This is Beirut

This is Beirut is designed to give voice to the millions of Lebanese who are suffering while the world sits silently. We are not interested in propagating hatred. We want the world to witness through the eyes of Lebanese citizens the destruction and the suffering that has been brought on in the name of defense. If you have a story, poem or letter to share, please email amyabdou@gmail.com We will work together to end this violence.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Kofi Annan calls for Israel to lifts it's blockade

Israel should stop humilating Lebanon Warning of a “race against time” to rebuild Lebanon after the recent devastating month of conflict, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General today urged donors to provide funds for the task, as he repeated calls for Israel to lift its air and sea blockade, saying it severely hinders relief efforts.
“Aid when there is a blockade is like putting someone on life support when there is a foot on their wind pipe. We need an immediate end to the blockade and a political solution to the underlying causes of the conflict.”

An Activist's Journey: From Palestine to Jerusalem

Listen to this interview with a Palestinian woman who lives in Jerusalem and participated in a Peace conference in Lebanon in July. Ironically, the conference which include participants from many different nations was dismissed once the bombing began.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Lebanese women grieve the loss of their loved ones

Lebanese women grieve over the coffins of family members removed from a mass grave and draped with the Lebanese national flag in the southern port city of Tyre, Lebanon, Thursday, Aug. 24, 2006. The bodies were to be buried in their home village of Marwaheen where they died July 15 following Israeli air strikes.
(AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Sign2Help petition

Dear all:
Please Visit http://www.sign2help.com and sign the petition. By signing the petition you will be donating 10 cents for free to the Lebanese children.

Every day Lebanese children are exposed to fear, violence, hunger, lack of water... Approximately 750.000 people have lost their houses and have sought refuge in overcrowded shelters with very limited electricity or access to water, or gathered in public areas.

By signing this petition you will help the Lebanese children and their parents to get clothes, food, medicine, protection and support. For every signature we get, you donate 10 cents to the Lebanese people in need. Our aim is to reach 10 million signatures that will translate into $1 million in funds.

Please help us spread the word in any way you can and invite your friends and family to do the same.

Thank you for your help,
Gilbert Hage
http://www.sign2help.com

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Removal of men from flight condemned

Passengers feared 'Asian' pair were terrorists· MP describes incident as hugely irrational.
by Alex Kumi Monday August 21, 2006 - The Guardian

Post War Diaries - Day 4


Dear World

August 17, 4th day of peace.

Peace is it? I wouldn't know.
They announced the ceasefire on Monday at 8:00 a.m. local time. And since then, I feel empty.

I don't know whether this is a dream or reality.
I don't know whether this month of war was a short nightmare, or, as a friend told me, that all these days of peace were just a long dream.

I am just wondering where I was the last month. Somewhere ugly, somewhere beautiful, I wouldn't know because most of the time I could not even feel myself. All I could feel was something constantly crumbling within me and a permanent heaviness I could barely drag behind me.

The war is over now, there's nothing to fear. And I don't want to believe it because I believed it once, I believed it for fifteen years and got betrayed again. I stopped trusting peace and gathered a permanent readiness for war situations, a permanent readiness for destruction and death. And it is okay, it can never go wrong.

Now, we don't see the Israelis bombing on television. They stopped bombing and we will not miss them. The refugees on my building's first floor have left. They all left from the moment fire ceased, ignoring the israelis' threats and the warnings from unexploded objects and potential bombs left behind in scary quantities and went back home.

Home sweet home. How sweet it is to find the four walls of your house gathered in mass of rubble that covers potential bodies buried underneath? This is the case of hundreds of families who, despite all that, bowed down the moment they reached their villages and kissed the soil. A soil more precious then ever.

Slowly, things are going back to normal. Slowly, televisions are re-integrating non-war shows such as translated Mexican movies that emerged as a great trend after the civil war. It is funny to see Mexican-moving lips, with an Arabic voice over along with my dear Flash News Grey Band (Yes, it's still alive) numbering the dead they found under the rubble today, the total number of war victims, along with what Junblat said, what Hariri said, what Lahoud said, what Olmert said, what Bush said, what Rays said, what Sanioura said, what Nasrallah said, what Asad said. So many people with so many things to say, it mesmerizes me because there is only one thing that needs to be said: that the world has officially gone crazy.

I am out of things to say, really. I am simply writing whatever is crossing my head. I simply hope that the violence is truly over. There was too much death and too much suffering, much more than anyone could have handled. Yet we have handled it and we are getting up on our feet, and it won't take long before we get along with our lives. Because, simply, life is the only thing we want and we won't give it up for anything.

I hope this is the last thing I write about the war. Whatever I have written before is useless now. Maybe at the time it was useful, but right now it is totally pointless. There is no point in looking back and regretting that we didn't do anything earlier. So better discard them or read them as a story, a fiction. This is all they are now, a fiction.

This is all this war is now, a fiction.
1300 dead so far, but families are still lying under the rubble, bodies waiting to be uncovered and buried.
Slowly, the world will forget. We will just be another set of numbers, a grey memory everyone avoids to remember, a set of dates and events in some history book that a child memorizes late at night because he has to, not because he wants to.

But we will not forget. This war has been imprinted in the deepest level of our senses and even if someday our mind decides to discard it, fireworks will still traumatize us, and television Flash News will still carry the mesmerizing threat they have been carrying for the past month.

Outside, the generator is still on. And even if someday electricity is granted all day and night, my dear generator will still be waiting outside, just in case the city goes dark again. And I will hear its roaring once again, this soft roaring that has now become my silence.

I hope nobody ever experiences what we have experienced this past month.
But somewhere, I hope you do, if you have the nerves for it. There's nothing more interesting that seeing the world madness eating you up, and then slowly receding… or not. How would I know?

All that I know, is that I know nothing.

With Love,
Hopefully my last post

A Lebanese Citizen

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Israel-Hezbollah War Endangers Archaeological Sites, Ecosystems














August 15, 2006 (Bloomberg) The Roman temple complex in the Lebanese town of
Baalbek has somehow endured the region's centuries of bloody-minded
conflict. But it may not survive the latest bombing raids of Israeli fighter
planes, which destroyed two buildings in the town square and damaged the
Temple of Bacchus.

The well-preserved structure, which has withstood wars and earthquakes since
its construction in 150 A.D., was cracked in the raids. The nearby Temple of
Jupiter, the largest religious structure of the Roman Empire, is so far
unscathed. Both buildings are among the great examples of Roman architecture
still standing.

Baalbek is just one of many archaeological treasure troves in the Beqaa
Valley to fall victim to shelling. In addition, the ancient city of Tyre,
with its important archaelogical sites and architecture, also has come under
fire. There is no information yet on possible damage to the city's Roman and
Phoenician ruins, according to Gaetano Palumbo, director of archaeological
conservation for the World Monuments Fund.

Beirut and Sidon, about 27 miles to the south, both have important historic
buildings going back to the 10th to 13th centuries, Palumbo says. Among
those structures is Chehabi Citadel in Hasbaya, which is on the fund's 2006
most-endangered list. A fortress for the armies of the First Crusade in the
11th century, the Citadel was taken over in the 12th by the Chehabi emirs,
whose descendants occupy it to this day.

Damage in Arqa

Israeli bombing raids destroyed the modern bridge at Arqa, about 62 miles
north of Beirut. Just 70 feet from that bridge, according to the Biblical
Archaeology Society, is an excavation site believed to have been damaged in
the pounding -- including Hellene and Iron Age pottery pieces and the
structures that house them.

Israel is also getting hammered. Archaeologist Ryan Byrne, speaking by
telephone from Memphis, Tennessee, says he was forced to leave Tel Dan, one
of the more important sites in the Golan Heights near the Israel-Lebanon
border, after two of Hezbollah's rockets hit a megalithic cemetery nearby.

The site, which chronicles some 9,000 years of human history, is better
known for the world's oldest intact arched gateway, a 4,000-year-old,
mud-brick structure now protected under a modern shelter but still quite
vulnerable to the errant missile.

Jeroboam's Altar

No real damage was done here, but Byrne and his team have packed it in and
postponed further work until next summer. Also on site is an altar set up by
King Jeroboam. ``Standing on top of it, you have a good view of the war,''
Byrne says.

Megiddo, or ``Armageddon'' as the Greeks like to call it, has been home to
37 different cities over thousands of years and is a trove of archaeological
treasure. Excavators can see -- and feel -- incoming missiles, but this
Unesco World Heritage Site has not been directly hit, yet.

Some Christians believe the Apocalypse is to take place here, with Megiddo a
staging area for the final battle between good and evil, according to the
Book of Revelation. Good is expected to prevail, a victory that will presage
the Rapture, in which the saved are rewarded with eternal paradise, while
the rest suffer the travails of a violent earthly existence.

Archaeology sites and ancient temples aren't the only cultural attractions
under fire. The Baalbeck International Festival shut down on July 12,
canceling the Eifman Ballet Theatre of St. Petersburg, the Budapest Symphony
Orchestra/Nice Opera joint production of ``Lucia di Lammermoor'' and a rock
concert by Deep Purple.

Environmental Toll

Another war casualty has been the environment. It will be a while before we
know the full extent of the ecological nightmare unleashed by the Israeli
strike on the power station in Jiyyeh, but we do know that at least 13,000
tons of oil have spread over 93 miles of the Mediterranean into Syrian
waters, a spill that could grow to three times that amount, at which point
it will reach Exxon Valdez proportions.

That oil slick, like the incontinent bombing from both sides, has no regard
for the sanctity of archaeology. Byblos, an ancient harbor 25 miles north of
Beirut renowned for its Canaanite ruins, is now tarred with oil. A few miles
to the north, a tremendous rock wall carved by the Phoenicians 2,800 years
ago to protect their ships docked off Batroun is likewise on the verge of
getting a horrific lube job. But a full assessment of the spillage -- let
alone cleanup efforts -- cannot even begin until the shelling stops
completely and Israel lifts its naval blockade.

Torching Forests

Israel, meanwhile, has its own eco-troubles. Forest fires -- hundreds of
them -- started by Hezbollah's wayward Katyushas have torched forests all
over Galilee and environs. Thousands of acres of grasslands in the Hula
Valley are toast, as are at least a half-million pine trees in the northern
Galilee hills.

Just hours before the U.N. cease-fire resolution was to go into effect,
Israeli defense forces continued to pound eastern Lebanon, while Hezbollah
lobbed hundreds of missiles into northern Israel. Israeli bombers also
dropped a more benign payload over Beirut, leaflets asking the Lebanese
people, ``Will you be able to pay this price again?''

The answer, I think, is obvious. Destruction of history is a price you pay
only once.

(Mike Di Paola writes about preservation and the environment for Bloomberg
News. The opinions expressed are his own.)

To contact the writer responsible for this story:
Mike Di Paola at mdipaola@nyc. rr.com.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Minutes before cease-fire goes into effect, Israel pounds Beirut

The US media has consistently referred to the war between Hizbollah and Israel and now the cease fire between Lebanon and Israel. The discourse suggests there were two armies of equal strength battling but Lebanon has never actually been at war with Israel. Now cease fire, so we can all breath a little bit easier, but who will be held responsible for the devastation of Lebanon. And minutes before the cease fire goes into effect, Israel continues their offensive. What does this say about the possibility of a lasting peace? Even those who supported the Israeli position must recognize the nature of these last minute attacks as working against the interests of a substainable peace.
(AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Put an end to the aggression

Fouad Siniora, Electronic Lebanon, 12 August 2006

Lebanese rescue workers search through the rubble for survivors after an Israeli air strike in the Shiyah district in south Beirut killed 31 persons, 8 August 2006. (MaanImages/Raoul Kramer)

Britain and Europe must take a lead in halting Israel's wanton destruction of my country

For a month now, as the international community has vacillated, Israel has besieged and ravaged Lebanon, creating a humanitarian and environmental disaster and shattering our infrastructure and economy. In the name of the Lebanese people, I again demand an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of Israeli troops. The international community has an obligation, under the UN charter, to defend Lebanon's sovereignty and protect our people under humanitarian law. Given the historic ties with our region, Lebanese look to Europe and Britain to take a lead through the UN in putting an end to this aggression.

Israel says this war is against Hizbullah, not Lebanon. But the Israeli terror is inflicted on all Lebanese. The indiscriminate murder of more than 1,100 Lebanese civilians (a third of them children), the massacres and "cleansing" of villages and the wanton destruction of our infrastructure are nothing short of criminal. One quarter of our population has been displaced. On behalf of all Lebanese, I demand an international inquiry into Israel's actions in Lebanon, and insist on reparations.

I have proposed a comprehensive seven-point peace plan, rooted in international law, which takes into account the interests of all parties to this conflict. It was adopted by the Lebanese council of ministers, which of course includes Hizbullah, and is supported by a broad national consensus.

There is, and should be, no military solution. The plan therefore calls for an immediate, unconditional and comprehensive ceasefire and the release of Lebanese and Israeli detainees; the withdrawal of the Israeli army behind the established "blue line" between the two states; a UN commitment to put the Shebaa Farms area and the Kfarshouba Hills under its jurisdiction until Lebanese sovereignty over them is settled; the extension of Lebanese government authority over its territory through its legitimate armed forces; an expansion of the UN international force in south Lebanon, with a wider mandate and scope of operation, to undertake humanitarian work and guarantee security; UN action to enforce the 1949 armistice agreement between Lebanon and Israel; and a commitment by the international community to support Lebanon's relief, reconstruction and development needs.

As part of the plan, the Lebanese government has decided to deploy 15,000 Lebanese troops in southern Lebanon as the sole military force in the area, alongside UN forces, the moment Israel pulls back to the international border.
The draft UN security council resolution proposed by the US and France failed to address the key points of our plan, and was rejected by all Lebanese. The idea of an international force being sent to Lebanon directly challenges our sovereignty, and we can never accept that. If the UN resolution is to have any chance of succeeding, it must not only take into account the wishes of the Lebanese people, but must address the root causes of this war: Israel's occupation of Lebanese territories and its perennial threat to Lebanon's security.

If Israel would realise that the peoples of the Middle East cannot be cowed into submission, that their will to resist grows ever stronger with each village destroyed and each massacre committed, it could also be a stepping stone to a final solution of the wider Arab-Israeli conflict. A political solution cannot, however, be implemented as long as Israel continues to occupy Arab land in Lebanon, Gaza, the West Bank and in the Syrian Golan Heights, and wages war on innocent people in Lebanon and Palestine.

Fouad Siniora is the prime minister of Lebanon. This article was originally published by The Guardian.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Collective punishment against Lebanese civilians



36 collective massacres occurred against the Lebanese civilians since the onset of the Israeli assault (from July 12-August 11). Israel violated all conventions related to the prohibition of collective punishment whereas it perpetrated voluntarily crimes against civilians and their properties, namely Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibiting collective punishment and Article 48 forbidding military actions against civilian populations and infrastructure. These collective massacres are as follows:

13 July : Dweir massacre killed a family of 12 members,

15 July : Marwaheen (Israel asked the inhabitants of this village to evacuate this village and while they were leaving the air strikes killed 22 of them),

16 July : 5 massacres in Tyre (an air raid struck a building killing 12 and injuring 50), Borj Shamali (5 persons amongst them 2 babies), Aytaroun (an air raid killed 11 persons, 10 of them are from the same family possessing the Canadian nationality), Abba (10 were killed most of them belong to the same family) and on the entrance of Abbassiyeh (9 were killed under the rubble)

17 July : Rmayleh (Chemical bombs were thrown on displaced convoy killing 12 and injuring many)

18 July : Aytaroun: an air strike hit a house where many were hiding killing 13, 6 of them were babies

19 July : 4 collective massacres: Nabi Sheet in North of Bekaa (two families of 8 members were killed under the rubble of a house), Maaraboun (three pickup trucks with agricultural workers were hit by an air strike killing 7), Tyre (air raids targeted residential areas killing 20 at least), Srifa (air strikes targeted 10 houses killing 27 and wounding 30 others, the victims remained several dauys under the rubble).

25 July: higher Nabatiyeh (an air strike targeted a residential house killing 7)

28 July : Haddatha (an air strike targeted a three-storey residential building killing 6 from the same family)

29 July: 2 massacres in Noumayriyeh (an air strike killed a family of 7 and their neighbor under the rubble) an Ayn Arab (an air raid killed 6 civilians and injured 3, many of them remained under the rubble for several days)

30 July : 2 massacres in Qana (an air strike targeted a three-storey residential building where more than fifteen persons were hiding from Hashem and Shalhoub families destroying it and killing them under the rubble) and Yaroun (6 members of the same family were killed: 3 women and 3 children from Khanafer family)

31 July : 3 massacres were revealed by the Israeli truce, in Hareess (16 corpses of two families were under the rubble of two residential houses), Halloussiyeh (more than 10 corpses for Mwanness family were still under the rubble), 12 corpses were found on the roads and inside vehicles between Qoleyleh and Al-Jebbeyn (one of them was a corpse of an eight-year old child)

2 August : The commandos operation on a hospital in Baalbeck killed 13 civilians, including women, children and Syrian workers

4 August : One of the bloodiest day after Qana: 3 massacres in Qaa (28 Syrian agriculture workers were killed while they were packaging peaches), Taybeh (a two-storey residential building was targeted by Israeli air raid killing 7 who were elderly and unable to leave their homes, Ayta Shaab (an air strike targeted a house making 10 victims)

6 August : 2 massacres in Ansar (an air strike targeted the house of Ibrahim Assi killing him, his wife and their two daughters as well as their neighbors, while the rescue workers were removing the corpses an other air strike hit the house and the rubble), Al-Jubbeyn (this village was heavily targeted by air strikes that killed Kassem Akeel, his wife, his daughter and another victim)

7 August : BLACK MONDAY: Air strikes hit heavily many areas while the Arab foreign ministers were holding their meeting: Houla (6 air strikes targeted the Husseini club in the village where many people from the village sought a safe haven after the destruction of their houses. The premises was destroyed on them, 5 were killed while 60 were rescued safe miraculously), Ghassaniyeh in Zahrani area (an air strike hit at dawn at Abdallah Khalil Tohmeh two-storey building killing him, his wife and his two sons as two brothers and two others making the death toll 8), Ghaziyeh (air strikes hit residential neighborhoods killing 15), Shiyyah (an air strike hit a residential building in the crowded Al-Hajjaj area killing 56, especially that there were in the building displaced from Beer Al-Abed, Hayy Maawad and Haret Hreyk), Breetal (air strikes targeted residential houses killing 13)

8 August : Air strikes resumed on Ghaziyeh during funeral procession of the previous day's 15 victims killing 14 and injuring 24

9 August : Mashgharah (an air strike targeted a four-storey building killing 8 persons from the same family

11 August : Akkar in North Lebanon (an air strike targeted at dawn Al-Hayssa bridge killing 11 and injuring 15)

Mrabba Electroni[c]que: Global Lebanon Web Jam. Stop the war!

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>Mrabba Electroni[c]que: Global Lebanon Web Jam. Stop the war!>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


!!!!please note time change!!!!!!!

Saturday, August 12 2006, 15:00 - 19:00 PM CEST [--> 16:00 - 20:00 EEST]

http://beirut.streamtime.org
http://streamtime.org

Live audio/video streaming transmission from Waag Society in Amsterdam,
in direct connection with Beirut and surrounding localities. The event
was initiated by Streamtime, a web support campaign for Iraqi bloggers.

After one month of violence and carnage, this Global Web Jam brings
together live interviews and conversations, video clips, cartoons and
blog blurbs, soundscapes, DJs and VJs, a lively mix of information,
art, protest, party and reflection. We feature the voices, images
stories, reports and initiatives from Lebanon and beyond, with
participation of activists, artists, bloggers, journalists, musicians
and many others.

This is a call for an immediate end to the violence and destruction, in
defiance of war, and in search for solidarity.

With contributions and participation of: Wahid el-Solh, Mounira
el-Solh, Sonya Knox, Naeem Mohaiemen, Kanj Hamadi, Jim Quilty, Randa
Mirza, Mazen Kerbaj, Raed Yassin, Charbel Haber, Nathalie Fallaha,
Henri Gemayel, Fadi Tufayli, Tariq Shadid, Peter Speetjens, Chalaan
Charif, Martin Siepermann, Arjan El Fassed, Ruud Huurman, Kadir van
Lohuizen, Thomas Burkhalter and Anna Trechsel, Beirut DC, Tarek Atoui
and many others.

This Global Web Jam is an initiative of Jo van der Spek, Geert Lovink
and Cecile Landman (from Streamtime), Nat Muller, Paul Keller and Denis
Jaromil Rojo in Amsterdam; and Tarek Atoui and Rawya el-Chab in Beirut.

info: http://beirut.streamtime.org | mail: beirut@dischosting.nl

This project is supported by Waag Society, Novib (Dutch Oxfam) and X-Y
Solidarity Fund

War diaries, days 30 & 31

Dear World

August 10 and 11.

It has been a month since the first Israeli assault happened. Since then, time has stopped, our lives have halted and we have been living in a constant expectation of our own death.

In celebration of the one-month war anniversary, I would like to update you on the numbers, although I don't think that the quantity of victims is relevant. The blindness with which our dear neighbors are bombing us is as revolting whether it hits one or one million persons.

1100 deaths

Over 3200 wounded

1 million displaced.

And the world is still watching, of course. More passively than ever.

Yesterday, around noon, as I was working on designing calendars in my office (it is as fulfilling as designing Ramadan Cards, as a matter of fact), we heard a huge bombing sound, closer than any that we had heard so far. I would like to report to you some of the conversations that happened after that little event. Bitter sweet talks. However, if you don't feel like reading them, please scroll down until the line of stars that marks their end.

CONVERSATION 1

Medium: cell phone

Me: "Hello? Mum?"

Mum: "Yes dear"

Me: "Where are you?"

Mum: "Home"

Me: "No, you are lying. I called home and there's no one there"

Mum: "I am in the parking"

Me: "You are in the Military Beach Club!"

Mum: Hahahaha, yes.

Me: "Mum!! I told you that the sea is polluted and you shouldn't be anywhere near it! Didn't you hear the bombing?"

Mum: "Yes, dear. It's the suburbs again."

Me: "No mum, they are saying it's the old lighthouse. It's meters away from you!"

Mum: "Really? Funny… Maya, I am okay. Stop panicking!"

Me: "Mum, please watch out"

Mum: "Okay dear. Bye"

Me: "Bye"

Mum (thinking I hanged up, talking to her friend) "She always panics whenever she hears an explosion!"

CONVERSATION 2

Medium: MSN Messenger

Anonymous says: (11:58:20 AM)

maya

heard the sound?

