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News :: Human Rights
This is a big disaster for the Lebanese - A Dahr Jamail Dispatch
by Jamadagni das
14 Jul 2006
** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
** Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website http://dahrjamailiraq.com **
** Website by http://jeffpflueger.com **
July 14, 2006
Once again the U.S. government has refused to condemn the Israeli
invasion of Lebanon as the bombs fall on Beirut, killing scores of
In a moment of levity while driving to the border, Abu Talat turned to
me and said, "You know what I miss?" I replied, "What do you miss
He smiled and said, "Iraqi chai!" He then turns to our driver and
him if he'd ever had Iraqi chai, then went on to brag about how tasty it
is. "It is the greatest of chais," he said proudly when looking back
me once again.
When we arrived at the Lebanese border this morning we found thousands
streaming across in cars with their luggage lashed on top, and many on
foot pulling wheeled suitcases.
Little Bush, the ever obedient spokesman for Bush, announced that he
thinks Syria should be punished for their role in supporting Hezbollah,
so the mood in Damascas is one of anxious waiting to see what comes
next. The how and when of the punishment is what is on our minds.
So the latest Israeli onslaught of Lebanon is in full swing, and with
the Israelis need for the water of southern Lebanon, perhaps this
occupation of Lebanon may last longer than the last one of 22 years. If
indeed Syria gave the green light for Hezbollah to cross the UN line in
southern Lebanon and launch their attack on Israeli soldiers where they
detained two soldiers and killed another eight, they have effectively
handed the Israeli war planners an excuse for all out war against
Lebanon. In addition, the Hezbollah attack, if indeed supported by
Syria, would give the U.S. the ability to give a green light to Israel
to attack Syria. We wait, watch, and hope that the bombs don't begin to
fall on Damascas.
A reported 15,000 people crossed the Lebanese border into Syria on
Thursday, seeking refuge from widespread bombings in Beirut, carried out
by Israeli F-16 warplanes. Today, the situation continued, with reports
of bombed petrol stations, police stations, and a hospital.
Interviewing people at the border who had fled the bombs in Beirut, I
felt like I was back in Iraq by what people were telling me.
"I was in an area south of Beirut which was bombed heavily by the
Israelis," 55 year-old electrician Ali Suleiman
told me, "There were so many refugees in shelters nearby us, which was
also nearby an old hospital which the Israelis bombed last night. It was
terrifying at night when they attacked our area, and the Israelis
thought the hospital was an ammunition dump for Hezbollah, so they
bombed the hospital. Both Syrian and Lebanese people are leaving now.
There is no more food, not even bread. There was no more electricity or
water in our area. If this situation continues, it will be a giant
The same tactics I've seen used by the U.S. in Fallujah, Al-Qa'im and
other cities in Iraq.
I was told a similar story by a 22 year-old Lebanese student, Nebham
Razaq Hamed, who was in southern Beirut. "The bombing at night was
continuous and has continued today, they are using warplanes and
sometimes artillery. Everybody is in a panic because of the haphazard
bombing which is killing so many civilians now. The Israelis are
terrorizing the people intentionally by not discriminating between
fighters and civilians."
As the level of fighting deepens, one can only hope that other forms of
terrorism don't beset the people of Lebanon, particularly the women. In
Ruth Rosen's "The Hidden War on Women in Iraq," an incredible piece
posted on TomDispatch
<http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=101034> recently, the
disastrous situation for women caught up in the chaos of war is outlined
well. This must read paints the tragic picture of what we can only hope
will not descend on the women of Beirut as the Israeli siege of that
city grinds on.
A man from Saudi Arabia on a bus
with his family said, "Are the Israelis not occupying enough Arab land
It is only 127 kilometers from Beirut to Damascas, so the attacks were
very fresh on the minds of the people I spoke with-many of them
with shaky hands.
Others told me that the Bekaa Valley of central Lebanon, located on a
high plateau situated between the Mt. Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon mountain
ranges, is being bombed, including the ancient city of Baalbek. The
city, which began at the end of the third millennium BC, was originally
Phoenician, is located near two rivers and shortly after a Roman colony
was founded there by Julius Caesar in 47 BC, construction on the massive
temple complex began in earnest. Whether the temples are being bombed is
doubtful, but the nearby city of Baalbek, where Hezbollah controls the
area, has been bombed according to two people I interviewed.
"It's very bad there, as the Israelis are attacking civilians, bombing
police and petrol stations, and even the fuel storage depots," said a 50
year-old Kuwait man who was fleeing Beirut, "In fact, they have even
bombed the airport once again. I saw F-16's bombing and there is smoke
everywhere. This is a big disaster for the Lebanese."
When asked what he thought it would take to end the fighting, he
promptly replied, "It looks like the Arab governments are not moving
their asses, so I am leaving."
(c)2006 Dahr Jamail.
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