Tony Manasseh (Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting) is a third-generation Quaker who grew up in a country that used to be referred to as “the Switzerland of the Middle East.” His home city, Beirut, was a financial engine that powered the region, and the country had a multicultural vibe that drew international investment. In the 1960’s it was also a place that brought the different cultures of the region into close proximity, building relationships centered in common interests that embraced diversity and supported a distinctive Middle Eastern culture.
Since then civil war, political change, economic distress, and Covid have been tough on the region. The aftermath of a devastating ammonium nitrate blast that tore facades off buildings and blew apart a large swath of homes overlooking the waterfront made everything worse. According to the World Bank the blast caused between $3.8 and $4.6 Billion dollars of damage.
Since then the economy has been mostly in freefall. [Read more…] about A Quaker in Beirut, Lebanon: Interview with Friend Tony Manasseh