A barrage of white shirts flooding the streets, youth hand in hand marching forward, and Lebanese flags fluttering in the air; it is not only a marathon, it arises to a march of peace. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Peace cannot be achieved through violence; it can only be attained through understanding.” Orienting from this perspective, the Lebanese Organization of Studies and Training (LOST), in coordination with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and UNICEF organized the “Run for Peace” marathon on Friday December 9th, 2016.
From all over Baalbeck-Hermel Governorate, about 5,000 participants met in Baalbeck to join a marathon with a common goal; running for peace. Unlike any ordinary race, the goal was not merely to win, “I want everyone to notice our call for peace,” a Lebanese participant said. “We need peace in our country, in Lebanon, and in the whole world; we are tired of wars,” a Syrian refugee participant said.
The marathon, in its 2016 version, voices Lebanese citizens’ and Syrian refugees’ call for peace. It is a sport gathering that not only eases tension, but also enhances social cohesion among the residents in Baalbeck-Hermel.
A fun atmosphere for all ages with music filling the air, people laughing and getting to know one another in a safe and judgment-free environment was created. Each participant had no obligation other than understanding and enjoying one another’s company.
“We always have to be innovative in finding ways to meet and feel happy. Today we are here from Ersal, Ain, Nabi Othman, Fekha, Labwe, Deir Al Ahmar, Britel, Beit Shema, Chmestar, and Nabi Chit running in Baalbeck where the City of Sun embraces all with its warm rays, sending a message of peace that needs to echo all over the region,” LOST’s founder Dr. Ramy Lakkis concluded before handing out trophies and medals.