Thursday, July 20, 2006

No One Cares

Hi All,

I thought that this post would be all fire and brimstone, wrath and righteousness but I am finding that I simply can't do it. I simply can't put aside my utter despair at what is happening in Lebanon, my grief for the dead and my fear for family and friends to call up some righteous anger. I just can't. NO ONE WILL HELP US!

The world has forgotten us. Our blood means nothing. We are screaming and dying and being held hostage not only by Israeli bombs but by Hizbullah. No one cares.

Below is an email that was forwarded to me by a girl in Lebanon. She is orginally from Ottawa. In the interest of privacy, I have not posted the full names she sent too but I can prove it to anyone who requires that.

> Date: Sun, 16 Jul 2006 09:07:40 -0400 (EDT)> > I'm in east beirut now. I really wish I could send out emails everyday -> because i am contiuously hearing of one atrocity after another and i> definitely can remember all of them now. Unfortunately the electricity> comes and goes and my internet connection hasn't worked for a couple days.> i am in an internet cafe now in east beirut.> > i think the situation here is absolutely unimaginable for those of us> abroad. i remember watching the American bombardment of Baghdad. i was> both "shocked and awed". the feeling now is unexplainable... adrenaline,> anxiety, terror, delirium, sleeplessness. If parts of this email dont make> sense it's because the Israeli "defense" forces haven't let us sleep for> several days. There will be no form or order to this email. Obviously i> dont have the luxury of taking my time and I'm writing things off the top> of my head.> > Having to write this email is an overwhelming responsibility and I'm not> sure I can portray the situation as accurately as I would like, but I'll> try. What's happening now in Beirut constitute crimes against humanity.> Please understand that there are a million thoughts running through my> head at the moment and its hard to get them organized.> > The main transportation infrastructure in southern Lebanon has been almost> completely destroyed. There are mass civilian casualties in the south of> the country and the southern suburbs of the city. A group of families> escaping their village in the south after the Israeli government called> for civilians to "not be where hisbullah lives and operates" (this message> rained down on us in the form of flyers with subtle creases down the> middle horizontally and vertically so that they flutter gently down - on> bright green paper) were speeding down the highway in sour heading for> saida. The pick up truck was hit with a missile killing 23 people mostly> children. Theres many other reports of cars being targeted on the main> coastal highway – those of you who have been here before know this highway> well I;m sure. There is footage on television of mass civilian casualties.> The "idf" bombed the airport several times, the main Beirut port (right> behind my office), and the port in jounieh, a Christian town north of> Beirut. They are also pursuing strikes against an impotent and defenseless> Lebanese army, but the main target and victims of the terrorist offensive> have been civilian infrastructure and people. They are trying to bomb the> population into submission.> > The stated target of the Israeli actions is hisbullah surrender. Hisbullah> is an organization that was born out of the Israeli/Palestine conflict.> When the Israelis invaded lebanon in 82, a loose network of shia groups> fought against the occupation and the presence of multinational forces in> the country. Members of this network carried out the first suicide> bombings in modern history – aimed at the American barracks in Lebanon –> killing 243 service men. They are widely held responsible for liberating> south Lebanon, which was occupied for over two decades. This network> slowly evolved into an organized political party – complete with members> of parliament and ministers. They have an armed wing that, with the help> of an alliance with a popular Christian leader, has balanced the power in> Lebanon and has given a voice to an otherwise marginalized community. they> represent the most historically socio-economically disadvantaged group> (also the biggest minority) – there is no majority. It so happens that the> shia muslims in the south and the Palestinians were the biggest victims of> the long term israeli occupation. It's a lot more complicated than that,> but I want to get to what's actually happening.> > I am 4 or 5 kilometers away from the heaviest bombings taking place in the> densely populated and socio-economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in> the southern suburbs. Mostly in haret hreik, a relatively poor but vibrant> (used to be) neighborhood, where I lived for 2 and a half months. The> continuous air and sea attacks are absolutely deafening and unlike any> other sound. I think we're almost as close as we can be to the heavy> bombing without being in direct danger - a small christian neighbourhood> called ain el remeneh seperates us and the southern suburbs. if you look> up a map of beirut - i am in fern el chebak - the bombings are in the> southern suburbs - right outside of the city - ghobeiri, bir el abed,> MOSTLY haret hreik, msharafiyeh, borj el brajne, bir hassan, rweiss,> spheir, and several other places. The bombing strategy is perverted. They> bombard heavily then wait just enough time for your nerves to calm and> silence to be restored after which the come back for another round. The> "idf" is infamous for bombing their target, waiting just enough time for> the fire trucks, ambulances, and helpful ppl to arrive and then they come> back and bomb the same target – this was happening all night. From the> looks of it, the Israelis are destroying the southern suburbs. The> lighthouse in west Beirut has also been bombed. Unlike the first night,> the fighter jets can no longer be seen. Today is unseasonably cloudy.> Thick clouds blanket the sky completely. I read something about this> tactic months ago - there's some chemical that is released into the sky> created a clouds - i forget the naem of the chemical. Yesterday it rained> a little.> > What sickens me is that our government has been complacently complicit.> The refusal of the international community to step in and exert pressure,> not just on Israeli, but all parties involved, shows how impotent this> world actually is against the geopolitical agendas of the American and> Israeli government.> > The Israelis have destroyed the main roads from the south to Beirut and> all but one or two to Syria. There is virtually no way out of Lebanon at> the moment and a complete blockade has been imposed by israel. The> minister of foreign affairs in Canada apparently announced that there> would be an evacuation of 10 000 cdn citizens – there are 50 000 in this> country and we are all citizens – we're all equal and NO ONE deserves> special treatment. Don't believe what you hear - according to sources at> the embassy, the evac announcement (if there was one) was completely> false. We are staying put for now and last i heard they were "working on> plan".