31 August 2006

Cows Know Better...

"Two Lebanese shepherds and 100 sheep on Thursday crossed the Blue Line into Israel [...] the U.N. said in a statement.

"Such incidents can endanger (a) very fragile and tense situation," it said.

Last week the Israeli Yediot Aharonot daily reported that dozens of hungry cows whose pasture land in northern Israel were reduced to ashes by Hizbullah rockets found a hole in the border fence and moved to Lebanon for healthier grazing. [...]

After Monday's ceasefire, there were no reports that cows were still crossing Israeli territory into southern Lebanon."

Source.

War Jokes (re-runs)

  • Why are coquettish elderly Lebanese women very happy about the war? Because it took them back 30 years.
  • Why will Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah win the Nobel Prize for Education? Because he is the only man who sent one million people to school in just two days.
  • After Saudi Arabia decided to donate half a billion dollars to rebuild Lebanon, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ordered the capture of six Israeli soldiers at the border.
  • Amid a mass evacuation of foreign nationals from Lebanon, Palestinian refugees who have been stranded in Lebanon for nearly 60 years are ecstatic: the Palestinian Authority has decided to evacuate its nationals as well.
  • An Israeli recently arrives at London's Heathrow airport. As he fills out a form, the customs officer asks him: "Occupation?" The Israeli promptly replies: "No, just visiting!"
more...

30 August 2006

Nobel Prize in Literature 1988

29 August 2006

Round Up

Here is the weekly round up of the Lebanese blogosphere for the Global Voices Online:


This week the Lebanese blogosphere witnessed a sluggish move away from posts about destruction and death caused by the war to posts that reflect patriotic passions, politics and personal accounts. Photos of how ads, weddings and cartoons were affected by the war can also be found. Life in the blogosphere seems to be trying hard to go back to the way it was.

Graphics can convey messages more efficiently than words, in most cases to say the least. In the light of this, Ahmad posted images of some war inspired ads while EDB has a photo of a wedding with the rubbles of Beirut’s suburbs as a backdrop. And then we also have Mazen Kerbaj who uses his blog to post updates of drawings, comics and free improvised music with Beirut in mind.
If you like to see facts and data displayed in numbers then go to Lazarus. He posted recent results of post-war opinion poll survey about public support for Hezbollah and compared them with the results from a similar opinion poll done two years ago. The comparison is quite interesting.

This week Anarchistian continues the story that she started of her friend“the terrorist” with a post about a conversation they had while he was in his hospital bed recovering from injuries sustained from the war:

“Imagine.. Imagine.. I never imagined it myself.. that I will be a father. And I
can’t leave. I will be there for him always, until he grows up. God willing. But
do you blame me for doing what I did? I did not kill babies. I’m not a baby
killer. No. I might’ve hurt some people, but they should understand, it’s our
land. They killed our children. They want our land. They don’t want peace. They
want to have it all for themselves, they want us to disappear. But we won’t. We
won’t. Why don’t they want to let us live, too? We’re not terrorists. We love
life, too. But we will also die for our beliefs, for our way of life, for our
children. They should leave. That’s the only way there will be peace.”

The city of Beirut had its share of posts this week. Mirvet posted number of opinions, feelings and reflections about Beirut expressed by Lebanese bloggers in what she called Lebanese Whispers:

In these difficult times, the collective human psyche tends to clench up in an
almost regressive state of extreme nationalism and social identity. I have never
seen an overt celebration of Lebanon and a severe state of nostalgia and longing
and belonging as I have seen since June 12. As we religiously reminisce about
details and feelings and memories that we cherish and share, we might be
mistaken to be living a sentimental bourgeois dream that only remains in our
consciousness and that does not reflect the reality.[…]Lebanon is and will
remain the Levant of cultures, humanity, arts, love and our identity. It is
heaven on earth but mostly it is the heaven in our hearts. Lebanon is my father.
Tough, old and dignified. Beirut is my mother. Warm, ageless and beautiful.
She also has her own definition of what the real Beirut is.

Jamal witnessed how the situation in Lebanon is crashing back to normalcy.
Mustapha came to the defense of his home-city, Tripoli, which was accused of being a breeding ground for terrorists.

Politics also had its share in the Lebanese blogosphere this week. Some bloggers saw new internal divisions rising as a result of the war and others referred to old ones that were hidden, because of the war, making a comeback.
At July06WarOnLebanon Samer’s view of the situation goes like this:
Two recurrent motifs structure the debate on the future of Lebanon. The first is
the series of opposition used to characterize the situation: Hong Kong or Hanoi,
Paris or Mogadishu, Riviera or Citadel, International Community or Iran, etc.
This series of opposition is grafted on the problem of the state-in-the-state,
used to describe Hezbollah’s apparatus and monopoly on vital functions of the
state.
Nadim Shehadi at Ms Levantine had this to say about the divisions:
[…]two competing projects have been running in parallel in Lebanon. One aims at
building a Riviera, a Monaco of the eastern Mediterranean; the other a Citadel
or bunker, at the frontline of confrontation with Israel and the United
States.
Charles Malik discusses divisions within the “Future Movement” which heads the majority bloc in the Lebanese parliament:
Lots of bloviating about Lebanon is going on right now, and none of it
matters.There are no trends. There are few plans. The plans that are already in
the works have not propelled far enough for them to become apparent enough to
talk about.There is a power vacuum, and many parties are trying to fill the
void.At the moment, some figures have increased their power, but that could be
destroyed quickly.For months I wrote about divisions within the Future Movement
noting that three general strains exist: […]
Finally, Sophia takes a hit at the thorny issue of the definition of terrorism and war on terror:
The problem is what do we do when the alleged terrorists are those who resist
Israel and represent the majority of citizen in Arab countries? This is more
than half the population in Lebanon for Hezbollah and more than half the
population in Palestine for Hamas. Israel and the US are waging war on both
organizations in the name of the ‘War on Terror’.There are two logical
possibilities here when so many people correspond to the definition of
terrorists or terrorists supporters:We are wrong and our definition of terrorism
is not correct;We are not wrong and our definition of terrorism is correct; […]
And Pierre Tristam discusses the explosive issue of the hypocrisy involved in the States department’s investigation of whether Israel used cluster bombs to bomb South Lebanon.

28 August 2006

Dan the Terrorist

Question:
Why did Dan whose father fought with the Lebanese Forces, Dan the atheist/leftist/gay rights activist/anarchist and Dan the soon-to-be father pick up arms to fight with Hezbollah?!

Answers:

Part One (Meet Dan)

Part Two (A conversation with Dan)

Beta-Blogger Migration Problems

I switched to blogger in beta four days ago and everything went wrong. I couldn't log into my dashboard, all comments to all previous posts were lost etc...
After series of nag-chain-letters to blogger support and attempting all the tricks I could come up with,
I am now able to post again. I don't know whether it was the "blogger support" that did it or my tinkering. Although I like to go for the second.

And since moving to beta-blogger can not be undone, I will have to use it and see how thing go from here.
Hopefully better after we started off on the wrong foot.

Stay well everybody...

24 August 2006

Blog Round up

Here is another round up of the Lebanese blogosphere for the Global Voices Online:

Lebanon: One Week After the Cease Fire

Most Lebanese Blogs still reflect on the war and its aftermath. Some post photos of Lebanese trying to regain their lives and their efforts to fix that which was damaged. Others write political and social analysis of what happened and what should be done in addition to some personal accounts. Here is a sample. Happy reading.

Blogging Beirut posted some beautiful photos and videos about people returning to their villages crossing rivers on improvised bridges. The return of Beirut’s nightlife is also featured. Blogging Beirut has this article on destruction of Al-Khiam Prison/Museum as well.

Zeina posted about her efforts to clean up the oil spill cause by the bombing of Jiyyeh. She also described her post war feelings in the same article:

week of hell.
this past week has been slow and tough. it is almost as if last month was all played in fast forward and then since the ceasefire, we are moving in ultra slow motion. for the last month, i just wanted everything to end… now, i don’t know where to begin. for the last month, i would purposefully try and numb myself because i was too afraid to feel everything… today i am begging for my feelings to return because without them, i can not live.

What does the Middle East need? And what it does not need? Sophia at Les Politiques wrote some answers.

Here is another question: Who started terrorism in the Arab-Israeli conflict? The answer is here according to the Angry Arab News Service.

Abu Kais at Beirut to Beltway had this to say about the outcome of the war:

What victory? And where is this victory set?
The way I see it, Hizbullah’s reign is over, whether they realize it or not, and whether those pundits claiming Hizbullah victory know it or not. This senseless war may not have finished them off militarily, but whatever Hizbullah has gained within its own community was lost with Sunnis, Christians and Druze, and I should add, sensible Shias. So they “stood up” to the Israeli army. Israel’s inability to crush them does not translate into a victory for Khomeini’s soldiers. The livelihood of hundreds of thousands of Lebanese was probably ruined, and Hizbullah cannot brush it aside as “victory”.

The Israelis called Anarchistian’s friend a terrorist but she has a different story to tell:

My friend grew up without a father; with the pain of not knowing his fate, of not having closure. A pain all too familiar for thousands of Lebanese and Palestinians, who await a word on the fate of their loved ones, have been patiently doing so for many a decade. Most important of all, he fought hard to get rid of the fascism that his pain had led him to adopt. And what a major fight it was! He kept asking me, and I could see the horror and pain in his eyes as he brought himself to utter the question, “did my dad kill civilians?” He was burdened by actions he had not taken, torn between his longing for a normal family and the moral questions that his father’s mysterious past raised. He has finally given up on the quest to find his dad, which brought him to Lebanon to begin with. […]
Meet Dan, my friend, with whom I sang and danced on the streets in protest of war, with whom I faced the cops, with whom I blocked traffic. All, a cry for justice. Dan, the child of east Beirut, now the resistance fighter of the south. Meet Dan, my friend, the terrorist.

Mustapha at Beirut Spring addressed President Bush on the issue of the USA donating money to Lebanon:

You see Mr. Bush, I don’t know how it works in the US, but here in the Middle East, you can’t drop bombs and aid at the same time. We all know that you were shipping high-precision bombs to the Israelis, bombs that could have been used to kill Lebanese children. We all know that America was behind postponing the ceasefire until the “objectives” of the Israelis are met. Honestly Mr. President, no matter how much money you throw at us, you can’t undo the bad press that gave you.

Here is another letter from M. K. Saad at Ms Levantine addressed to P.M. Tony Blair about what should be done to get rid of Hezbollah:

You fight Hezbollah by taking away the reason for their existence. You stop Israel from acting like the bully in the playground. You push a fair and balanced UN resolution. You give the desperate people of Palestine and the destitute people of Lebanon something to lose. You give them schools. You give them hospitals. You give them jobs. You give them hope and dreams. And you don’t give them rice. You let them grow it. Peacefully.

Finally, Dr. Victorino wrote “On Hezbollah, France and the latest UN (Ir)resolution… Plus Why Bushmert Wants to Blow Iran off the Map.

22 August 2006

Blog Lull & Depleted Uranium

Putting the pieces together after the cease fire is taking time and effort. More than was anticipated. Hence the pause in blogging. Today Humpty Dumpty came to mind.

Is any one in Beirut feeling a funny burning sensation on the face and in the eyes like me? Especially those who visit the suburbs? Could it just be the hot August weather?

Al-Akhbar [Ar] reported yesterday that a bomb hole (3m deep 10m wide) in Khiam was tested for nuclear radiation by Dr. Ibrahim Rashidi of the Lebanese University and Mohammad Kobeisi of the National Council for Scientific Research. The radiation level was very high according to both. Depleted uranium is suspected. Samples were taken for further testing to determine the type of radiation. Bernard Koushner (ex minister, France) was present according to Al-Akhbar. The article, written by Kamel Jaber, mentions suspicions of Khiam being hit by Tomahawk rockets.

See this article titled "Israelis Rain Down Deadly DU on Lebanese Civilians". Thanks Wiggo.

A lot is going on in Lebanese politics in the aftermath of the bombing. Most are worth mentioning and/or discussing. Changes need to be made. In states-like Israel-officials are held responsible for their decisions and action. Right? At least this, should be done here too.

Plenty is going on in Iraq and Palestine too.
Who is tampering with our lives?

