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Lebanon: Thousands isolated in a sea of destruction
Olfat Mahmoud writing from Borj El Barajneh refugee camp, Beirut, Live from Lebanon, 21 July 2006
First I would like to start with the situation here in Beirut. War has prevailed everywhere and the destruction has become our daily bread.
First and foremost, starting with Borj Al Barajneh camp: The camp is stuck in the middle of the fire and bombardment, isolated from the surrounding areas, leaving the residents suffering the tension of war and scarcity of life as since most of the Lebanese people were able to leave their place and houses to other parts of Beirut. The camp residents have nowhere to resort to except to stay in the camp.
Al Borj camp is located in the southern suburbs of Beirut, surrounded by Hezbolla area where the bombs strikes are very intensive, day and night. It has three main entrances from the airport road, one from Haret Horek and another one from the Borj area. So the bombing is all around it. Therefore, the best way to reach the camp is from the airport road, which has become very dangerous and targeted at anytime of the day and night with no previous warning which endangers our lives as well.
Patrick McGreevy writing from Beirut, Live from Lebanon, 21 July 2006
It will be an emotional scene tomorrow saying "yalla bye" to our friends who are evacuating from this nasty little war. Most swear they will return. The campus of the American University of Beirut (AUB) will seem a different place then, though it is hard to imagine what it will be like. A handful of non-Lebanese faculty and staff have decided to remain. Betsy and I are among them. We have been together since 1972, and we made the decision together to stay together here. What could we be thinking?
We have been liberated to make this decision by the support of our huge families (we have 34 nieces and nephews), our wonderful friends in several locations (you know who you are), and our two sons (who can fly on their own, inshallah).
We do feel anger at what is happening to Lebanon. We don't like being driven out, but that is not the reason we are staying.
We are staying because we have commitments. I was hired in 2004 as the first Director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for American Studies and Research. You may recall that Prince Awaleed offered Rudy Giuliani $10 million after 9/11, but the New York Mayor returned it when the Prince suggested that the United States might consider a more balanced policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Editorial, MERIP, 21 July 2006
Israel is raining destruction upon Lebanon in a purely defensive operation, according to the White House and most of Congress. Even some CNN anchors, habituated to mechanical reporting of "Middle East violence," sound slightly incredulous. With over 300 Lebanese dead and easily 500,000 displaced, with the Beirut airport, bridges and power plants disabled, the enormous assault is more than a "disproportionate response" to Hizballah's July 12 seizure of two soldiers and killing of three others on Israeli soil. It is more than the "excessive use of force" that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan decries. The aerial assault dwarfs the damage done by Hizballah's rocket attacks on Israeli towns. Entire villages in south Lebanon lie in ruins, unknown numbers of their inhabitants buried in the rubble and tens of others incinerated in their vehicles by Israeli missiles as they attempted to escape northward. As it awaits the promised "humanitarian corridor," Lebanon remains almost entirely cut off from the outside world by air, sea and land. As of July 20, thousands of Israeli troops have moved across the UN-demarcated Blue Line. Yet virtually the entire American political class actively resists international calls for an immediate ceasefire, preferring to wait for an Israeli victory.