The continuing worsening economic/humanitarian crisis in Lebanon loomed prominently in the background during the Lebanon Day gathering in the Rotunda at Cleveland City Hall on the evening of Friday, November 19th.
During his remarks, Mr. Pierre Bejjani, Chair of the American Lebanese Community Council (ALCC), termed the dire conditions in his homeland to be “unprecedented” but, nevertheless, said that it was very important that everyone come together to celebrate their Lebanese heritage as well as to recognize that Lebanon has been an independent country for seventy-eight years now.
Likewise, during the invocation that was conducted by Father Elias Yazbeck, Pastor of St. Maron Church, and Iman Ramez Istambouli, Professor at CWRU, both clergypersons prayed for effective governmental leadership and the building of bridges that will end the societal divisions that are compounding an already terrible situation.
Appropriately, a call was made for donations to the Lebanese Red Cross in order that necessary medications and medical supplies could be provided.
Otherwise, it seemed like everyone appreciated the opportunity to get together after not being able to do so in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Among the highlights, was an excellent boxed dinner (i.e. choice of vegetarian, meat, or chicken) provided by Sky Mediterranean Cuisine in Parma Heights which, along with Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC, sponsored the event.
Along these lines, the singing of the Lebanese National Anthem was beautifully led by Ms. Blanche Salwan (in her native language) and Miss Julia Bejjani, at her father’s urging, did a fine job leading the singing of the American National Anthem.
Participants really got a treat when Dr. Fadi Abdulkarim presented a humorous slide show about how Lebanese expatriates relate to things in the United States.
Later, we spoke with Dr. Abdulkarim and learned that he immigrated to the United States in 1979-1980 with the help of none other than Ms. Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC!