BEIRUT: With more than a hundred supporters cheering him on from the shore, paraplegic Michael Haddad successfully climbed and rapelled down Raouche’s Pigeon Rock Sunday morning to raise awareness about pollution and overdevelopment along Lebanon’s coastline.
Haddad, who was paralyzed from the chest down at the age of 6 in a jet ski accident, was able to hoist himself up the face of Pigeon Rock with several members of the Lebanese Army spotting him.
The event coincided with World’s Oceans Day.
From the shore, friends, environmental activists and politicians watched Haddad progress.
“It was Michael’s idea to climb the rock, because he wanted to defy his disability,” said Iffat Edris Chatila, president of Operation Big Blue Association, which hosted the event.
MP Ghassan Moukheiber lauded Haddad’s effort.
“This [event] draws the attention of all politicians, municipal and central authorities to care for the rights of the handicapped and to empower handicapped people,” Moukheiber told The Daily Star.
This is not the first time Haddad has pushed his physical abilities to the limit for environmental causes. Last year, Haddad walked 19 kilometers through the Cedar Forest in North Lebanon to raise awareness about the need to maintain Lebanese ecosystems.