? says: (11:58:27 AM)

yes

but no clue where

Anonymous says: (11:58:46 AM)

dawi infijar kawi 3ala shate2 el rawsheh (was heard a strong explosion in Raoucheh)

arabia just wrote it

? says: (11:59:39 AM)

shit

raoucheh?

Anonymous says: (12:00:44 PM)

hek katabo (This is what they said)

nobody knows still

? says: (12:01:07 PM)

mum bel hemmeim el 3asskareh, 2al ma fi chi (Mum is in the Military Beach Club. She says there's nothing)

Anonymous says: (12:01:31 PM)

keef hal 7akeh!

kteer aweh el sot (Huh? The sound was too strong)

? says: (12:01:41 PM)

ma ba3rif (Dunno…)

Anything else on the news?

Anonymous says: (12:05:08 PM)

nothing

browsing

? says: (12:06:01 PM)

ouch

Anonymous says: (12:10:36 PM)

darabo el manara el 2adeemeh lol (They hit the old lighthouse lol)

manara

? says: (12:10:48 PM)

ana sme3et el manar (I heard it was the Manar TV Station)

oooooh mbala

? says: (12:16:05 PM)

non mich manara chaklo (It seems it's not Manara)

my friend's aunt lives there. nothing

Anonymous says: (12:16:23 PM)

el manara el 2adeemeh (The old Lighthouse)

it's on tb

Anonymous says: (12:16:26 PM)

TV

? says: (12:16:34 PM)

oooh

3am bisawwwrouwa? (Are they filming it?)

Anonymous says: (12:16:47 PM)

non

bass all tvs wrote it

isn't it right next to hamem el 3askareh (The Military Beach Club)?

? says: (12:17:01 PM)

Mbala (Yes)

Anonymous says: (12:17:10 PM)

weird

all wrote it

? says: (12:17:16 PM)

ana my mum is getting a tan 

Anonymous says: (12:17:25 PM)

its 200m away max from where i am

? says: (12:17:33 PM)

ouahahaha

? says: (12:17:37 PM)

funny

Anonymous says: (12:18:09 PM)

yeah

Anonymous says: (12:18:12 PM)

na2azzouneh (They scared me)

? says: (12:19:17 PM)

looool

? says: (12:19:22 PM)

al mod7ik al moubki (The "funny-sad")

Anonymous says: (12:20:12 PM)

they are correcting

Anonymous says: (12:20:17 PM)

some people are saying 2 trucks

? says: (12:20:25 PM)

where?

? says: (12:20:33 PM)

kamen manara? (Also near Manara?)

Anonymous says: (12:20:46 PM)

3al rawsheh yeah

w kassafo 3amsheet (They also hit Amsheet)

haydeh ba3ed Jbeil (After Jbeil)

w dad is going now to the north!

am scared

? says: (12:21:01 PM)

ouch

? says: (12:21:04 PM)

check on him

Anonymous says: (12:22:13 PM)

future sawwar el manara el 2adeemeh (Future TV is filming the old lighthouse)

? says: (12:22:32 PM)

eh

so, manara it is?

Anonymous says: (12:25:23 PM)

yes

Anonymous says: (12:25:28 PM)

Future 3am bitssawwir (Future TV is filming)

Anonymous says: (12:25:31 PM)

put future

? says: (12:25:33 PM)

ktir damage?

Anonymous says: (12:25:33 PM)

lol

sorry

? says: (12:25:38 PM)

victims?

Anonymous says: (12:25:39 PM)

enno 2 missiles

Anonymous says: (12:25:43 PM)

nothing yet

Anonymous says: (12:26:23 PM)

Borj el 2ize3a el libneniyeh el 2adeem.. (The old Lebanese Radio tower)

Anonymous Moz says: (12:26:28 PM)

between college and LAU

? says: (12:26:42 PM)

oh

CONVERSATION 3

Medium: mouth

Location: Office

Person 1:"So, you thought it was Dahieh?"

Person 2: "Yes... but the sound was different."

Person 1: "How different?"

Person 2: "When they bomb Dahieh, it's usually Bwouhouuuuf. Now, it was Bwihiiiiiiiijjjjjj."

Yes, We are becoming experts in bomb sounds. And we are proud of it!

I didn't sleep tonight. They bombed the southern suburbs around a million times, and I am sure they were using a new type of bombs because it felt like the bomb was exploding few centimeters away from us. No electricity to check the news, mum puts on her walkman and hears what the exact location is.

After a light morning sleep, I wake up with a pumping heart and spend my day jumping off my chair every time a door closes or a pencil falls on the floor. I have crossed the limits of alertness and entered the realm of hysteria, where a person sneezing can make me think that a bomb exploded nearby. I wish I was deaf, truly.

Today, at around ten in the morning, the Israeli threw some flyers over the Sanayeh Garden, that said: (I am actually holding one in my hand)

"Nasrallah is bluffing you and hiding from you the huge losses in the rows of Hezbollah. Here is a list of some of the deceased's names that Nasrallah left out and of which he denied the death." Followed by a list of 90 to 92 names in alphabetical order. You will find a snapshot of the flyer attached to this mail.

When I was in Kindergarten, once landed on my desk a small note from one of my classmates that said: "Lana is in love with Maher, but she is hiding it from everyone. This is what she wrote on the bathroom door: 'Maher I want to marry you'"

Flyers are really very strategic and intelligent means of communications, especially when the message they carry is truly mature and well thought of. I really see that our lovely neighboring state is nothing but baby-brains with plenty of weapons. What can we expect from such people except destruction and more destruction? It's just like giving a gun to a child and letting him mess with it.

The Marjeyioun hospital closed its doors today because of a total lack of resources.

And the world is still watching.

I am considering sending flyers to the rest of the world that say:

"God is bluffing you and hiding from you the huge losses in human beings' brain cells despite the impressive-nonetheless useless- technological improvement. The truth is that we are in the Age of Stupidity and Mediocrity, and that we are far behind the Stone Age in terms of Human Intelligence. Here is a list of the 'Historical Events' that you chose to forget, ignore, deny or regret." Followed by a list of all the wars and massacres since 1950, in alphabetical order of course.

After all, what is more important than the ABC of life?

Happy One Month

A Lebanese Citizen

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Pressure is Working...

Dear Friends,

As the awful civilian death toll rises above 1000 in Lebanon and Israel, people around the world are seeking a place to voice their frustration and concern. Over the last 4 days, 200,000 people from 148 countries have signed the ceasefire petition. At this rate, we could soon be the largest global online petition in history.

The pressure is working. The global outcry over this crisis has pushed the Ambassadors to the UN Security Council to work around the clock to achieve an immediate ceasefire.

The latest word is that the Council may be close to a final vote today or tomorrow, but we've been this close before and negotiations have fallen apart. We need more pressure now to close the deal.

Please forward this email on, spread the word to your friends, family and colleagues, post a link on your blog, bring up the campaign in discussions, and urgently encourage people around you to join this global wave of protest by signing up at the link below:

http://www.ceasefirecampaign.org/mo/en.html

The pressure is working. Let's ratchet it up.

With hope,

Ricken Patel, Ceasefire Campaign

UK US airlines terror plot disrupted,

Of course in the first place we should be happy that in the end
nothing has happened.
If the apparently planned attacks would have succeeded a huge loss of
lives would have occurred, and enormous consequences perhaps.

Yet there SHOULD be enormous consequences.
And I mean not in the sense of more terror alert, that will happen
anyway.
I mean this should be another indication for world governments to
think once more.

The supposed terror plot was aiming at airliners between the UK and
the US.
Two countries highly responsible for the turmoil in the Middle-East,
for the invasion of Iraq on false grounds, and for the delay on
effective stances regarding Palestine and Lebanon versus Israel, if
not in secret partnering with Israel on a delay of UN action to
enable Israel to protrude deeply into Lebanon and Gaza.

