On Aug. 4, 2020, ammonium nitrate exposed at the port of Beirut, Lebanon, killing 181 deaths and 6,000 injuries.
On Aug. 3, 2020. Langley resident Dr. Ted Siverns published his first book – a humour novel Laughing in Lebanon: Stories of Jiha & Friends.
“The timing for the release of the book, the day before the Beirut explosion, turned laughing to crying,” Siverns admitted. “Already there were serious concerns about the economy, especially food shortages, medical supplies and a deteriorating situation compounded by the needs of the many Syrian refugees.”
Siverns and his wife Betty had first left Kelowna for Beirut in 1986 – remaining there for the next three years.
“For whatever reason qualified faculty were reluctant to live in Beirut during the civil war,” he recalled. “With a PhD in Biblical Studies (McGill) and, I suppose, a sense of adventure, I responded to the request to teach at The Near East School of Theology.”
Siverns said Beirut was not a holiday resort. but what kept him going was the fact students from the Middle East and North Africa were ready and willing to learn.
“If I should describe life at that time in Beirut, you would think I was exaggerating and probably lying, so I shall simply say [it was] very interesting,” Siverns added.
Now settled in Langley, Siverns said he has wrote a lot through the years, mainly journal and other articles intended for academics.
He additionally presented a lecture called Humour and the Preacher, along with articles on the parables of Jesus, which he purposely takes the gloom out of to make for an exciting read.
Laughing in Lebanon: Stories of Jiha & Friends is his first book and follows a wise and comical character, detailing their life principally lived in and around the Middle East.
“It is my hope that my readers will enjoy the humour and perhaps learn something about the story-telling traditions of the Middle East,” Siverns explained, hoping the book may provide some comfort during a difficult time.
Laughing in Lebanon: Stories of Jiha & Friends is available as a Kindle e-book and on Amazon.
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