Maria's Lebanon fears

THE trouble in the Middle East is too close for comfort for one former Weston girl. Maria Cawson, who went to Wyvern Community School, spent her weekends in Beirut when she was studying in nearby Syria. She has many friends who still live in the city whic

THE trouble in the Middle East is too close for comfort for one former Weston girl.Maria Cawson, who went to Wyvern Community School, spent her weekends in Beirut when she was studying in nearby Syria.She has many friends who still live in the city which has been bombed by Israel for several days and her fiance Firas is from Lebanon.Maria is currently living in Dubai with her fiance but they hope to return to Lebanon in the future. The 24-year-old said: "I have friends in Beirut and we are in touch. People are restricted to a few hours of electricity a night and our friends and family can't physically sleep because the bombing continues through the night, often a few hundred metres from their homes."Petrol stations, roads out of Lebanon, the airport, bus stations and transport networks have all been targeted which has effectively rendered the people utterly helpless."People in the West think of Beirut as a war zone but the civil war finished in 1990 so there have been 15 years of peace."Before attending Wyvern, Maria was a pupil at Corpus Christi Primary School. After studying for her A-levels at St Brendan's Sixth Form College in Bristol, she took a degree in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies at Durham University. It was while she was taking her degree she spent a year in Damascus in Syria.Her mum, Mags, lives in Whitecross Road and she has a brother Kris in Clevedon. Maria added: "We hoped to make Lebanon home in the future. But it may be a while before we can do that now.


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