Dennis Zine and Eric Garcetti with Beirut Vice Mayor Tawfik Kfuri and Mayor Abdel Mounimariss, from Garcetti's CD-13 Flickr page
As things look pretty grim right now in Lebanon, it's astounding to think that just earlier this month City Council president Eric Garcetti and member Dennis Zine were in Beirut, formally welcoming it as Los Angeles' newest sister city.
In the midst of the terrible turn of events there, I'd actually forgotten about Garcetti and Zine's trip, until Blogging.la mentioned it.
Before leaving for Beirut at the end of June, Garcetti wrote on his blog:
A bustling city of over 1.5 million residents, Beirut serves as a model of diversity. Arabs, Palestinians, Kurds, and Armenians live side-by-side and converse in languages ranging from French and English to Arabic and Armenian. Councilmember Zine and I will be meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Seniora, Minister of Interiro Ahmand Fatfat, and many other official, religious, and social leaders as we work to broaden our ties with Beirut and Lebanon in general.
The Sister City program continues to open dialogue between cities and between cultures. It provides student and professional exchange opportunities and strengthens international ties. The dynamic relationship between Beirut and Los Angeles will continue to flourish. You can track our progress on the Los Angeles-Beirut Sister City website, providing updates on news, events, and opportunities associated with the Sister City Agreement.
Zine and Garcetti returned to L.A. early in July, right before tensions began to escalate there. But according to Blogging.la, three members of Garcetti's delegation are still trapped in Lebanon.