by Mattie Hildebrand
Yesterday I received a WhatsApp voice message from Brady Black in Beirut, Lebanon. As you may recall from one of our previous blogs, Brady and his wife Amber have been serving at a home of abused and abandoned children in Beirut for the last five years (see Introducing Home of Hope blog). Brady has been watching the October Revolution in Lebanon since it started last fall. In fact, Brady has pretty much been down in the very middle of it chronicling what is happening. As a watercolor artist and a person who loves Lebanon and its people, his artwork and perspective are unique and powerful.
Last fall protestors gathered in Beirut in front of the Prime Minister’s headquarters to stand against ongoing government corruption as well as austerity measures. For months Brady took his sketch pad and watercolors down into the middle of the crowds and brought to life the grief, anger, hope, and fear. As I read through the sketches and photos from Brady’s instagram (@BradytheBlack, #RevolutionSketches) I connected with what he was seeing and feeling.
Here are some of his posts…
Day 4: Towards an uncertain future. We stand with you Lebanon.
Day 10: Why do we keep going down to the protests? Because we love Lebanon and her people, and we pray for change along with them.
Day 26: The Revolution rages all around him. Chants, songs, banging, yelling, fireworks, thumping bass. But he just sits there smoking his pipe….
Brady’s story continues night after night depicting the more peaceful evenings as well as the times of escalation and increased anger. There are drawings of crowds and individuals, soldiers and woman, children and old men. The Mother’s March in November is particularly beautiful and powerful…
A set of three watercolors:
Over the past three days violence has been escalating to where last night a skirmish took place on the same spot where the Civil War began in 1975. In response, the mothers of these old enemy neighborhoods (referring to Christian/Muslim divisions) gathered at the same place in unity and peace. Holding white roses, candles, and chanting they are one nation: Christian and Muslim. They marched from the Christian side and were welcomed with cheers, clapping, throwing of rice, and celebratory Arab trilling…
On January 24 he wrote beneath his sketch:
On the first day of the new government thousands of protestors took to the streets in anger that their demands had been ignored.
Brady told me yesterday that daily life is progressively getting harder and harder. Roadblocks make it difficult to get anywhere. Prices have skyrocketed and because of the collapse of the banks people do not have any money and their life savings have vanished. “There are no jobs. No one trusts the government. There is a lot of despair. Although the Revolution itself has calmed down, people are cold. There is not enough food. Now the banks are burning.” Brady shared that those who still have money are leaving the country in large numbers which is creating “a brain drain” all over the country.
“Brady, what do you wish that people knew about what is happening?” “Honestly, “he responded, “I just wish people KNEW it was happening. And were praying. Just pray for the people of Lebanon. That Jesus will move in these desperate times. ”