> > I want to repeat this point – THERE ARE 50 000 CANADIANS IN THIS COUNTRY.> I think we might be a little decensitized when it comes to watching poor> arabs getting blown up. I hope atleast the 50 000 figure will hit home> with some in Canada.> > 50 000 canadian citizens. They are not more important then anyone else in> this country - canadian or not - at the moment. Just remember as all this> is happening - as the israelis unleash there vast arsenal of weapons of> mass destruction on the people of lebanon - as they destroy the> infrastructure of an already war weary country slowly trying to get back> on it's feet - as they change the balance of power to suit there own> self-interested agenda - there are 50 000 people who share YOUR> citizenship being directly affected by the israeli actions.> > There are 300 000 lebanese in Canada.> > 50 000 canadian citizens in this country.> > Where is our government? i'm not demanding an evaucation plan, i'm the> embassy staff is working hard to secure a good plan and the safety of> canadians when it's time. I am demanding that our government condemn and> more importantly work to prevent the offensive action by israel. Is our> government complicit or are the simply impotent?> > It was reported that the Israelis struck a military base in Syria proper.> The Syrians have denied the hit. I wonder if the Israelis were testing> the waters and Syria responded "positively" – surrendering without> surrendering. Israels offensive is bigger then the two Israeli prisoners> – this terrorist action is aimed at reshaping the region and destroying> years of development in Lebanon. It is without precedent and against> international law. I just heard that the prime minister plans to send> lebanese troops to the south apparently to take control (engage hisbullah> in the south)... could this be the beginning of a another civil war? i> havent confirmed the report. also just heard that 9 civilians were killed> in Haifa. Proportionately those casualties are minor but none the less> they are crimes and highly symbolic. I really wish there is some kind of> balanced reporting happening over there. Check out nahar net - google it> - for updates. also i'm sure is doing a good job> reporting.> > The history of military prisoner taking by Hezbollah has been positive –> up until now. I don't remember the exact figures, but I believe once they> traded something like 430 Lebanese prisoners for the corpses of 3 israeli> soldiers. Another time there was a bigger trade with over 1000 Lebanese> released. Since the military operation that resulted in the capture of 2> Israeli soldiers, hisbullah has been calling for negotiation for the> release of three Lebanese prisoners held in Israeli jails and the 1000> illegally held Palestinians in Israel (no trial, no charges – think> guantanamo – minors and women also). Preferring open war fare, Israel> chose not to negotiate. Instead they have taken Lebanon "back 20 years" as> they promised to do and according to an official "IDF" document I saw with> my own eyes they will "avoid civilian casualties, but not at the expense> of our own security". Hospitals in the south are overflowing with> casualties and pieces of murdered children. I saw the footage. In the> spirit of unity, the Lebanese people from all over the country are calling> television stations giving their phone numbers in an offer to house> refugees – of which there are MANY. There are 600 people living in a small> park in Beirut – the only public park I know of in this city. There are> many many more refugees.> > Our government refuses to condemn the terrorist offensive and the israeli> use of weapons of mass destruction in Lebanon. They are indirectly> responsible, as well as all those governments that do not act, for the> mass killing, the destruction, the crimes against humanity, the murders,> the terror, inflicting this country as i write this. As citizens, we also> bare responsibility for the actions of our government. Cleary, politics> and money are more important than human life. Especially the lives of poor> people – who have been used as pawns by ALL PARTIES involved and are now> paying the heaviest price.> > I find myself debating whether or not hisbullah should give in to the> Israelis. Should they disarm and give back the prisoners? Unfortunately> doing so will not bring back those who died and will not rebuild the> destroyed homes and infrastructure. Israel will not take responsibility> for the destruction and havoc cause by there weapons of mass destruction> in this country - even if they get their way. The will not compensate the> families of those who were murdered - they will not rebuild and they will> not provide food or shelter for the refugges. Slowly the southern suburbs> are looking more and more like jenin refugee camp after the Israeli> military machine was through with it. Unfortunately, a hisbullah surrender> will justify the terrorist actions of the Israeli government and will be> interpreted internationally as a victory over so-called terror. What to> do?> > Another part of me is avoiding the ideological debate at the moment. This> is no time for philosophical and political debate. The action on the> ground by the terrorist government of Israel - and all of those who> support their actions - is in no way justifiable. The disproportionate> murdering and use of force by the "idf" is dispicable. The impotence of> the international community, Arab governments and the west is disgusting.> The inaction of the UN is morally indefensible.> > I suggest you read chapters 6, 7 and 8 of the charter of the untied> nations. just heard that the israelis gave 45 mins to clear southern> lebanon - is this the beginning of an invasion - and how will people clear> the south WITH NO ROADS OR BRIDGES TO DRIVE ON???> > Those who are terrorized, whether israeli or lebanese, are also easily> radicalized - being here makes it easy to understand why.> > I think my emotions got the better of me several times throughout this> email - but i stand by everything i just wrote. those who know me well> know that i usually try to be politically correct - obviously in times> like this - it's almost impossible. I feel better now that I got some of> these thoughts out of head. We are holding up fine and my family who live> in the southern suburbs escaped in time. Four of them (including my 90+> year old grandfather) are staying with me and my Canadian and German> neighbors. Hopefully they haven't lost their homes. The bombardments have> started again – well they haven't really stopped since midnight last> night. I'm in a safe neighborhood and there's no direct danger here. I> think today there is a demo at the Canadian parliament. Please go. I would> appreciate it if you can forward this letter and circulate it at the demo.> see you soon.> > Peace.> Ali


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