06/09/09 - In Lebanon’s June 7th parliamentary elections, the Shiite-supported coalition, which includes the powerful Hezbollah, did not win as predicted. Instead, the U.S.-aligned coalition garnered 71 seats to Hezbollah’s 57. Christians control half of the 128-seat Parliament; Sunnis, Shiites, Druse, and other sects control the other half. The new majority in Lebanon’s Parliament is expected to include opposition members in its unity government, leaving power divided much as it was before the election.
Some Middle East experts believe that President Barack Obama’s overtures to the Muslim world, coupled with his proposed talks with Hezbollah supporters Iran and Syria, may have influenced the election outcome. Hezbollah remains a potent player in Lebanese politics. But the United States government has dropped pressure on its Lebanese allies to disarm Hezbollah. Taken together, say some analysts, Obama administration actions may be neutralizing anti-American sentiment in Lebanon.
SOS Children’s Villages Help Lebanese Children
The results of Lebanon’s democratic elections point to its people’s hope for peace. Surrounded by Syria and Israel, the nation has been the victim of violent regional conflicts, including the civil war of 1975-1991, and the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah militants. After each war, Lebanon has rebuilt its damaged infrastructure. What’s not so easy to repair are the lives of children traumatized by dislocation and the perennial threat of factional fighting. Fortunately, SOS Children’s Village has been on the ground to help.
SOS Children’s Villages is the world’s largest charity devoted to providing warm homes to orphaned and abandoned children. The organization entered Lebanon in 1969 and remained there throughout Lebanon’s civil war.
Today, SOS operates four Children’s Villages in Lebanon. In these safe havens, vulnerable children find a loving SOS mother, a stable home, SOS siblings, and a supportive environment in which they can grow and thrive. In addition, SOS runs kindergartens that are open to local children. SOS social centers offer family strengthening programs to local residents to help prevent child abandonment.
If you would like to give a need child in Lebanon a better today, and hope for the future, consider sponsoring an SOS child.