Readers Respond to “Beirut’s ER: Time’s Running Out”

By Krista Kjellman

Aug 3, 2006 1:13pm

"Beirut’s ER: Time’s Running Out" garnered hundreds of comments from concerned readers, who, until reading the blotter, had been unaware of the hospital’s dire situation.  Unlike many in the past, these comments transcended religious affiliations and political preferences.  Instead, many of the readers called for more coverage of the "humanitarian crisis," or as one reader Rouba described it, "Blocking fuel because it may be used for Hezbollah’s weaponry is almost like saying that food should be blocked because it may be used to keep Hezbollah fighters alive." While ABC News may have published it in the blotter, readers said that was not enough.

"ABC, thank you for what you are doing but I beg you not to do half a job. Have the integrity to make this situation known to everyone involved in this catastrophe and to shame politicians into showing some humanity to this broken country," wrote Margaret.   

"Why isn’t this on the air? Why isn’t the media focusing on what is truly important here?  Please do your job as a news center and provide people with this vital information!!" Natasha said

"This story needs to be told and quickly, time is running out, this is when journalism should make a difference, I hope ABC’s morals are not swayed by any political pressure. You would help allow for fuel to be brought in Lebanon," Dima Karam wrote.

Others chose to direct their calls for more coverage to the international community, saying they were as much responsible for resolving the situation as the parties directly involved in the conflict.

"When will the world realize that human life is equal everywhere? Superpowers seem to find no problem in letting the crisis go on for weeks….Are the "civilians" of Lebanon any less human than the civilians of the superpower nations?" Mireille asked.

"How many times does the western world have to "learn" the same lessons again and again: Bosnia, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan… All mourn with crocodile tears after atrocities are perpetrated, but do little to stop them when they can. Act NOW! Your HUMANITY is calling you! Whichever nationality you are from!" Maria wrote.

And finally, one comment stood out among the rest.  It was a call, a plea from an employee at the very hospital in crisis.

"I am a pediatric neurologist at the American University of Beirut. Today Israel threatened to bomb Beirut. I went to clinic this afternoon expecting no one to be there with this ominous warning blaring from every TV, and radio every few minutes. I was wrong. Parents braved danger and brought their children with epilepsy, suspected genetic disorders and autism. The sick need help, even at times like these. I cannot fathom my hospital will shut down. ABC news, please air this story and bring our plight to the forefront. WE NEED FUEL!!!!" Rose-Mary Boustany wrote.

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