UNIFIL today hosted about 100 children of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) personnel at its headquarters in Naqoura for special musical performances by the young visitors, joined by UN peacekeepers.
Organized in coordination with the Association of the Martyr Lieutenant Colonel Sobhi Al Akoury, a charity named for a LAF officer killed during the Nahr El Bahred battle in 2007, the event offered a platform for young children to enjoy at the start of the holiday season.
While the chorus of some 40 children sang Christmas songs in five languages, UNIFIL peacekeepers joined them in the chorus and with band performances.
UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Stefano Del Col called it a “special and unique” event.
“UNIFIL fully supports its (the Association’s) aim, which is to assist the families of the Lebanese Armed Forces and in particular those of the soldiers fallen in service,” said the UNIFIL head. “This special occasion intends to carry a far-reaching message of peace and harmony to all Lebanese but especially to you, boys and girls: always keep in mind that your generation is the future of Lebanon and your actions and behaviours will make you proud to live in a more peaceful, just and integrated country.”
He added that events like this make UNIFIL peacekeepers, serving for peace while being far away from their families and friends, feel “a little more at home.”
Besides the visiting children and UNIFIL peacekeepers, the event was also attended by the LAF’s South Litani Sector Commander Brigadier General Maroun Al-Qobayati.
While expressing appreciation for hosting the event, the President of the Association, Lea Akhoury, said each of the children has an “honourable story” that tells heroism and tragedy of a family.
“However, despite their sadness, they came from all over Lebanon to be a message of hope and make music a language of peace for the whole world,” said Ms. Akhoury. “I wish they would emulate the positive example of (the) UNIFIL Force Commander and soldiers in terms of their dedication to the peace in this country.”
Founded in 2008, the Association aims to support the children of the fallen LAF personnel “to heal their wounds and to feel their suffering.”