LBCI anchorwoman May Chidiac who was severely maimed in a bomb attack has returned home to a high-level reception, and vowed to "be a scream in the face of the criminals."
Leaning on a stick Chidiac on Tuesday walked down the steps of a plane at the Rafik Hariri International airport to be greeted by cabinet ministers, colleagues, friends and a police guard of honor.
"I cannot describe my joy today as I stand before you," said Chidiac, who lost her left arm and left leg when a bomb planted under her vehicle exploded on September 25.
The blast was one of more than a dozen explosions that have mainly targeted prominent opponents of Syrian influence in Lebanon.
Wearing her trademark pink, a beaming Chidiac inspected the guard of honor and waved to the well-wishers who had come to welcome her back from her 9-month stay France, where she was receiving treatment for her injuries.
Fitted with a prosthetic arm and leg, Chidiac gave an emotional and defiant speech in the airport’s VIP lounge that was broadcast on several Lebanese television stations.
The wounds are in the body, but the tongue is in very good shape and the heart loves you," Chidiac said, adding she would shortly return to her political talk show "Nharkon Said" or "Good Day."
I promise you that I will be the voice of the martyrs … the voice of the desperate … I will be the scream in the face of the criminals," she said.
Chidiac acknowledged she was frustrated that those behind the bombing campaign are "still at large, happy with what their hands have done."
But, she added, "in the end, the truth will reveal itself because the Lebanese people are longing for life, justice and freedom."
Her welcoming party included representatives of President Emile Lahoud and Prime Minister Fouad Saniora as well as several figures who had been personally affected by the bombing campaign.
Defense Minister Elias Murr, who survived a car bombing last year, and Telecommunications Minister Marwan Hamadeh, who was wounded in a 2004 car bombing, were present at the airport. So too were Siham Tueni, the widow of An Nahar General Manager Gebran Tueni, and Giselle Khoury, the widow of An Nahar columnist Samir Kassir.
The four Red Cross workers who nursed Chidiac immediately after the bomb blast joined the reception.
From the airport, Chidiac drove to the mountains northeast of Beirut to attend a mass at the monastery of Saint Charbel. En route, a crowd in the port city of Byblos halted her convoy and showered it with rose petals.
The charismatic anchorwoman has repeatedly credited St. Charbel with saving her life. She has recalled that she visited the monastery hours before the bombing. When the bomb exploded, she was leaning back to arrange the icons and holy oil that she had bought at the monastery, and she believes this reduced the impact of the explosion on her body.
Nobody has been arrested for the attack on Chidiac or the other explosions. Anti-Syrian groups have accused Damascus of being behind the bombings including the assassination of ex-premier Rafik Hariri last year. But the Syrian government has denied involvement.
Source: Daily Star