So in the eyes of many the UK and the US are highly responsible for
evil in the world, and if the UK and the US boast to be so democratic
this means their civilian populations are highly responsible.

As collective punishment is apparently the rule in the approach of
the West (in Iraq, in Palestine, in Lebanon - ven if one names it
‘collateral damage’, which is mainly an euphemism), a desire for
collective punishment the other way around should not completely
unimaginable.
One just cannot blame the people who see their world attacked this
way for thinking so.

And even if you would disagree you will have to live with the fact
that apparently the impression is given and people who see their
world under threat think so.
It does not help to want them to think otherwise, unless you can
convince them, and nobody is doing that.
We will have to live with this reality and think and act accordingly
and make our chosen politicians act accordingly.

Even the fact that two days ago a relatively new wind seemed to start
to blow in Connecticut, ousting the vile Liebermann in the Democrat
party (see the video on the biasedness of the US, in which Liebermann
figured often, on the wrong side), is not that positive, as the issue
was the US soldier victims in Iraq rather than the Iraqi victims,
about whom no leading politician cares.

Let us be happy that today only the terror effect prevails and that
in the planes there were no losses of lives, while in Iraq, Lebanon
and Iraq the loss of lives however just continues steadily.
What can be feared most now is that the Western rulers and their
puppets at the media will, irresponsible as they have proven to be
until now, see this as an excuse even to dig deeper into the
‘shit’ (to paraphrase Bush) théy create in the Middle-East.

Neil

Thursday, August 10, 2006

War diaries, day 29

Dear World

August 9, Day 29

I am sitting in my living room couch.

I could not write yesterday. I successfully reached the 'blank head' stage for a few minutes, but quickly got caught up by the presenter's voice on television.

There, they are talking about the risk of diseases spreading because of hygiene problems and lack of water in the refugees' centers. Some Lebanese political figures are vaccinating children and people are applauding. I don't understand why. They are even wearing black suits and sunglasses. At the bottom of the screen, the Flash News Gray Bands keeps on hypnotizing me, and announces that the number of victims of the Shiyyah massacre has risen up to 42. They have been gathering bodies from underneath the rubble for two days now. People buried under their own roofs. I hope none of you ever tries this. It is not a very nice way of going.

Outside, the generator is on. Starting next week, electricity will only be available half of the time. I don't hear the generator's roaring anymore, it has merged with my experience of silence. Bomb sounds still haven't, but they will someday. Baby steps.

I saw some photographs of South Dahieh today. I never saw so much rubble anywhere. The colorful 'vernacular' neighborhoods have taken a grey shade of dust and death. From time to time, a couch stands on the miraculously-standing balcony of a quarter of –what I think was- a house. Remains of street signs, shop signs, books, clothes, toys and other remains of household lives are scattered here and there and add specks of color to the de-saturated landscape.

Today, my neighbor told me that we have to get used to the war, that it might take months, so we better live with it.

We are, but it is not always easy. It is not easy to watch people die on television, familiar faces, familiar places simply crumbling before your eyes. It is not easy to entrap all your thoughts in a bubble where 'war', 'bomb', 'dead', are the only available words. It is not easy to wake up in the middle of the night to a deafening bomb sound, then force yourself to sleep again because we haven't slept in a month; to wake up every morning hoping that no carnage has taken place during your sleep, thanking life because you are still breathing. It is not easy to sit and watch a war when all you want to do is shake those politicians so that they wake up and look, and hopefully see.

It is not easy to choose not to dream.

Yet we did it and we are doing it everyday. Because somewhere, we know that this war can be a great growth for us. Everyday, it is bringing us closer to life, closer to death also. Anyways our life is not guaranteed. It is just that these days, the war made it more obvious. The risk of dying has grown a little bigger, so what? This will not keep us from living, as wonderfully as we can. We will just look at this war as an intensive training in living skills.

I guess one of men's biggest gifts is their ability to adapt.

I also guess that one of the Lebanese's people greatest gifts is their ability to adapt to non-adaptation because anyways, life is never 100% certain. And that's the wonder of it.

Alive and well living,

A Lebanese Citizen

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Video of Amy Goodman's interview with Richard Debs

Democracy Now's Amy Goodman interviews Dr. Richard Debs, Former Chair of Morgan Stanley, Chairman Emeritus at the American University of Beirut

"It's Now Considered the American War Against the Arabs..."
Calling Israel's war in Lebanon a "catastrophe," the former president of Morgan Stanley International talks about the democrats' "huge mistake" in backing the Bush administration's Israel policy. Richard Debs talks about the role that Syria, Iran, and the US media play in the crisis, and his view that "democracy has become a code word--and not a good codeword--in the Middle East."

Peace Berlin!






















no barbaric screaming and shouting,, hardly understanding a word that comes out of the none sense chanting..

the city people are forced to maneuver round quiet bodies therefore
inducing an experience in the daily human,, this provokes an emotion

:: thus effective, a silent ambient effect that would be heared
a message being experienced not just conveyed,,

Peace Berlin!

Lebanese Oil Spill Could Rival Exxon Valdez Disaster

Click here to view full article

An oil spill caused by Israeli raids on a Lebanese power plant could rival the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster that despoiled the Alaskan coast if not urgently addressed, the United Nations has said.
The Nairobi-based UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said Tuesday the spill that poses severe ecological and human threats is already comparable to a 1999 oil tanker accident off the coast of France and had the potential to get far worse.
"In the worst-case scenario and if all the oil contained in the bombed power plant at Jiyyeh leaked into the Mediterranean Sea, the Lebanese oil spill could well rival the Exxon Valdez disaster of 1989," it said in a statement.

Jordan's King Abdullah fears for Mid-East

Story from BBC NEWS

I think he raises some really interesting points in this interview. Here's a snippet, follow the link for video of the interview.

"Each time we have a crisis it gets far more unstable. The international community has no overall agenda. It's a piecemeal way of dealing with situations, whether it's the Israel-Palestinian one, whether it's Lebanon, whether it's Iraq or the issue of Iran, there's no overall strategy."

Press Release-Lebanon: An Open Country for Civil Resistance


Please distribute as widely as you can. Thank you.




Beirut August 7, 2006

Press Contacts:
Rasha Salti, +961 3 970855
Huwaida Arraf, +961 70 974452
Samah Idriss, +961 3 381349
Wadih Al Asmar, +961 70 950780


On August 12, at 7 am, Lebanese from throughout the country and international supporters who have come to Lebanon to express solidarity will gather in Martyr’s Square in Beirut to form a civilian convoy to the south of Lebanon. Hundreds of Lebanese and international civilians will express their solidarity with the inhabitants of the heavily destroyed south who have been bravely withstanding the assault of the Israeli military. This campaign is endorsed by more than 200 Lebanese and international organizations. This growing coalition of national and international non-governmental organizations hereby launches a campaign of civil resistance for the purpose of challenging the cruel and ruthless use of massive military force by Israel, the regional superpower, upon the people of Lebanon.

August 12 marks the start of this Campaign of Resistance, declaring Lebanon an Open Country for Civil Resistance. August 12 also marks both the international day of protest against the Israeli aggression.

"In the face of Israel’s systematic killing of our people, the indiscriminate bombing of our towns, the scorching of our villages, and the attempted destruction of our civil infrastructure, we say No! In the face of the forced expulsion of a quarter of our population from their homes throughout Lebanon, and the complicity of governments and international bodies, we re-affirm the acts of civil resistance that began from the first day of the Israeli assault, and we stress and add the urgent need to act!," said Rasha Salti, one of the organizers of this national event.

