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Tell Me a Secret: Lebanon..
by khalid jarrar (reposted)
Friday Jul 21st, 2006 8:58 PM
I keep asking myself the following few questions:
Why doesn't Israel occupy the whole Arab homeland? If I were in the Israeli government I would have long time ago; can't they see that they control Arab leaders so well, that the only thing the Arab governments will ever do is condemn? And then fight two weeks among them if they should have an emergency meeting for Arab leaders or not, and then when they finally meet, they will decide that they, condemn what happened, and then will decide that they have to go to the UN and security council, sdo they run crying for them: helppppp....Israel just occupied all of our countries, and killed over 2 millions civilians, and bombed every power plant and bridge in the entire Arab homeland, and used banned weapons against civilians more than once...Help pleaseee! We are facing a humanitarian disaster! We are dying! We lost our countries!

and the UN would go: ehhh....Come next next week, we are playing pool now.
and then Arabs leaders will of course agree, and go and get bombed for a week, and the rest of them ( the ones that weren't killed during that week) will come again crying for the UN to have them stop: please UN, they killed over 5 million now, and they are raping every woman they find, and they already gave contracts for their companies to invest in the oil, and they already gave contracts to their companies to rebuild what their military destroyed!
and the UN would meet, and then will announce that they understand Israel's right to defend itself. But they ask Israel to show more self restrain.
and when they decide to ask for siece fire, the government of the USA, Bush's administration ( Bush's government new name is The Filthy Devil, oh did that name hurt the feelings of some people? Good!) will use the Vito to make sure that doesn't happen.

so I really think Israelis are stupid, they really should invade all the Arab countries.

The other question I am asking myself is, what the hell is the Lebanese army doing? Lebanese military sites have been bombed many times now and many members of the army were killed already, and the Israelis have been attacking the Lebanese lands for the last 6 days, what are they exactly waiting for?

Third question:

Hezbollah has 10-15 thousands missiles according to reports, some of them can reach a range of 200 km, which means they can reach Tal Abeeb (which you know as Tel Aviv) and Quds. Israel have crossed every red line, and executed over 1000 air strike and attacked the buildings of Hezbollah and the southern suburbs of Beirut, where most of Hezbollah supporters are, and announced and an open war on TV, what are they waiting for? Why aren't they sending a message to Israel that they "really" shouldn't mess with Lebanon? I mean the two sides are talking missiles now, and the Israeli side is doing all efforts to send the message to all Lebanon, all the Area, all the world, that they shouldn't mess with Israel. What is Hizbollah saving the rest of his missiles for exactly?

One of my Friends, Ramzi Kysia, wrote this article:

The Distance from Guernica to Lebanon By Ramzi Kysia

As I write this, I can hear Israeli warplanes flying over head, breaking the sound barrier and rattling all of our windows. In the distance there are explosions. I don't know where the bombs are dropping, but it'snot close to me. I can't hear the screaming of thesurvivors from where I sit.

Hezbollah and Hamas may possess the ability to kill dozens of Israeli civilians and terrorize countless others, but they are not an existential threat to Israel. As events on the ground have unmistakably demonstrated over this past month, today it is Israel that is a clear and present danger to the further existence of the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples. Adanger, if not to their very lives - then certainly tothe continuation of their nations.

This is the third, catastrophic attack I've livedthrough. I was in New York City on September 11. I was in Baghdad during "Shock and Awe."I t's not something you ever get used to. That so much hatred can live in the world, so much indifference to human suffering--living under that hatred and indifference is almost ashard as living under the bombs.

As I write this, over two hundred Lebanese have beenkilled. Almost all of them were civilians.

I think of Guernica.

On April 26, 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, the German Air Force, siding with fascist dictator Francisco Franco, began a bombing campaign against thecity of Guernica. Some 1,600 people were killed, and the city was reduced to rubble. Guernica is remembered as the first time air power was used against acivilian population with the intent of causing complete destruction.

