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Commentary :: War and Militarism
751 vs. 61 casualties: Notes from a journalist in Beirut
31 Jul 2006
july 30...
It's odd, but in times of war we are all reduced. Sub-humans would be taking it to the extreme, but our instincts become acute and our inhibitions seem to diminish. Survival of a certain kind takes over and we come to realize over time just what people we are and even more how the relationships we have with others are but a tool of survival. Our lives revolve around the notion of advancing in the days of normalcy and once the ability to go further on a daily basis disappears things become a lot more basic. If you are contributing to the war efforts in anyway then you may feel another sense within you. These include the efforts of writing, entertainment of less fortunate children, or the distribution of food, clothing, medicines and household supplies to those who have none of them due to the pure and utter destruction of everything they owned…but this time not by natural disaster. They say that a flood is a cleansing and renewing event in a harsh sense; and I guess in essence so can a fire be of these same attributes. But, when the cause of the fire is an intentional choice to annihilate then it no longer carries within it the aroma of nature. It becomes an act of violence and an act of hate. When these actions are aimed at civilians then those actions fall under the oh so commonly used word in this new millennium which we have all lived to know as terror. What exactly is the fractional or percent difference between 541 61? Amo Ziad can you help me out on that one?

They don't even take into account the lives of the Palestinians anymore. At this point it must just seem pointless. I mean, you think about 58 years of occupation. Who could care anymore about the lives of a few hundred more? PLEASE! A whole other population is currently being annihilated. There's something more important? They seem to brush them aside like the descendants of the holy land are of no more significance to this entire problem. Typical tactics of war media attention propaganda. The same thing happened last year when how many hundreds of Iraqis where trampled due to the sudden scare that was staged by the forces that be…as the Zionists where all of a sudden seen by the entire international community as angels for resettling the already several year old ILLEGAL settlers that had been living there, armed and ready to attack at the most densely populated plot of land on earth, measured by also the international community, not myself. Yesterday as I spoke with my friend who has now somehow made it back to Gaza he tells me that: "here, there is no hope anymore." They are distributing a $30,000 food supply, he said, to the local residents of the region. Surely, if an entire population is wiped out by another it will not be the first time in our world's sad history. But maybe the first time that it is done by the same people that just had it done to their own ancestors two generations before. Gross! Sometimes i find it disgusting to call myself a human being.

I believe that the destruction in numbers of a civilian population is of greater significance than is the percentage of soldiers' deaths, as measured by the international players, UN peace keepers and the countries at battle. Here in Lebanon over one fourth (1/4) of our countries' population has been left homeless, not to mention its 401 dead (now more). This hasn't been due to the eruption of a volcano as just occurred in Ecuador, the Philippines or Indonesia a few days ago, nor is it because of a hard hurricane season like the one that hit the Americas last year. It can't even be attributed to a tsunami like the devastating one that hit the lower southerner East Asian countries Christmas time of 2004. This is an intentional displacement and attempt of annihilation of a certain people in the country I live in. This is the "clash of fundamentalism" between east and west. This the cycle of history that they teach us so thoroughly of in our 70% incorrect history text books as we grow up. This is the unpredicted idea that when you colonize a people (the British) and you impel for the creation of an offspring (the US) and then they feel the need to be allied and protected by a strategic point (Israel) it creates a vast so wide that it becomes indestructible, that your colonized wants to see it down and destroyed. It chooses to see it down! It inevitably then allies itself with the forces that be in its locally chosen points. Now al-quaeda has taken sides.

Sunday Morning:

Now they have just hit a small village called Quana. In 1996 it was also attacked killing more than 100 of its residents. It is being called a massacre as far as 52 bodies have been pulled out of the ruble. 28 children and many of whom were already refugees in the town form other Southern villages. Israel claimed that they warned residents three days ago to evacuate with leaflets dropped in the area. Who cares! It doesn't matter! This is already going down in history, publicly FINALLY, as a criminal act of war by the Zionist state, because now the number is rising and Condelezza Rice has canceled her visit this second time around to Beirut for today. Good because she would have been bombarded by hate from the Lebanese people. With mine among hundreds of others. If a surprise visit hailed some 100 protesters last week. What does the future hold for us? What do we millions of Arabs, Palestinian, Lebanese do. As you sit there in front of a computer reading this email, do you feel helpless?

Do I still go ahead and pursue the attempt at becoming a citizen of the only country in the history of this world to ever poses so much power that it controls in its hands the destiny of the people in this place…of my birth during the last war? I'm not sure these statistics exist now, but what number equals the Palestinians + the Lebanese + the Isrealis?

Now several hundred less. If you add up all the countries of the middle east and north africa's populations and all of those that support the east in this case, do they outnumber the western representation -- Israel, the US and its Jews, sympathizers and Zionist apologists?

Who knows….but if a war is to continue it seems apparent who is most likely to "win".

Yesterday George and I visited the beach, or should I call it the oil spills. It's black…covered in tar. There's nothing left on the land that's not doused by dark black unsettling liquid. From bottles, to fish, to a chair I saw turned over. Among us were many journalists and reporters. Will anyone care? Israel threatened to strike on any cleaning boats that attempt to clear up the coast form the countries spilled oil reserves. And now the US asks for cease fire? Disgusting!

Salam one day



This is from my close friend Summer, in Damascus. She's writing from the old city:
Here's what I can tell you from Syria. Makeshift refugee camps have
been set up throughout Syria. Hundreds of thousands of Lebanese
flooded Syria since the beginning of the Israeli offensive and Syria
has opened up its hospitals and state schools (which are thankfully
empty due to the summer holidays -- at least the timing could have
been worse). Most of these Lebanese families, the majority from towns
in the south and Bekaa valley ("a Hizballah stronghold") fled with
little time to consider clothing, toiletries or any other basic
necessities, and as the U.S. has given Israel the greenlight to
continue bombing, are now here for longer than expected.

I visited one such makeshift school about fifteen minutes outside of
Damascus. Many Syrian families have opened up their homes to host
families, but the majority of the refugees sleep on the floor of
classrooms. They are bused to a nearby neighborhood to shower and then
return. When I visited last weekend, eight women were pregnant and
ready to give birth at any moment. Four babies were born in the past
four days and are living in the makeshift camp now as well. My
friends and I went yesterday to give them newborn clothes, bibs and
blankets and formula. One of the babies was named "Sooriya" (Syria)
by her twenty year old mother, a Palestinian girl from a camp in the
south of Lebanon. Her family basically moved from one camp to
another. I took pictures which I will post soon.

The majority of the refugees are children, mostly under the age of
ten. They have some food and shelter, but are scared and confused
about the situation. They need toys and activities to help them
forget about the war and the fact that they may not have homes to
return to. They also need clothes, as they literally fled with the
clothes on their backs.

We are working on figuring out the best way to help them, as well as
the families stuck in the camps. For now, it seems taking monetary
donations and creating kits of basic necessities for each family is
the best bet, plus including non-perishable food items. However, I'm
planning on checking with the Red Crescent (the Red Cross for Muslim
countries) and will get back to everyone with more detailed
information. They already work on the Syrian-Lebanese border and
might have more success getting into the more devastated areas.

Thanks again for reading.

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