After the Lebanon skies lit up for the New Year celebrations, news circulated on social media of the extraordinary recovery of a young mother in her twenties, Liliane Shaito, who had been in a coma since Beirut’s port explosion.
The positive news was shared by multiple media and social media platforms and sparked hope and joy among the Lebanese.
Hours later, the optimistic trend was quickly refuted when the news came that Liliane had shown only minor improvements.
Her sister explained to the media that Liliane is still not fully conscious. She cannot speak or get up from her hospital bed, but she can move her hands and feet, which was impossible months ago.
Liliane’s name became increasingly popular on social media for a reason beyond her coma that fueled people’s outrage.
Liliane will hold her newborn baby before August 4th. Credits: Saudi24 News
This is their story:
Liliane, an expat with her husband in Africa, came to Lebanon to give birth to their first child, who was surrounded by her family. According to her husband, they lived with his family in Lebanon. Two months after the birth of her boy, she went to Beirut for the first time to do some shopping, including a birthday present for her husband.
That day was August 4th, Judgment Day, when Beirut’s port exploded, killing nearly half of the capital and hundreds of people.
The shock wave from the explosion hit Liliane in Beirut souks, hurled her across the floor and dropped her over the broken glasses of a shop that had just been destroyed. Her injuries were so bad, her skull was broken and part of her brain oozed out that she was locally believed dead.
Illustrative purposes only – Photo: AFP
Amid the general shock and the resulting apocalyptic chaos, Liliane was left unattended. According to her father, no one dared to help her because of the severity of her injuries and “many thought she was dead”.
“It happened that a friendly woman was next to her, who felt her pulse and learned that she was still alive. She refused to leave and called someone to take her to the nearest hospital, ”he explained.
The overwhelmed hospital initially refused to accept her because of her serious injury. “It was impossible for her to live,” said Liliane’s father, but her husband forcibly took her to the hospital and carried her to the operating room to save her life.
However, Lilianne fell into a coma where her life came to a standstill for almost 5 months.
A hospital in Beirut – Al-Jazeera, devastated by the explosion
According to her sister Noelle, Liliane is slowly recovering. She can open and move her eyes and see who is talking to her directly. She is also able to open her mouth and eat herself, which indicates a positive improvement in her voluntary actions.
“It was a wonderful day when we told Liliane a joke because she thought she couldn’t hear us, but she laughed in response,” Liliane’s sister said cheerfully to LBCI.
Unfortunately, Liliane’s situation went beyond her serious injuries and months in a coma. While in a coma, her husband entrusted the child to his family before returning to work in Africa. He reportedly considered Liliane brain dead due to her severe condition.
I was told the whole story about Liliane Chaito last night. She is a member of my family.
It’s so disgusting what your in-laws do. She deserves so much better. A poor innocent woman who did not ask for anything and almost died.
– iv.👾 (ivNivineeee) January 3, 2021
His family took the baby and never let Liliane’s family see them or take them to his mother. That’s in spite of doctors allegedly recommending his proximity to his mother to aid in her recovery.
The case took social media by storm as the Lebanese public began demanding the baby’s return to its mother. Her family, supported by the head of the Lebanese NGO Dignity, Joe Maalouf, had to fight for their rights on her behalf.
They succeeded in getting a court order that forced Liliane’s parents-in-law to let the child visit the recovering mother for at least four hours a day and forbid the husband and his family to travel abroad with the child.
Lilian Shaito, who is gradually recovering from the explosion in Beirut, needs her young child because it is her strength to become stronger. Today a court ruling prohibits travel on their son’s behalf, forcing the man’s family to give the boys 4 hours a day to God # Lilian_Hejdah_ for their son Lilian A story of hope and we are all with her ♥ ️ pic.twitter.com/ FdlIXDGTrW
– Salman Andary (@salmanonline) January 2, 2021
According to Joe Maalouf, who communicated directly with the husband, there were no marital problems between him and his wife prior to the incident. The husband just thought the child would take better care of his own family.
At least that’s what he said.
It is to be understood here that this is not a case of abduction by the in-laws as the law in other countries would see it.
It is painful that Lebanese laws across the various sect courts often give the father custody of children who can place the child with his family or whoever he wants.
AP Photo / Hussein Malla
Somehow the breeder of life herself has no right to her own children when a man is involved.
Such situations, as in the case of divorce, are numerous in Lebanon and continue to destroy the lives of mothers and their children in a patriarchal society governed by adverse laws that neglect or neglect women.
Liliane’s story is one of many of those unfair Lebanon continues to witness. Fortunately, after strong pressure from the public, her family and Joe Maalouf, the case reached a judge of her sect who showed some mercy … and yet only gave her child back four hours a day …