When it happened, Guernica shocked the world. Today,we do not shock so easily. Lebanon is being sacrificed without so much as a casual protest.

Israel has bombed power plants, roads, and bridges all across Lebanon. Israel has bombed gas stations andfuel depots, grain silos, lighthouses, the seaports in Beirut, Tripoli, Jounieh and Tyre. Beirut's airport isin flames. Beirut's Shia suburbs have been almost completely demolished. Fire fighters are pleading forhelp, because they do not have enough water to put out the blazes. (1)

I think of Guernica.

Israel has ordered all of the people living in Southern Lebanon to flee their homes and villages. AviDichter, Israel's Minister of Internal Security, told us that "tens of thousands of Lebanese who will flee towards the north will create the right pressure on Hezbollah." (2)

Two nights ago, eighteen people in the South were burned alive when Israel bombed their fleeing convoy with incendiary shells. Eleven of the dead were children under the age of twelve. Mahmoud Ghannam, the father of two of the killed children, broke down when he saw their bodies. He struck himself in the head repeatedly and cried, "my God, my God. I can't make out the faces of my children. They are burnt black...Which ones are my children?" (3)

A copy of Pablo Picasso's famous painting of the annihilation of Guernica was hung outside the chambers of the UN Security Council, as a reminder of why the United Nations was created, and of what the Security Council is supposed to prevent. In 2003, the United States ordered the eleven foot painting covered, so as not to even subtly embarrass American diplomats pressing for a war against Iraq. (4)

We are supposed to forget what modern warfare means.

Living in Lebanon today, I cannot forget. I remember Guernica.

Today, Lebanon is being forced toward total ruin. If Israel's intent is just to destroy Hezbollah, then why are they bombing Christian and Sunni neighborhoods and
Hezbollah's headquarters in Beirut, making sure to first bomb power plants, bridges and roads throughout the entire country? Israel's clear intent is to trash this entire country, smash everything that makes Lebanon a modern nation, and demolish all of the work the Lebanese have done over the last fifteen years to rebuild their country.

As Lebanon is ravaged, U.S. President George Bush loudly and proudly asserts Israel's right to "self-defense."(5)

As Lebanon is ravaged, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rica announces that Israel should continue bombing to "reduce the threat"from Hezbollah. (6)

Do Arabs possess the right to defend themselves from Israel?

As Lebanon is laid to waste, Israeli Prime MinisterEhud Olmert has secured himself new found adulation within Israel. Everyone apparently loves a killer. (7)

As Lebanon is destroyed, Olmert has announced that he will refuse to meet with a UN delegation attempting to secure a cease-fire (8), George Bush has publicly refused to call for a cease-fire (9), and the United States is blocking other nations on the Security Council from calling for a cease-fire (10).

On "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," Condoleezza Rice not only defended Israel's actions in Lebanon andU.S. policy in Iraq, but said "[Mid-East] hostilities were not very well contained, as we found out on Sept.11, and so the notion that somehow policies thatfinally confront extremism are actually causing extremism, I find grotesque."

Grotesque. As if Lebanon or Iraq--or even Hamas or Hezbollah--had anything whatsoever to do withSeptember 11.

I remember what is grotesque. I remember Guernica.

When Westerners speak of "smashing the infra structure of terror," it is understandable that they mean all of the Arab peoples themselves. Arabs are "the infrastructure of terror."

Speaking against a cease-fire, Rice added, "We have togo at the root cause." It's fine to have a cessation of violence. "But unless we go to the fundamentals here, we're going to continue to have these spikes of violence in the Middle East as we have had for thepast 30 years." (11)

According to the Washington Post, going to these fundamentals means that Israel and the United Statesare going to prevent any cease-fire and continue bombing Lebanon for "several weeks" in order to establish their version of peace in the region. (12)

Indeed. I remember Guernica. I understand the peace of the jackboot and whip.

