his life trying to put out the flames, his family said.

El-Sahely took to Instagram with a sober post — an image with white text saying “My Lebanon” in both English and Arabic against a stark black background.

“What is happening today is a national and a natural disaster and (it) is my priority to address (it) as a Lebanese. A huge fire is raging through Chouf and it has already destroyed forest and agricultural land and houses and threatens more towns and our cedar reserve. My heart and prayers go out to Chouf, to our Lebanese mountains, to its residents and to every tree bird and flower. Please take a moment to pray for (the) safety of my Lebanon, land and citizens. I hope we wake up to better days soon,” she captioned the post.

For her part, Lebanese-Australian model Kahawaty shared a powerful image of trees ablaze with the words “Save Lebanon” superimposed over the flames.

“I just woke up in the US to the most chilling news in my beloved Lebanon. Fires are raging through this already fragile country destroying homes and killing families. The country is ill equipped to deal with the magnitude of such a disaster bringing the people and rescue teams to their knees. My heart aches and I feel numb going through all the photos and videos watching helplessly… My thoughts are with everyone affected. God help them,” Kahawaty posted.


What We Are Reading Today: The Puritans: A Transatlantic History by David D. Hall

Updated 21 November 2019

What We Are Reading Today: The Puritans: A Transatlantic History by David D. Hall

This book is a sweeping transatlantic history of Puritanism from its emergence out of the religious tumult of Elizabethan England to its founding role in the story of America. 

Shedding critical new light on the diverse forms of Puritan belief and practice in England, Scotland, and New England, David Hall provides a multifaceted account of a cultural movement that judged the Protestant reforms of Elizabeth’s reign to be unfinished. Hall’s vivid and wide-ranging narrative describes the movement’s deeply ambiguous triumph under Oliver Cromwell, its political demise with the Restoration of the English monarchy in 1660, and its perilous migration across the Atlantic to establish a “perfect reformation” in the New World.

A breathtaking work of scholarship by an eminent historian, The Puritans examines the tribulations and doctrinal dilemmas that led to the fragmentation and eventual decline of Puritanism. It presents a compelling portrait of a religious and political movement that was divided virtually from the start.

In England, some wanted to dismantle the Church of England entirely and others were more cautious, while Puritans in Scotland were divided between those willing to work with a troublesome king and others insisting on the independence of the state church.