After August 12, the campaign will continue with a series of civil actions, leading to an August 19 civilian march to reclaim the South. "Working together, in solidarity, we will overcome the complacency, inaction, and complicity of the international community and we will deny Israel its goal of removing Lebanese from their land and destroying the fabric of our country," explained Samah Idriss, writer and co-organizer of this campaign.

"An international civilian presence in Lebanon is not only an act of solidarity with the Lebanese people in the face of unparalleled Israeli aggression, it is an act of moral courage to defy the will of those who would seek to alienate the West from the rest and create a new Middle East out of the rubble and blood of the region," said Huwaida Arraf, co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement and campaign co-organizer. "After having witnessed the wholesale destruction of villages by Israel's air force and navy and having visited the victims (so-called displaced) of Israel's policy of cleansing Lebanese civilians from their homes," continued Arraf, "it is imperative to go south and reach those who have stayed behind to resist by steadfastly remaining on their land."

If you are in Lebanon and want to sign up and join the convoy, contact either:
Rasha Salti. Email: convois.citoyens.sud.liban@gmail.com . Tel: +961 3 970 855
Rania Masri. Email: rania.masri@balamand.edu.lb. Tel: +961 3 135 279 or +961 6 930 250 xt. 5683 or xt. 3933
If you are outside Lebanon and want to sign up and join the convoy, you should know:
1) You need to obtain a visa for Lebanon and for Syria if your plan is to enter Lebanon from Syria.
2) We don't have the funds to cover for the cost of your travel, however we can help with finding accomodations.
For questions and help for all internationals please contact Adam Shapiro at: adamsop@hotmail.com


You can also sign up on our website: www.lebanonsolidarity.org

This campaign is thus far endorsed by more than 200 organizations, including: The Arab NGOs Network for Development (ANND), International Solidarity Movement (ISM), Cultural Center for Southern Lebanon, Norwegian People’s Aid, Lebanese Center for Policy Studies, Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections, Frontiers, Kafa, Nahwa al-Muwatiniya, Spring Hints, Hayya Bina, Lebanese Transparency Association, Amam05, Lebanese Center for Civic Education, Let’s Build Trust, CRTD-A, Solida, National Association for Vocational Training and Social Services, Lebanese Development Pioneers, Nadi Li Koul Alnas, and Lecorvaw

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

War diaries, day 27

Dear World

August 7, Day 27

I don't know what to write. I am becoming a big fan of silence and writing is starting to exhaust me. Yet, I do it, because there are still thoughts jumping in my head and I need to store them somewhere. I am sorry to throw my mental trash all over you.

I want to apologize to everyone I am encountering these days. I apologize for looking at them, dumbfounded most of the time, nodding my head with a silly smile or expressionless numb face when they talk to me, forgetting to answer their questions, agreeing with whatever they say or throwing comments that fit wherever you place them such as "what can we do?", "what can we say?", "we shall wait and see", "aha" etc. It is just that I am in a 'head break'. Talking is exhausting me and listening is draining me. I think that what I need the most after this whole thing ends is a long silence break. No boom boom, no hello, no television news, no conversations. Nothing. Most probably, I will be walking around the city with a paper bag over my head saying "Rôdage".

I went to Sporting today, and I saw the disaster. The sea water is now a stagnant oily mass. I cannot say anything about it. I didn't want to remember, it would be mental suicide. Okay. I remembered a little bit. I remembered how it felt to swim in the sea, especially when the waves are a little wild. The cold water pushing and pulling me, wrinkled hands and salty lips.

Oil. Lots of it. I simply sat and looked, then decided to focus my sight on the horizon, which looked cleaner. The Chinese say that staring at the horizon is good for shortsightedness, so I decided to take advantage of the situation. The horizon is also good for mental haziness. I highly recommend it.

This is all I can get from the sea now. Just a look at the horizon.

Today, Sanioura cried.

Some 'tough' people commented, criticized.

Others said it is not 'manly'.

I looked at him cry and realized his tears were not a weakness. Any human being would have cried, obviously, but the problem is that there are not many of these left. I was so happy to see a politician-human being on television. So happy I started crying myself. Then of course my brother entered the room, nodded his head and told me I should definitely stop watching the news.

What can I do? The Flash News Grey Band had hypnotized me.

But hey, the Israeli explosions are still there to 'wake me up'! I hope that someday, their absence will wake me up from this long nightmare.

Tomorrow is a full moon night. Just what I needed.

With Love,

A Lebanese City Zen

Monday, August 07, 2006

'to the coming generations' Bertolt Brecht

The original German follows the English translation


I

Truly, I live in dark times!
The innocuous word is fatuous. A smooth brow
Denotes insensitivity. If someone is laughing
It only means, that he hasn’t yet
Heard the dreadful news.

What sort of times are these, when
To talk about trees is almost a crime,
Because it is simultaneously silence about so many atrocities!
Someone placidly crossing the street
Is certainly not available for his friend
Who is in need?

It is true: I do earn my living.
But believe me: that is the merest accident. Nothing
That I do gives me the right, to be stuffing myself full.
I have been spared by accident. (If my luck runs out, I'm finished.)

They say to me: eat and drink! Be happy that you have!
But how can I eat and drink, when
Every bite that I eat is ripped from the mouth of a starving man, and
My glass of water is being denied to one dying of thirst?
And yet I eat, and I drink.

I would love to be wise as well.
You can find what is wise in the old books:
To hold yourself aloof from the strife of the world, and to spend
Your brief time without fear;
Also, to get by without violence,
To repay evil with good,
To relinquish desires, rather than fulfilling them,
These are all considered wise.
Of all this I am incapable:
Truly, I live in dark times!

II

I came to the cities in the Age of Disorder
When hunger was rampant.
I came among mankind in the Age of Turmoil
And I railed against it.
That is how my days were spent
That were given to me on earth.

I ate my food between battles
I lied down to sleep among the murderers
I attended diffidently to love
And looked upon nature with impatience.
That is how my days were spent
That were given to me on earth.

In my day, the streets led to the swamp.
My language betrayed me to the butcher.
There was little I could do. But the powerful
Sat more comfortably without me, so I hoped.
That is how my days were spent
That were given to me on earth.

The forces were weak. The goal
Was distant, remote.
It was plainly visible, even if I
Could never reach it.
That is how my days were spent
That were given to me on earth.

III

You, who will spring up from the flood
In which we have drowned
Think,
When you speak of our shortcomings,
Also of the dark times
That you have been spared.

We, who had to change countries more often
Than our shoes, walked in despair amid the class struggle,
When we saw only injustice, but no indignation.

And yet we do know:
Even hatred of baseness
Contorts the features.
Even wrath against injustice
Makes the voice hoarse. Ah, we
Who wanted to prepare the ground for friendship
Were ourselves unable to be friendly.

But you, if the world has come so far
That each person is now a helper to his fellows
Think of us
With forbearance.
-----------------------------------------------------
An die Nachgeborenen

I
Wirklich, ich lebe in finsteren Zeiten!
Das arglose Wort ist töricht. Eine glatte Stirn
Deutet auf Unempfindlichkeit hin. Der Lachende
Hat die furchtbare Nachricht
Nur noch nicht empfangen.

Was sind das für Zeiten, wo
Ein Gespräch über Bäume fast ein Verbrechen ist
Weil es ein Schweigen über so viele Untaten einschließt!
Der dort ruhig über die Straße geht
Ist wohl nicht mehr erreichbar für seine Freunde
Die in Not sind?

Es ist wahr: Ich verdiene nur noch meinen Unterhalt
Aber glaubt mir: das ist nur ein Zufall. Nichts
Von dem, was ich tue, berechtigt mich dazu, mich sattzuessen.
Zufällig bin ich verschont. (Wenn mein Glück aussetzt, bin ich verloren.)