Dare any American or Israeli ever again ask, "Why do they hate us?"

The clear conviction being spoken by all of thepoliticians in Israel and America is that theirabsolute security is absolutely dependent on the complete insecurity of Arabs everywhere. And the clear lesson being taught to generations of children growing up in the rubble of what once was the shining jewel ofthe Middle East is simply this: their security canonly be dependent on the future insecurity of America and Israel.

Former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich also took the opportunity to strongly defend this point ofview. In an interview on Saturday, Gingrich said that Israel and America must be forceful because, "we need to have the militancy that says 'We're not going to lose a city.'
So, apparently, Lebanon is going to lose several.

Gingrich belittled the idea of negotiations or apossible ceasefire by saying, "this idea that we have this one-sided war where the other team gets to plan how to kill us and we get to talk, is nuts." (13)

A hundred years ago President Teddy Roosevelt famously told Americans to "talk softly and carry a big stick." Today the spiritual, if not political, heirs to Generalissimo Franco are riding high in Tel Aviv and Washington D.C., and they've gone one better than Roosevelt
Today, they don't talk at all.


Ramzi Kysia is an Arab-American essayist and peace activist. He spent a year in Iraq with Voices in theWilderness, the Chicago-based predecessor to Voicesfor Creative Nonviolence ( He iscurrently living in Lebanon, and working on a book about his experiences.

1. "Israelis intensify bombardment of Lebanon'scivilian infrastructure," Daily Star (17 July 2006)

2. "Lebanese villagers ordered out," AFP (17 July2006)

3. "Jets 'incinerate' fleeing family," AFP (16 July2006)

4. "The Lessons of Guernica," Toronto Star (9 February2003)

5. "Mideast flare-up follows Bush to Russia," AP (14July 2006)

6. "Rice Says Israel May Need to Prolong Offensive,"New York Times (16 July 2006)

7. "War Gives Israeli Leader Political Capital," NewYork Times (16 July 2006)

8. "Lebanon bows on border demand," The Australian (17July 2006)

9. "Bush won't pressure Israel for cease-fire," AP (14July 2006)

10. "Lebanon: U.S. blocking call for cease-fire," AP(15 July 2006)

11. "Rice Defends Israel, Calls Criticisms of BushPolicy 'Grotesque'," ABC News Online (16 July 2006)

12. "Strikes Are Called Part of Broad Strategy,"Washington Post (16 July 2006)

13. "Let's face it, it's WWIII, Gingrich says,"Seattle Times (16 July 2006)

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Fouad Said
Saturday Jul 22nd, 2006 4:17 AM
The text would be more sympathetic if a mention was given to the non-military targets that Hezbollah targets routinely and as their main objective. Calling Israel the only demon here is laughable.

If Spain had provoked Germany into attacking them, then your analogy would have worked. Fanco sent an air attack against a people who had not attacked him. Not so the Hamas and Hezbollah militias.

Both groups are working towards the annihilation of Israel. If I were Israel, I would fight back, and fight first.

