Lebanese, Ireland, and the Titanic
Posted by adiamondinsunlight on April 13, 2009
Yesterday was a lovely, relaxed holiday – lots of time with friends, and beautiful spring sunshine. But I also learned that it was a sober holiday for some: yesterday, a number of Lebanese-Irish commemorated the 97th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, which happened on the night of April 14th to 15th, 1912.
I’ve mentioned before that the ship carried a number of Ottoman Syrians, many of whom would today be described as Lebanese. For American and European upper classes, the Titanic was the latest, greatest luxury liner – but for the many other people who made up its steerage classes, its specialness lay solely in the fact that it was bringing them far away from the land and people they loved, and towards a – hopefully – more lucrative and thus happier future.
This article in the Irish Times helps bring this aspect of the Titanic‘s story to life:
THE 97th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic was marked by a ceremony in Cobh, Co Cork, yesterday.
The Irish Lebanese Cultural Society laid its first wreath at the annual commemoration which got under way shortly before 3pm.
The laying of the wreath highlighted an often-overlooked statistic: 123 people from Lebanon travelled on the Titanic’s maiden voyage in 1912, along with the mostly-European passengers and Asian crew.
The small village of Kfar Mishki in the lower Bekaa Valley of eastern Lebanon was devastated by the loss of at least eight of its inhabitants. Another village, Hardeen, lost 12 of its locals while eight others survived.
The tragedy of the sinking of the Titanic is commemorated every April in Cobh.
Cobh, then known as Queenstown, was the Titanic’s last port of call on a journey which ended with the loss of 1,517 lives.