‘My Return from Death’




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In the sunny gesture of a midday sun, the cafe in building one is peaceful and vacant. Therein awaits Skyline student Simon ElHage, a Lebanese immigrant with the best of both worlds beneath his belt.

You wonder… both worlds? Yes, but not just here in the U.S. and the Mid-east, but here on Earth and in awry in the afterlife as well.

ElHage, a Lebanese Christian, was shot in the back of the head and clinically pronounced dead. Fifteen days later, he awoke from a coma and slowly restored himself. The incredible story is told in his recently published autobiography, “My Return from Death”.

Born in Lebanon and raised in the minority category as a Christian in his country. The prime religion of the mid-east is Islam, and Christians are outnumbered. ElHage was merely seven years old at the start of the Lebanese religious civil war (1975), and recalls mixed feelings of confusion and betrayal.

“I grew up in the middle of the world,” said ElHage. “I was seven years old when the Lebanese civil war started. My city was in the middle of the war. My building was the first building on the front. I stood right between our fire and enemy fire.”

As difficult as it is to be at such a young age and witness the start of a conflict, imagine growing up and taking part in it.

“I couldn’t understand why they were destroying my building, my city, my country,” recalls ElHage. “I didn’t have an explanation. But it stuck with me and it affected my personality.”

At the age of nine, ElHage began planning a way to possibly one day rid the country of guns. By 1990, ElHage was a part of a Christian anti-terrorist group that gave up their weapons for good. On the contrary, Hezbollah and Syria refused to give up their weapons.

The battle was long and hard, but eventually, the group ElHage belonged to, The Lebanese Christian Forces, was disbanded in 1994. Soon after that, ElHage’s life would change permanently. One afternoon, while picking up his fiancee from the university she attended, a group of soldiers caught him, and shot him in the back of the head. He was then taken to jail rather than a hospital, and left to die for 21 days. When he was released, he was taken to a hospital where he fell into a coma for 15 days. At that moment, there was no hope. Simon ElHage was gone for good. Miraculously, through prayers and the faith of his family, he came back to life a whole new person, claiming to have seen “the other side.”

“My experience is very personal to me,” ElHage says. “I was in a different dimension. I can’t explain it in words.”

ElHage remembers his family had his funeral arrangements set and ready to go. The news of his sudden return was a miracle not only to medical workers, but to his family as well.

ElHage was as fresh as a new born baby.

“I couldn’t speak or see or hear or walk,” recalls ElHage. “I had to re-learn everything from the beginning”.

ElHage went on to write a book; an autobiography of his life so far. Soon after its publishing, the Lebanese government arrested him and destroyed all known copies of the book.

“They came to my home,” ElHage says. “They took me, they arrested me. They told me I couldn’t publish my book any longer.”

Finally, in 2002, ElHage’s mother begged him to come to the U.S. and live in peace. Here, he had his book translated from Arabic to English. Although he is free to do a lot more here than where he once was, living in peace is a bit of a stretch. When asked about prejudice and racist behavior toward him, ElHage says he has experienced his share.

“Too much,” ElHage laughed in good spirits. “When they shot me [back home], they didn’t just shoot my head, they shot my heart. They shot my spirit. Here, they don’t know. God forgive them, because they don’t know my background.”

ElHage has a bachelor’s degree, and is continuing his education here in the states. When he first came here, he didn’t speak any English. He soon learned the language, as well as four others, and realized the fact that he has work to do.

“[I realized] I had a duty here in the U.S.” ElHage explains. “To publish my book and to tell people never give up on a dream.”

For more information, visit http://www.rosedogbooks.com/myrefrde.html.