You have a good heart, but faulty reasoning.
by NYC
Saturday Jul 22nd, 2006 5:40 AM
Nice article. I agree too. I'm so tired of Israel getting to "defend itself" with US backing. It disgusts me. I am embarrased to be American and I have less and less sympathy for Israel as it bombs away at it's neighbors - yes, "terrorism" should stop, but I agree with the author, they are obviously taking advantage of the situation and inhilating the entire infrastructure of the city - it's terrible. I feel powerless to do anythign about it too and I know many Americans who agree with me but we've all been so programmed to be politically correct and no one wants to appear anti-semetic which apparently means you can't disagree with Israel... So, they win by virtue of some collective guilt that we are not even responsible for - even historically! (We're plenty guilty of other human atrocities, but not this one) Now what? They get to whatever they want because they WERE mistreated? Come on? Get over it! Do what's right - stop defending the biggest bully on the block just because you feel guilty! What do you think a lot of the hatred towards the US is from? They are our "allies" in what? The taking over of middle east oil? Let's free ourselves from that - invest in alternative enery sources. It;s happening anyway slowly slowly (even under this administration) - we've got to get out of this dysfunctional relationship with Israel and therefore the rest of the middle east! It will destroy us in one way or another.
by Raja Saeed
(reja_saeed [at] Saturday Jul 22nd, 2006 6:56 AM
One thing is clear, which is, the Jews, Christians and Hindus have the right to take any step to protect their land and people disregard what the UNO says but the Muslims, they don’t have any right. Now the question comes, why they have the right and the Muslims don’t? It is simple, if you are weak morally, economically and you are un-able to defend and protect your land and people because you don’t have the army and the weapons then you have no right, universal rule is, might is right. Now, why the Muslims are weak? It has the simple answer too, the so called Muslim kings, presidents, prime ministers and politicians are spending more time and money to protect their power and regime what ever it takes and for that they lie, they steal and kill their own people. Therefore their countrymen are divided and are fighting with each other; for them this is the easy way to rule.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) once said; The time will come when the Muslims will be in majority but they will be SCUM because they will not be united and will not be following the Quran and Allah.
It is the leader’s job to unite the nation and all the Muslims but to me, we are SCUM and our kings, presidents, prime ministers and all politicians are ‘SUPEREME SCUM’ and this is what happens with the SCUM.
May Allah guide all of us on the right path.

by J Jones
Saturday Jul 22nd, 2006 9:36 AM
I live in Israel and I'm American and I'm studying Middle Eastern History at the Tel Aviv University. My Arabic teacher is Lebanese, this is the Middle East he says in response to some of the students whose parents want them to return home.

There are a lot of people here who think this country is going too far with the bombings, but the public here agrees that the rockets in the north need to stop and Hizbollah needs to move off the border. The Israeli Army decides how to accomplish that it seems, heavy handed perhaps. I must say upfront that I disagree with the comparison to Guernica which was sickenly designed by the Nazi's to give their airforce experience, to terrorize the public, and to basically "see" if they could destroy a city from the air.

Haifa is a hightech center kinda like Silicon Valley, with millions and millions of dollars of investments by foreign companies. Its where the Intel Centrino chip was developed, the one that goes in all the laptops and uses very little power. The goverment here is acting in its interests and its protecting those foreign investments the best it can. Thats one side of it. There are also hunderds of thousands of people that live in the North and are affected by the daily rocket attacks by Hizbollah. Those people demand that the missles launched by Hizbollah stop. And so Israel's army goes ahead... they cripple the infrastructure of Hizbollah which is also Lebanon.

I think its clear that Israel is trying to send a message to the Lebanese goverment in its serious military operations in Lebanon: "Hizbollah is a liability to your country." Lebanon's goverment was once a "puppet" goverment controlled by Syria and has not been able to remove Hizbollah from the country. However, Israel's goverment is certainly taking a gamble here. At first the Lebanese goverment and its public condemed the attacks and considered deploying ground forces along the border but this could risk a civil war within Lebanon and their military may not be up to the task. I wonder if Israel will contribute to the rebuilding of Lebanon's infrastructure when this is all over? Probably not if Hizbollah's political wing still exists.

Israel's army is also taking this "opportunity" (in response to the kidknapping of its soldiers) to weaken the Hizbollah which has been built up over the years since Israel withdrew from south Lebanon. I visited Kiryat Shmona which is a Kibbuts (a collective settlement) right on the border and I mean "right on the border". There were flags of Hizbollah visible from the place like 200 or 300 yards away. I was shocked that two enemies are so close to one another. Israel will no doubt try to delay any international peace keeping force until Hizbollah is not on the border any more.