Later…

19 August 2006

To Cease Fire or not to Cease Fire

Today Israel staged yet another bound-to-fail commando raid in the Bekaa.
Casualties on both sides.

Read more here.
And here.
And here.

Round-up of the Lebanese Blogosphere

This weeks round-up of the Lebanese Blogosphere as published on Global Voices Online:

Lebanon: Before and After the Cease Fire

Cease fire in the Israeli-Lebanese war officially began on Monday 14th August. Enteries in the Lebanese blogosphere were diverse starting from what went on during the last days of the war to predictions and analysis about the political consequences of the war on Lebanon. Some bloggers wrote about the effect of this conflict on their personal lives and attitudes. Others wrote about the reaction of their Jewish friends during the war. There are also some war jokes, anecdotes and war dialogues. Blogging and the reading of blogs turned out to be a source of solace and therapy for at least one blogger.

Let’s start with Charles Malik who said that the Lebanese are unhappy and predicted a change in the domestic political scene in the coming days. While AM bluntly mentioned the shifts she experienced in her feelings and attitudes as a result of the war.

Walid Moukarzel makes use of soccer terminology to evaluate the players in the war.

Bob at 1TooManyPeaches compared the announced goals of the war at its beginning and at its end and asks:

So again, can someone please tell me what was this war all about? […]
But wait, there are still more good news. Olmert said that Israel has the right to respond to any violation of the truce, which will mean that another round of destruction and killing will take place. However, he vowed to hunt down Hizbullah leaders and kill them. So in a way, he has the right to violate Lebanon’s sovereignty and kill Lebanese people, but if God forbids Hizbullah would violate the truce, he has the right to respond. It is a logic i still fail to absorb much like the whole logic of this war.


In one of her many satires EDB wrote about symptoms of impending internal strife as a result of the war:

We’ve barely made it to day four of the ceasefire, and already the usual suspects (Syrian President Al-Assad, Jumblatt & co) are trying to stir the shit pot. And many Lebanese are falling for it– the old sectarian trap, and the blame-Syria-for-your-bad-hair-day game.

Jamal had this to say hours before the cease fire came into effect:

13 hours to go until the promised ceasefire.
Just over a month ago, a man by the name of Ehutzpanim Olmert declared war on Lebanon to send it back 20 years, to free 2 Israeli soldiers, and to destroy Hezbollah.
Instead he earned himself war criminal credentials, strengthened Hezbollah considerably, and caused damage to the Israeli army image that not even 20 years would fix. Not a very successful war, is it?

Have you ever thought of translating one of your dreams into a drawing? Amal did just that.

Wars also bring out the sense of humor in some people. Many jokes were circulated in Lebanon during this war. Ahmad posted one about Abu Abed and Olmert.

Wars also touch people on the personal level. Here Sophia wrote about shattered lives in Lebanon

Who was Salwa Wehbé ?
Most of the time, when we see pictures of people killed on TV or in newspapers, our perception of the life that is behind is always abstract. A life is a story and not everybody has the ability to construct a story out of a picture, especially when often such pictures are clouded by political, strategic, military or simply spin […]

Reading blogs was one way Jamil found some peace of mind:

It was actually reading the blogs of fellow bloggers that helped me the most. I don’t know anyone of them by face, but I felt connected, as if I knew them for a long time. Reading blogs has become a daily ritual and I have come to really enjoy it. On these blogs, I saw many talents. I laughed, teared, read poetry and listenned to forgotten tunes that lived in me for a long time.

An interesting new blog in the Lebanese blogosphere is A Lebanese Cafe during the WAR which posts views and dialogues of visitors to Younes café in Beirut.
RoxieAmerica listed some statistics on the Israeli Hezbollah war.

Mustapha called for a new Lebanon in which:

We should have an internal belief that modern wars are fought economically, by competing in production and innovation. A prosperous, plural Lebanon is a stronger foe than a militant, xenophobic Lebanon. Prosperity is about uniting families by preventing immigration. It’s about dignity. It’s about prestige and influence. A militant Lebanon will only create destitute, wretched and scattered citizens who feed off other people’s charities.

