A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

Plagues & locusts?

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on February 16, 2008

This past week has been an earth-shaking one for Lebanon – and not only in terms of the firepower put on display. The country has been hit by three earthquakes in rapid succession, including one yesterday afternoon, a little after 12:30.

The earthquakes’ epicenters have all been in the south, but have been large enough (yesterday’s was 5.1) to be felt in most parts of Beirut.

Of course, those of us with a tendency to obliviousness missed them. In my office, the shake was so slight that neither I nor another colleague felt it. Head in the clouds, you might say; while the colleague with her feet more firmly planted on the ground immediately asked us: did you feel that?

Reactions to the earthquake among my friends have been largely humorous.

Because life in Lebanon isn’t exciting enough, one said.

Even the earth is weird here, said another.

I think its the end of days, said a third.

Err … well … that last one wasn’t so humorous, actually.

And since the earthquakes have been felt up and down the fault line, which stretches south to Israel and Palestine, they have gotten tangled up in the region’s political messes as well – as proof that God is taking sides.

For example, the first commenter on Raed Rafei’s blog post about the earthquake for the LA Times took yesterday’s quake as a sign that God protects Israel:

These quakes are centered in southern Lebanon, and this last large one occurred right about the time when the terrorists had [once more] declared war on Israel.
G-d speaks, is anyone listening?

Well, Elisheva, I think being chosen may have gone to your head. Sending a quake to south Lebanon that also hits Israel seems a bit of a mixed message on God’s part.

If the quakes are a message from God, I think their message is more of a kick in the pants. I imagine that God has a few things to say about sharing, living together in harmony, and working to create a brighter future for all Lebanese. And I imagine that God’s patience with leaders who instead spend their time pontificating on podia, whether live or by video uplink, is wearing thin.

And just in case God decides to shake Lebanon’s cage a bit more in the next few days, I’m writing down the safety tips that H’s mother has provided. In case of a quake, take shelter in a stairwell or a doorway. Don’t go outside until the quaking stops, as you might be hit by falling debris. And make sure the gas is turned off, so a quake doesn’t cause a gas leak.

The gas is off. Guess it will be an eat out/order in weekend🙂.

2 Responses to “Plagues & locusts?”

  1. Reza said

    A note of advice from los angeles- the doorway thing is a myth! It’s not any safer there. Getting as far away from windows and having something to hold onto are more important. Good luck

  2. Hi Reza! Oh no – its a myth? I remember being told to find a doorway/stairwell in elementary school as well. Thank you for setting me straight!

    On the other hand, perhaps I’ll be too clueless to do much of anything if a big earthquake comes. There have been two more, smaller earthquakes since I wrote this post – and I didn’t feel either. I’m considering renaming myself: “Plate Insensitive” or “Tectonically Challenged”😛.

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