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Lebanese visitor fears dark times ahead for his country

LOTFALLAH Daher has seen the ugly side of life in the Middle East.

The news photographer and correspondent with Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International has covered various wars in the troubled region.

Now he’s afraid that Lebanon’s Christians are in mortal danger, caught between the warring Muslim Shia and Sunni forces.

In Brisbane last week with the Lebanese Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros Rai, Mr Daher said the Patriarch was a strong voice for Christians in Lebanon.

Sounding alarm: Lotfallah Daher has grave concerns about his country’s future.

Sounding alarm: Lotfallah Daher has grave concerns about his country’s future.

“The Christians helped make Lebanon nearly one hundred years ago,” Mr Daher, who lives in the country’s south on the border with Israel, said.

“I don’t know why there is no good government in our country.

“Yesterday the parliament renewed for two years for themselves without an election … there is no true democracy.

“The Patriarch said this was not legal.”

Mr Daher, covering Cardinal Rai’s visit to Maronite communities in Australia for broadcast back in Lebanon, had been in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra prior to his arrival in Brisbane on November 6.

 “Accompanying the Patriarch has been an opportunity to visit your beautiful county – everyone likes Australia … me too,” he said.

Mr Daher said he loved his home country despite its many problems including the crisis between rival Muslim groups.

“The relationships between Muslim and Christians is very good … better than between Muslim and Muslim, the Sunni and Shia,” he said.

“But there’s not much Christians can do – the problem goes back hundreds of years … it’s so bad to hear that people are now cutting off heads.

“Our concern is that one day as they fight each other they will destroy us because we don’t have power.

“The Shia has weapons, rockets; the Sunni has countries that pay money for them and push them to fight.

“We Christians have to pray but we have also have to somehow find ways to protect our families, our churches, our country.

“The Patriarch on his visit to Australia has been advising his Maronite people to never forget Lebanon.

“He has been telling them to invite their children to visit Lebanon because we always have to be united.”

Sounding alarm: Lotfallah Daher has grave concerns about his countryís future.

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