MUSIC AND TESTIMONIES RISE FROM THE RUBBLE IN BEIRUT
As the dust settles from the explosion that ravaged Beirut, stories of resilience, heroism, and faith flow from the city. On the SAT-7 ARABIC program You Are Not Alone, part of the channel’s #ForBeirut campaign, viewers heard from “piano lady” Mai Melki who played on amid the chaos, a life-saving nurse, and a grieving man who clings to faith.
While homes lay in rubble and smoke filled the air on 4 August, the classic melody “Auld Lang Syne” could be heard rising from an apartment building affected by the blast. Mai Melki, 79, had stepped across her debris-strewn apartment floor, lifted the lid on her piano, and begun to play. As she played, she prayed.
“I began the song and said, ‘Thank you, God. You are the God of the universe. You know everything. You see who is in need.’ It was a communication between me, and the music, God, and the people,” she says in her interview on You are Not Alone. As she played, she says, she prayed for the injured and those with no-one to care for them.
Since then, Melki’s video has been shared widely on social media and encouraged many.
Mai Melki is the mother of Camille Melki, founder and CEO of the non-governmental organisation and SAT-7 partners Heart for Lebanon.
FEARLESS ON DUTY
You Are Not Alone also spoke with Pamela Zeinoun, a nurse at St George Hospital University Medical Centre who spent hours rescuing three infants from the neonatal intensive care unit following the blast.
Despite the destruction and death around her, Pamela lifted the babies while their father lifted the metal shelves that trapped them, dug her way out of emergency exits, carried them down four floors amid rubble and debris, and walked for five kilometres before finding help.
“After the explosion, everything was chaotic,” she says. “The department was so unrecognisable that I couldn’t find my way back from where I was thrown. I climbed down carrying the children, only to find a shocking scene of patients and nurses strewn on the floor, covered in blood, and others running frantically everywhere. Luckily, I found a doctor from our hospital who helped me carry the children and find a hospital to care for them,” she says.
“These children were my responsibility. They needed me. The children couldn’t escape this. I didn’t do anything heroic. This is my responsibility and duty: to protect the children,” Zeinoun continues.
FAITH IN CHRIST AMID CHAOS
Also on the program is Roni Nahra, who lost his cousin Shady, 36, after the building he was in collapsed. In his interview Roni declares his faith in God despite the pain of loss he is feeling.
“The first thing that came to my mind was ‘why?’ My cousin was a strong man and I expected him to survive it, but after 24 hours under the wreckage, he died. I’m consoled when I remember that he is with Jesus. He died in Christ and will be resurrected in Christ. This is the only consolation that I have, that I one day shall meet him; but the pain of separation from a loved one is huge,” he shares.
Roni gave a message encouraging everyone to hold fast to God.
“If we don’t live every day with Jesus and spend time with Him, we won’t be able to face the current or future circumstances. Jesus said that prayer is like bread – we need to have it daily. If I don’t spend time with Him daily, I won’t be able to stand firm.”
You are Not Alone is a program from SAT-7’s Lebanon studio that began broadcasting during the coronavirus pandemic. It has been the voice of many marginalised and unprivileged members of Arab society and will continue in the coming weeks to walk alongside viewers in Lebanon.