Sunday, July 23, 2006

Lebanon, Part Deux

Well, I started this Blog to give me a place to comment on American politics, but events have overtaken me, and while I'm sure I'll migrate back to my intended topic, my next few entries are probably going to be on what the Lebanese are already calling the "July War" - perhaps in hope that giving it that name will keep it from extending into August. No commentary here - at least not from me, not this time (though one will be upcoming). Just wanted to give some publicity to the Lebanese Blogger's Forum, an invaluable resource for anyone who wants some insight into how the Lebanese are viewing the war. Some of the blogs -Ramzi's, Bob's, and others - fill me with hope, and make me incredibly angry at how careless Israel has been with its assault; because of that, I fear they've lost what could have been a tremendous asset (more on that later). Others fill me with despair, as I read justification and support for Hezbollah, and bloggers condemning anyone who criticizes Hezbollah as a "traitor".

I'll leave you with this post, from Ramz' blog. It's one of the most powerful, best pieces of writing I've come across in a long time, and I think it speaks for itself.

I’m blogging involuntarily, in a way. Starting a new job and a new chapter in my life had pushed blogging, flickering and other things to the background. Nothing like a war (if you must call it that… extermination is what I call it) to drag you back into it.

I’d started out by saying that the Israelis were justified (sad as that may be), nothing like an attack some 200 meters from where I grew up and my family still lives to make you reconsider. A hizbullah agent in my town is as incognito as a rapper at a KKK meeting. Yet still, the Israelis saw fit to attack two trucks, one empty, one carrying cement, in the middle of a busy street. True the attacks were precise, and not even the street was touched, but still, I have to ask why. The Israeli army is the one of the most advanced in the world, and the rate of civilian casualties has been too high to pass as accidental. I don’t put it beyond Hizbollah to hide between civilians (or to be civilians in disguise, so to speak), but still. Hizbollah is NOT Lebanon, and Lebanon is not Hizbollah. The extent of these attacks has gone beyong the acceptable boundaries of bombing a terrorist group. These attacks are also driving the anti-hizbollah Lebanese (and there’s quite a few of us) to question whether there is a hidden agenda, and whether the motives exceed the simple disarmament and disabling of hizbollah.

God knows it’s hard to detach oneself, and to be completely “objective” for a Lebanese when he sees his country’s infrastructure being destroyed and his compatriots dying, but I can’t help but have this constant thought in my head: Those that started it are more guilty. I don’t know what it means.

The Lebanese prime minister spoke up and said that the Lebanese army will go to the South, brave words, hopefully, soon to be supported by brave acts.

More and more Lebanese are saying: Fuck you. Fuck you both. Fuck Hizballah and fuck Israel. And it’s more than understandable.

I left work this afternoon and headed to a cafe to work some more (how approriate). Sitting next to me were two girls, one of them looked oriental. I didn’t really pay much attention to them, but I knew they were there, and having some airy conversation. Her phone rang. She picks up, and the tension in her voice is palpable:



“Oh no…”

“How many?”

She hangs up close to tears.

All of this was in German, of course. I could sense that this was THE WAR, OUR WAR (the one we were dragged into feet first, that is). I looked at her and asked “The war?” And she said “Yes.”

“What happened?”

“They bombed a residential building, three victims so far… It’s crazy”

I could see this girl sitting in a cafe in downtown Beirut, or clubbing, or dancing at a beach party… And I could see that she knew that we had at least one thing in common… that fucking war.

My heart twisted and shrank, as it does whenever I learn of new bombs… I asked her what town was bombed.


Like it or not, we are in this together. There are innocents dying on both sides, and there are people who care about their countries on both sides receiving phone calls like that, giving them a jolt of reality and reminding them of the fragility of life. Sadly, I see no solution on the horizon. More innocent deaths, breeding more hatred between the citizens of two countries that are, in end effect, destined (cursed?) to be neighbors.


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