Lebanon, the Switzerland of the Middle East. I was surprised to learn that Israelis actually have songs about the trees and mountains of Lebanon, what I'm trying to say I suppose is everyone here wants peace, the civilians I mean. And they put their trust in their elected leaders. There is peace and cooperation between Israel, Jordan, and Egypt. I went for a backpacking trip with some Isralies a few months ago in the Jordanian Dead Sea Rift, that is something that was not possible years ago. Long before this "crisis" Israel's border with Lebanon and Syria have been closed. Its crazy that this exists in the midst of some hostile terrorist organizations that disagree with some of the basic rights that Americans take for granted.

I could write a lot more about the situation here in Israel, on this side of the border. I think the authors are right in that Israel's army has gone too far in its bombing campaigns in Beirut. The civilian casualties are not okay, collective punishment is not okay. I am sad and angry. Diplomacy should be exercised further. On the otherhand what was Hizbollah thinking? As this Australian character I met the other day said of the Hizbollah: "A rag tag army with WWII era rockets picking a fight with one of the worlds most advanced military powers with jets and helicopters and who knows what else!?"

No one I have talked with here wants another war. I have friends here whose family members and friends are being contacted for reserve duty. They don't have a choice, its a draft. No one wants that. But how to stop those rocket attacks, how to acheive lasting security of Israel? Not easy. Hopefully not at the expense of Lebanon. Personally, I blame the Hizbollah, they should disarm.

Last thing... I got an email from a friend the other day who studied with someone who is currently in Lebanon and I thought it was interesting. It ends with an appropriate quote from Howard Zinn.

<<<<<<<<<<< Email >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I just got your new email address from Brian. I want to know how you are and if you're still in Tel Aviv. As you can imagine, I have been keeping up with every detail of this since it first started from all sides of the conflict.

Khaled is in Tripoli in northern Lebanon along with several other friends of mine. This is a sick situation where some Iranian terrorist group can drag an unwilling Lebanese public into war. Khaled said the Lebanese were furious with Hizbollah and would rip them apart if they showed thier faces in non-Shi'a Lebanon.

Of course, Syria and Iran are being blammed and rightfully so. I think Israel should be hitting them instead of Lebanon. I hope your safe wherever you are and that you stay safe. I can't imagine what things must be like there right now.

if you need anything, just let me know,


There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.
– Howard Zinn

by Electronic Intifada (reposted)
Saturday Jul 22nd, 2006 9:40 AM
BEIRUT - "May I have some more water?" asked Samah Al-Saad as she handed over a bucket to her neighbour, Souad Hammood, in Al-Bashoura, a crowded mainly Shi'ite area of the Lebanese capital, Beirut.

Hammood filled the bucket halfway and handed it back. "I just can't spare any more," she apologised.

Shortages of food, water and basic supplies are affecting the more than 500,000 people displaced by the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon over the past 10 days, launched in response to the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hizbullah militants.

Al-Saad and her two children - Aya, aged one and five-year-old Mahmood - moved in to her mother's one-bedroom apartment in central Beirut after Israeli warplanes struck the Rafik Hariri airport near her house last week.

"I thought it was an earthquake, but then as the smell of fire permeated our house, I realised it was something more dangerous than an earthquake," said Al-Saad.

Without stopping to think, she and her husband grabbed the children, wallets, stuffed a few nappies and whatever children's clothes they could find into a bag, and rushed out of the house.

"It was chaos, as other people were running to their cars and everyone was asking, what happened?" recalled Al-Saad.

Now she stands surrounded by clothes drying on lines outside her mother's apartment in the modest neighbourhood near the Husseini mosque. "There are 15 of us in this house, we all came to stay with my mother," she said.

Al-Saad's daughter, Aya, seems to be getting sick, and she is worried it will be difficult to keep her healthy in these conditions.

"Money is running out," Al-Saad admitted. Her husband used to work in the destroyed suburb of southern Beirut, a Hizbullah stronghold repeatedly bombed by Israeli warplanes.

