Wabash Student Trying to Leave Lebanon

Howard W. Hewitt – Labaki returned to campus July 27, safely making the trip from Beirut to Damascus. Read more about it here.

7/24/06 – Wassim Labaki ’08 a Lebanon native is struggling to leave his home country and return to Wabash. The country has been war-torn for weeks now as the Israeli air force pounds Hezbollah strongholds trying to root out the Islamic terrorist organization. 

Labaki has been in communication with David Clapp, Director of International Students. In his e-mail correspondence, Labaki describes the situation near Beirut as “extremely difficult” and “dangerous.”

Wassim lives in the mountainous suburbs of Beirut, in a village called Baabdat. He went to the U.S. Embassy trying to gain help returning to the states but reports he was turned away.

Clapp also contacted Sen. Richard Lugar’s office seeking some sort of assistance but got no reply to an inquiry for help. On his own, Labaki has found a flight out of Damascus, Syria, later this week.

“Although the road from Beirut to Damascus in not 100 percent safe, I have decided to take the risk,” Labaki wrote to Clapp last week. “Many people here are doing the same. It might be better to take risks now than later. I am leaving Beirut Wednesday and should be in Indy Thursday if nothing bad happens. I will be traveling alone without my family because it is extremely difficult to find tickets now. It is so sad to leave them in such a bad situation but I have no other choice.”

We’ll update this blog entry later in the week with a report on Wassim’s attempts to leave Lebanon and make his way back to Crawfordsville.