Man sagt mir: Iss und trink du! Sei froh, dass du hast!
Aber wie kann ich essen und trinken, wenn
Ich dem Hungernden entreiße, was ich esse, und
Mein Glas Wasser einem Verdursteten fehlt?
Und doch esse und trinke ich.

Ich wäre gerne auch weise.
In den alten Büchern steht, was weise ist:
Sich aus dem Streit der Welt halten und die kurze Zeit
Ohne Furcht verbringen
Auch ohne Gewalt auskommen
Böses mit Gutem vergelten
Seine Wünsche nicht erfüllen, sondern vergessen
Gilt für weise.
Alles das kann ich nicht:
Wirklich, ich lebe in finsteren Zeiten!


II

In die Städte kam ich zur Zeit der Unordnung
Als da Hunger herrschte.
Unter die Menschen kam ich zu der Zeit des Aufruhrs
Und ich empörte mich mit ihnen.
So verging meine Zeit
Die auf Erden mir gegeben war.

Mein Essen aß ich zwischen den Schlachten
Schlafen legte ich mich unter die Mörder
Der Liebe pflegte ich achtlos
Und die Natur sah ich ohne Geduld.
So verging meine Zeit
Die auf Erden mir gegeben war.

Die Straßen führten in den Sumpf zu meiner Zeit.
Die Sprache verriet mich dem Schlächter.
Ich vermochte nur wenig. Aber die Herrschenden
Saßen ohne mich sicherer, das hoffte ich.
So verging meine Zeit
Die auf Erden mir gegeben war.

Die Kräfte waren gering. Das Ziel
Lag in großer Ferne
Es war deutlich sichtbar, wenn auch für mich
Kaum zu erreichen.
So verging meine Zeit
Die auf Erden mir gegeben war.


III

Ihr, die ihr auftauchen werdet aus der Flut
In der wir untergegangen sind
Gedenkt
Wenn ihr von unseren Schwächen sprecht
Auch der finsteren Zeit
Der ihr entronnen seid.

Gingen wir doch, öfter als die Schuhe die Länder wechselnd
Durch die Kriege der Klassen, verzweifelt
Wenn da nur Unrecht war und keine Empörung.

Dabei wissen wir doch:
Auch der Hass gegen die Niedrigkeit
Verzerrt die Züge.
Auch der Zorn über das Unrecht
Macht die Stimme heiser. Ach, wir
Die wir den Boden bereiten wollten für Freundlichkeit
Konnten selber nicht freundlich sein.

Ihr aber, wenn es soweit sein wird
Dass der Mensch dem Menschen ein Helfer ist
Gedenkt unsrer
Mit Nachsicht.

the will to live, for beirut...

I am sitting at home, looking out at the dark sky with only the big circle of the moon suspended in mid air and bouncing back and forth off the windows of the high-rises. Beautiful night, blues filled night. Very appropriate since I am in the city of blues. But my mind and heart are so far away from here. I have just seen the entries of a fellow blogger called Mazen Kerbaj (http://mazenkerblog.blogspot.com/), and some of the responses to his entries, namely by his mother Laure Ghorayeb. It tore at my heart. The same guy who just yesterday said ‘ Beirut won’t cry’ with a poignant drawing of Beirut as I know it, peeping at you through the chaos of it’s building, with the sunset where it is supposed to be, in the sea. I could just imagine how the horizon would turn fiery and slowly allow the sun to creep into it’s resting place for the night, allowing Beirut to live the second part of it’s day. That same guy just posted an entry saying ‘today I wish to die’, his mother answering ‘it is not as simple as that, it is not the time to deflate’. Have they been able to kill our spirit, and thus kill Beirut? Or are we just deflating in order to be able to fight again?

Beirut has never died. Through every toil it has gone through it has lived. It just knows the way towards life. Like the sunflowers that instinctively turn towards the sun, Beirut turns towards life. Yet if it’s people start wanting to die, will it still have the strength to live?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

War diaries Day 26

Dear World

August 6, Day 26

Hiroshima's anniversary.
My mother's too, strangely.

We entered the phase of apathy. We started getting used to this. And it is dangerous, nobody should get used to a war.
But we don't have another choice. We can either accumulate tension, day by day, or develop immunity against the sounds and images.

Yesterday, I went to a CD shop to purchase a gift for my mum, and I couldn't help commenting on the displayed DVD "Lebanon War; so that History doesn't repeat itself ", an archiving of the 1975-1991 Civil War. Strangely enough, the guy in charge of the sales told me it was one of the most asked for DVDs during the past month. It sounded absolutely surreal to me, yet I understand, somewhere. We already have a 24 hours war on television, and we choose to watch more and more madness going on. So that History doesn't repeat itself.

Then, I couldn't help going into a war conversation with him. How we are getting used to it… And he told me that it is not fair for us to constantly live in wars with 'peace breaks' in between. Funny. He's right. Some Lebanese people have lived more war than peace.

I remember my parents' old photographs. Those shot during the civil war. Yellow-shaded photographs with rounded corners. Mainly shot in Raouche, Modca Café or Wimpy in Hamra, Rawda Coffee Shop or Arouss el Bahr… Places that became forever reminiscent of the war, carrying in them the bitter sweet nostalgia of extremely intense, yet painful days.

Coffee shop History is repeating itself. Modca disappeared few years back, it is true. But Hamra restaurants and cafés are slowly gathering their 'deep intellectual' clientele, and people are once again drawn to political discussions on the light of Beirut's sunset. To this repetition is added the great comeback of the 80s fashion. If it wasn't for the cell phones in all shapes and colors, and laptops hiding consternated eyes, I would believe I am back in time. On the television, the screen is once again split in four, four people discussing, gathered from the four corners of the planet. Discussing the problem. Discussing the solution. Discussing how the problem is a solution, how the solution is a problem, how the problem hides an ever deeper problem and how the solution hides a much, much deeper problem. In one word, a chain of problems crowned by the problem of idiots in power. At the bottom left, an Egyptian general yells and shouts. The three others look at him, expressionless. I look at the four of them, and I really don't know what to think.

I remember my parents' old photographs. Those shot during the civil war. Yellow-shaded photographs with rounded corners. Mainly shot in Raouche, Modca Café or Wimpy in Hamra, Rawda Coffee Shop or Arouss el Bahr… Places that became forever reminiscent of the war, carrying in them the bitter sweet nostalgia of extremely intense, yet painful days.

Coffee shop History is repeating itself. Modca disappeared few years back, it is true. But Hamra restaurants and cafés are slowly gathering their 'deep intellectual' clientele, and people are once again drawn to political discussions on the light of Beirut's sunset. To this repetition is added the great comeback of the 80s.fashion. If it wasn't for the cell phones in all shapes and colors, and laptops hiding consternated eyes, I would believe I am back in time.

On the television, the screen is once again split in four, four people discussing, gathered from the four corners of the planet. Discussing the problem. Discussing the solution. Discussing how the problem is a solution, how the solution is a problem, how the problem hides an ever deeper problem and how the solution hides a much, much deeper problem. In one word, a chain of problems crowned by the problem of idiots in power.

At the bottom left, an Egyptian general yells and shouts. The three others look at him, expressionless. I look at the four of them, and I really don't know what to think.

I hope that by the end of the war, and with the help of all the absurd scenes that I see passing on television along with the mesmerizing Flash News Grey band, I will reach a state where my mind actually stops. I am looking forward to it. Thinking minds are not doing much these days.

