Lebanese Christian Recounts Terror Attack That Nearly Took Her Life
Brigitte Gabriel was just ten years old when a bomb struck her home in Marjayoun, a town in southern Lebanon meant to kill her and her family. But miraculously, they survived. In her book Because They Hate, she tells of her harrowing story. It is a story of loss and ultimately of triumph. That triumph can only come through Christ.
She said, "For us to have survived at all could mean only one thing: there was some higher power out there that didn’t want us to die yet.”
She lived in a ten by twelve foot bomb shelter with her parents for seven years following the attack. She recalled they had “no electricity, no heat, no bathroom, no shower and no running water.” She would crawl beneath sniper fire to go fetch water with her mother from a spring. At times the family was forced to eat grass for food.
This happened in Lebanon during a period of intense unrest and upheaval in the Middle East. She recounts how to stage was set for this kind of terror to take place in her once beautiful, prosperous, democratic nation. She called Lebanon “a beacon in the Middle East for different religions and ethnic groups coming together and working together as Lebanese.” But that soon began to change. They began to accept more and more refugees into their country.
“We were so deluded with our multiculturalism that we did not realize the risk of losing the very culture we prided ourselves on having. We did not realize that the intolerant Islamic side of our culture was gaining strength on the back of our Western openness and pride in our diversity,” she said. “With our open-border policy, we unwittingly allowed what would turn out to be our enemy to infiltrate our society to plot and fight with radicals within to gain control of our government.”
As a result, the Muslims quickly overtook the once dominant Christian population in terms of numbers. “When the Muslims became the majority, they started demanding more power in the executive, legislative and administrative branches of the government,” she said.
The Muslims “declared jihad on Christians in 1975,” she said, the same year she was nearly killed in the surprise rocket attack. Then the terror began to fester along with the killing of Christians at random. A daily barrage of rocket-fire became commonplace. She even recalled people being killed by machine-gun fire at checkpoints simply because their National ID card listed their religion as “Christian” on it. The peace and stability of Lebanon began to unravel. The country sank into chaos.
The attack that nearly claimed her life came swiftly. It was launched “from Elkhiam, the Muslim town across the valley,” she said.
A rocket exploded in her bedroom and she was thrown on the floor from the blast. “Half of her bedroom wall” fell on her and trapped her beneath it. The explosion caused her a severe slit in her wrist and shrapnel to embed itself in her arm. She had significant blood loss and would require surgery. Her father lost his hearing in the blast and was also nearly killed. Though she survived, she would spend the next seven years experiencing unremitting terror and brutality that few could imagine.
Israel intervened when no one else would. In the end she said it was Israel that “relieved the beleaguered Christians of Southern Lebanon.” She went on to say: “Israel was the rock we could lean on.”
She marveled at the kindness the Israelis showed her, despite the fact that she was an Arab Christian. She recalled how they treated enemy gunmen, even terrorists, in their own hospitals with the same fervor as if they were treating own of their own citizens.
“I experienced the values of the Israelis, who were able to love their enemy in their most trying moments…” she said. “It suddenly dawned on me, that the efforts of the Israelis were not just isolated, individual acts of compassion. Individual Israelis drove the ambulances and performed the medical services, but this was possible only because the Israelis, as a state, as a society, as a culture, made a conscious, deliberate decision to devote precious resourcesto saving the lives of their enemies.”
Her story is an unforgettable one of heroism, of overcoming obstacles and of survival in the midst of brutality and terror. Brigitte has dedicated her life to preventing these attacks from happening on U.S. soil through raising awareness and legislation.
Some sources have said the book is now required reading at the FBI academy.