On Nov. 12 twin explosions, for which Daesh [ISIS] claimed responsibility, detonated in the capital of Lebanon targeting the Shiite neighborhood of Burj al-Barajneh. While the terrifying events that unfolded in Paris on Nov. 13 were widely covered by the media, it seemed that the western world had overlooked the terrorist attacks that took place less than 2,000 miles south east in Beirut, Lebanon, not even 24 hours prior to the attacks in France. Only after the initial wave of shock and disbelief of such an attack on one of the world's most powerful countries had passed and manifested into anger, did the word spread [mainly through social media] that an attack also took place in the most religiously divers country of the Middle East. I could write a whole article about why terrorism in an Arabic speaking country seems to have been overshadowed by an equally tragic event in a "western country," but I would rather focus on the attack in Beirut and, specifically, on the story of a man whose heroism saved hundreds of lives. His name was Adel Termos.
Before I write further, I first want to share how I came to know the name, Adel Termos. It wasn't due to a bold-print title appearing at the top of CNN, New York Times, or BBC's webpages. In fact, I first learned of the Beirut attacks three days after they happened...through a Facebook status in which one of my friends, while expressing grief and sympathy for the Paris attacks, also called attention to the two explosions in Lebanon. This is what prompted me to type, "Beirut Attacks on Thursday" in the Google search engine. This is how I learned of Adel Termos.
I give this information [explaining how I learned of the terrorist attacks in Lebanon] as both a recognition of the western media's failure to thoroughly report two attacks that would have been as destructive as those in Paris -- if not more -- had it not been for Adel Termos, and also as a personal confession of my own ignorance. Yet, despite my personal disappointment, the story of Adel Termos -- and others like him -- has touched my heart so deeply that I feel his is a name we must all know.
On Thursday evening of Nov. 12, Adel Termos was sitting near a cafe stand in a bustling open-air market during its busiest hours. He was with his daughter when an explosion went off in the market place. This was the first of the twin attacks. Amidst the instant chaos, eyewitnesses say Adel Termos spotted a man wearing a second bomber, who was preparing to enter a mosque, and tackled him to the ground causing the explosives to detonate:
"There are many, many families, hundreds probably, who owe their completeness to his sacrifice" - Elie Fares, Physical in Beirut
Termos acted in utter selflessness. He went against the human instinct of survival and preservation and instead made the ultimate sacrifice for his daughter as well as the hundreds of people he saved. To call him a "hero" does not seem a remarkable enough term for what this man did.
In a time when the world seems to be falling apart as terrorism strikes from all corners, reeking havoc in capitals such Beirut (Lebanon), Paris (France), Bamako (Mali, as of Thursday, Nov. 19), and all the other yet unknown places, the actions of such a brave individual [whose instinct it was to throw himself in the path of death and destruction with the intention of saving others] kindles a beacon of hope. The hope that humanity is alive, and that benevolence will triumph over terror. Termos is a name we must all learn and his sacrifice is an act we must never forget.