Stunned,
A Lebanese Citizen

Article by Robert Fisk

A terrible thought occurs to me - that there will be another 9/11

08/05/06 "The Independent" -- -- The room shook. Not since the 1983 earthquake has my apartment rocked from side to side. That was the force of the Israeli explosions in the southern suburbs of Beirut - three miles from my home - and the air pressure changed in the house yesterday morning and outside in the street the palm trees moved. Is it to be like this every day? How many civilians can you make homeless before you start a revolution? And what is next? Are the Israelis to bomb the centre of Beirut? The Corniche? Is this why all the foreign warships came and took their citizens away, to make Beirut safe to destroy?Yesterday, needless to say, was another day of massacres, great and small. The largest appeared to be 40 farm workers in northern Lebanon, some of them Kurds - a people who do not even have a country. An Israeli missile was reported to have exploded among them as they loaded vegetables on to a refrigerated truck near Al-Qaa, a small village east of Hermel in the far north. The wounded were taken to hospital in Syria because the roads of Lebanon have now all been cratered by Israeli bomb-bursts. Later we learnt that an air strike on a house in the village of Taibeh in the south had killed seven civilians and wounded 10 seeking shelter from attack.In Israel two civilians were killed by Hizbollah missiles but, as usual, Lebanon bore the brunt of the day's attacks which centred - incredibly - on the Christian heartland that has traditionally shown great sympathy towards Israel. It was the Christian Maronite community whose Phalangist militiamen were Israel's closest allies in its 1982 invasion of Lebanon yet Israel's air force yesterday attacked three highway bridges north of Beirut and - again as usual - it was the little people who died.One of them was Joseph Bassil, 65, a Christian man who had gone out on his daily jogging exercise with four friends north of Jounieh. "His friends packed up after four rounds of the bridge because it was hot," a member of his family told us later. "Joseph decided to do one more jog on the bridge. That was what killed him." The Israelis gave no reason for the attacks - no Hizbollah fighters would ever enter this Christian Maronite stronghold and the only hindrance was caused to humanitarian convoys - and there were growing fears in Lebanon that the latest air raids were a sign of Israel's frustration rather any serious military planning.
Indeed, as the Lebanon war continues to destroy innocent lives - most of them Lebanese - the conflict seems to be increasingly aimless. The Israeli air force has succeeded in killing perhaps 50 Hizbollah members and 600 civilians and has destroyed bridges, milk factories, gas stations, fuel storage depots, airport runways and thousands of homes. But to what purpose?Does the United States any longer believe Israel's claims that it will destroy Hizbollah when its army clearly cannot do anything of the kind? Does Washington not realise that when Israel grows tired of this war, it will plead for a ceasefire - which only Washington can deliver by doing what it most loathes to do: by taking the road to Damascus and asking for help from President Bashar al-Assad of Syria?What in the meanwhile is happening to Lebanon? Bridges and buildings can be reconstructed - with European Union loans, no doubt - but many Lebanese are now questioning the institutions of the democracy for which the US was itself so full of praise last year. What is the point of a democratically elected Lebanese government which cannot protect its people? What is the point of a 75,000-member Lebanese army which cannot protect its nation, which cannot be sent to the border, which does not fire on Lebanon's enemies and which cannot disarm Hizbollah? Indeed, for many Lebanese Shias, Hizbollah is now the Lebanese army.So fierce has been Hizbollah's resistance - and so determined its attacks on Israeli ground troops in Lebanon - that many people here no longer recall that it was Hizbollah which provoked this latest war by crossing the border on 12 July, killing three Israeli soldiers and capturing two others. Israel's threats of enlarging the conflict even further are now met with amusement rather than horror by a Lebanese population which has been listening to Israel's warnings for 30 years with ever greater weariness. And yet they fear for their lives. If Tel Aviv is hit, will Beirut be spared. Or if central Beirut is hit, will Tel Aviv be spared? Hizbollah now uses Israel's language of an eye for an eye. Every Israeli taunt is met by a Hizbollah taunt.And do the Israelis realise that they are legitimising Hizbollah, that a rag-tag army of guerrillas is winning its spurs against an Israeli army and air force whose targets - if intended - prove them to be war criminals and if unintended suggest that they are a rif-raff little better than the Arab armies they have been fighting, on and off, for more than half a century? Extraordinary precedents are being set in this Lebanon war.In fact, one of the most profound changes in the region these past three decades has been the growing unwillingness of Arabs to be afraid. Their leaders - our "moderate" pro-Western Arab leaders such as King Abdullah of Jordan and President Mubarak of Egypt - may be afraid. But their peoples are not. And once a people have lost their terror, they cannot be re-injected with fear. Thus Israel's consistent policy of smashing Arabs into submission no longer works. It is a policy whose bankruptcy the Americans are now discovering in Iraq.And all across the Muslim world, "we" - the West, America, Israel - are fighting not nationalists but Islamists. And watching the martyrdom of Lebanon this week - its slaughtered children in Qana packed into plastic bags until the bags ran out and their corpses had to be wrapped in carpets - a terrible and daunting thought occurs to me, day by day. That there will be another 9/11.
© 2006 Independent News and Media Limited

Photos from rally in Pakistan

It is when power is wedded to chronic fear that it becomes formidable- Eric Hoffer

You see what power is - holding someone else's fear in your hand and showing it to them!- Amy Tan

What a stupendous, what an incomprehensible machine is man! Who can endure toil, famine, stripes, imprisonment & death itself in vindication of his own liberty, and the next moment ... inflict on his fellow men a bondage, one hour of which is fraught with more misery than ages of that which he rose in rebellion to oppose- Thomas Jefferson
American strategists have calculated the proportion of civilians killed in this century's major wars. In the First World War 5 per cent of those killed were civilians, in the Second World War 48 per cent, while in a Third World War 90-95 per cent would be civilians- Colin Ward, Anarchy in Action

Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so, whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such a purpose -- and you allow him to make war at pleasure. If today, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada, to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, 'I see no probability of the British invading us' but he will say to you, "Be silent; I see it, if you don't." – Abraham Lincoln

We have to face the fact that either all of us are going to die together or we are going to learn to live together and if we are to live together we have to talk.- Eleanor Roosevelt

Statement by leading intellectuals

The US-backed Israeli assault on Lebanon has left the country numb,
smoldering and angry. The massacre in Qana and the loss of life is
not simply "disproportionate." It is, according to existing
international laws, a war crime.
The deliberate and systematic destruction of Lebanon's social
infrastructure by the Israeli air force was also a war crime,
designed to reduce that country to the status of an Israeli-US
protectorate.
The attempt has backfired, as people all over the world watch aghast.
In Lebanon itself, 87 percent of the population now support
Hezbollah's resistance, including 80 percent of Christian and Druze
and 89 percent of Sunni Muslims, while 8 percent believe the US
supports Lebanon.
But these actions will not be tried by any court set up by the
"international community" since the United States and its allies that
commit or are complicit in these appalling crimes will not permit it.
It has now become clear that the assault on Lebanon to wipe out
Hezbollah had been prepared long before. Israel's crimes had been
given a green light by the United States and its ever-loyal British
ally, despite the overwhelming opposition to Blair in his own country.
The short peace that Lebanon enjoyed has come to an end, and a
paralyzed country is forced to remember a past it had hoped to
forget. The state terror inflicted on Lebanon is being repeated in
the Gaza ghetto, while the "international community" stands by and
watches in silence. Meanwhile the rest of Palestine is annexed and
dismantled with the direct participation of the United States and the
tacit approval of its allies.
We offer our solidarity and support to the victims of this brutality
and to those who mount a resistance against it. For our part, we will
use all the means at our disposal to expose the complicity of our
governments in these crimes. There will be no peace in the Middle
East while the occupations of Palestine and Iraq and the temporarily
"paused" bombings of Lebanon continue.

Tariq Ali
Noam Chomsky
Eduardo Galeano
Howard Zinn
Ken Loach
John Berger
Arundhati Roy