Paramedic Who Died in Beirut Explosion Is a Symbol of Lebanon’s Grief



He pleaded with her to run for cover, relatives said later, and she did, but too late. The last image Mr. Karaan saw of his fiancée was her shoes pounding on pavement as she sought safety. And then, a blast.

“My beautiful bride. Our wedding was to be held on June 6, 2021,” he wrote Wednesday in his online message, accompanied by a photo of her posing proudly in her paramedic’s uniform. Instead, it will be “tomorrow, my love.”

“I loved you, love you and will always love you,” it went on, “until I am reunited with you where we’ll continue our journey together.”

Trained as a nurse, Ms. Fares decided in 2018 to enter the civil service. She craved the job stability and social benefits of a government career, she told relatives, after she and her two sisters watched her father, an aluminum welder, and her mother, a schoolteacher, struggle to make ends meet.

She grew up in the village of Al Qaa, in northern Lebanon, on the border with Syria, and dreamed of opportunities and security it could not provide. In 2016, residents said, at the height of the Islamic State’s rampage across the Middle East, the militants stormed into Al Qaa, killed five of its residents and wounded dozens more.

A cousin of Ms. Fares, awakened by the attack, rushed out to to help his neighbors and was one of those killed in the fighting.

For many people from her village, her death was too much to bear, apparently stemming not from the external threats that have long plagued Lebanon, but from the internal ills of government corruption and indifference.



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