Al-Saad and her family are from the Hizbullah-controlled south of the country, which has borne the brunt of the cross-border Israeli attacks. "There is nowhere to go anymore and no one can help as we are all in the same sinking boat."

Meanwhile, her neighbour Hammood also has unexpected visitors: about 13 of them, most from the southern suburb, and some from southern Lebanon, sleeping on bare floors for the past 10 days.

by Electronic Intifada (reposted)
Saturday Jul 22nd, 2006 9:40 AM
BEIRUT - At least 500,000 people have been displaced in Lebanon since 12 July, when Israel launched a military campaign in response to the capture of two its soldiers by the Shi'ite militant group Hizbullah. With Israeli attacks escalating and the threat of a ground offensive looming, the number of displaced is expected to rise dramatically.

IRIN spoke to a number of people driven from their homes by the fighting on the hardships they now faced.

Linda Khalil (31)
"Rockets destroyed our house in Mansoury village [near the southern border]. All we have left is the car, so my husband and our baby and me drove to Beirut. We spent 10 hours on the road before we found a school to stay in. We watched the raids and warplanes destroy everything behind us.

"Help is very slow, and we have almost nothing. Food comes irregularly, and no one has provided us with any medicine. All we have eaten so far, since we left three days ago, is plain bread and tuna in cans occasionally. And when we run out of money, we'll end up on the street. We want the war to end. We want to go home."

Hiam Younes (17)
"We left our house in Damour (20 km south of Beirut) in a pick-up truck in the early morning. I will never forget that. We were 25 people inside it, and as soon as we crossed the bridge Israeli planes destroyed it. We saw the smoke behind us. I don't know anything about the house. When we left, all the glass was shattered.

"It took nine hours to arrive in Beirut. We brought no clothes, no food, nothing. We cannot move because we are not familiar with the streets. The men left us here to go bury the dead left behind in Nabatyeh [capital of the southern governate of the same name]. Here we have nothing. All 25 of us share three sponge mattresses and some sardines and tuna cans with bread. We lost contact with the rest of our families and neighbours, and there's no one in the village to tell us if our house is still standing."

Rajeh Hassan (23)
"We have been displaced for five days now. When the bomb hit the bridge above our house, we knew it was time to leave. Baba drove the mini van at midnight and brought us to this school. We only brought pyjamas. All the glass is shattered in the neighbourhood buildings. In this school, sanitation is poor. The children have allergies from eating canned tuna in the heat and they have no milk.

"We only want the war to stop, so we can go back home. Inshallah [God willing], it will be over soon, though I feel it's a long, long war. No one here cares about people - we have no value in their eyes. Look at what the Israelis did for the sake of two people (soldiers), only two. Humans are cheap in Lebanon, and if I had the chance to leave, I would have fled this country a long time ago."

Hady Ali Yassine (8)
"Dad put me and my sister Ithraa in the car last night, and told us we had to get away from the bombs near the airport. He didn't wake me up, because I wasn't sleeping anyway. Ithraa was scared and shouting, and mum was crying. I didn't change so was wearing pyjamas, and didn't have time to wear my shoes. That's why I can't run here with the other kids.

"We went to several schools before coming to this one in Beirut. I don't like Beirut. Ithraa is sick, she has a fever. I think she doesn't like living in this school. All we eat is bread and tuna fish in cans, and the water is dirty. When the war is over, I will buy mosquito repellent."

Mehdi Jaber (6)
"My name is Mehdi, and I'm six years old. We left our home near the airport when the Israelis started bombing us. Bayyeh (dad) took us to school here in Beirut, and left our fan and air-conditioning back home. I don't like the school here; it's summer and we're not supposed to sleep in the classroom.

Here, mosquitoes bite us all night and the toilets smell. It's very hot, and I can't sleep. My sister and I share the same mattress; it's low and she kicks me all night. I asked Bayyeh to take me home, so we can have air-conditioning again. But he said that the war should stop first. Do you know when the bombs will stop?"