Prof As’ad proposed the following equation for those who are interested in knowing the outcome of the war:

If you really want to know the answer to that: just see the Israeli press, the Zionist propaganda media, and the fanatics in the comments’ section of this site. They are pretty angry, are they not? They are quite frustrated and disoriented. They are fulminating and babbling incoherently.
[…] fortunately, this war has also discredited the suicide bombings of Hamas and Islamic Jihad: aside from ethics, it has been clearly revealed to be ineffective and worse. And Arab popular self-confidence is much more threatening to Israel, in strategic terms, than large Arab armies. The small size of the Hizbullah army will only add to the growing mystique.

Mirvat wrote about the reaction of her Jewish friend when this war began:

“What can I do? What can I do?” she screams to me in the most humane almost apologetic way trying to make me understand that she is as heartbroken about the dead children and mothers and fathers. She tells me how she stopped talking to half of her family who can’t see what she sees. She tells me how she attacked a rabbi telling him that a state that loots, tortures, confiscates land, undergoes ethnic cleansing and mass killing and war crimes is not a state that should represent her or her children or the religion she believes in. She told him a state built on racism and greed and religious fanaticism is not better that the enemy we try to demonize and to finish off. She tells him we adopted the techniques of the Nazis and what kind of hope will that leave our children with even if you don’t care about their children? She then tells me the rabbi looked her dead in the eye and told her, “Every dead Palestinian child is a step forward”. She says she is not surprised, i say i’m not either for these are the hopes of those leaders who are exploiting the religion to their political interests and who exemplify the civilization of hate and the culture of death.

A call on Nassrallah to retire came from Raja:

Lebanon, today, is at a very clear juncture, Nasrallah. You either “retire” your military component while it is at the “top,” leave a solid legacy behind, and save Lebanon in the process. Or, you persist in your obstinate ways, and drag all of the country into oblivion. Starting today, the real battle for Lebanon’s survival begins.

Michael Totten reported from Northern Israel on events that took place on August 11 and 12.

Finally UrShalim posted some photos of the destruction of the areas where he spent a major part of his life in addition to commentaries on events during the war.

18 August 2006

Beirut’s Suburbs Bird Eye View: Before and After

Care to see an interactive satellite view of part of the suburbs, particularly Haret Hureik and Bir al Abed, before (July 12) and after (July 31) Israel’s war on Lebanon? Go to this location.

PS: Both photos do not label the Church at the lower right hand corner to the right of the soccer field. But the Mosque to the left of the soccer field is labeled of course.

You can find some war numbers here.

16 August 2006

Post Cease Fire, War Photos - 3

Okay, so where do we go from here?!

I can not post all the photos I took of the suburbs. Forget about the time they need to upload. All the places look alike in the photos. It is like the same rubble over and over again. I will just post some photos of the area around my parent's home in Haret Hureik.

See the two previous posts too. They contain updates of places photographed at the beginning of the war.


The banner on the rubble below reads "Made in USA" !

After Cease Fire. War Photo Updates - 2

Remember when I posted a photo of my parents home during the first few days of the bombing in Haret Hureik (we moved there in 1972). Well this is how it looks like today:

The view here is from my parent's home side of the road, the photo in the previous post was from the opposite side. The motorcycle stood where the people are now and the previous photo was directed at where I am standing taking this one. The buildings in the background were still standing. Six buildings were in the background.
There used to be an open space and a road in front of the buildings here. My parent's place is part of the rubble. Approximately in the middle of this photo.


A close up of my neighbour and friend's home, Anas, the die hard secular...

After Cease Fire. War Photos Updates - 1

Remember the building in the fifth and seventh photo of the post during the first days of the bombing? This is how it looks today:
And the bridge in the third photo of that post now looks likes this:

14 August 2006

Cease Fire / Fire Works

Convoys of cars are roaming about at this moment in Beirut. Letting go of their horns and victorious screams. The loudspeakers fill the streets with speeches of Nassrallah and songs of victory. Did I mention the fire works? Yes there are fire works too despite the cease fire.

Jubilation.

The instant the cease fire came into effect, at 8:00 AM local time, about one million displaced started their journey back to their homes, not caring about the remains of cluster bombs, not caring that most roads are unfit, not caring that their homes are gone. They simply returned.

The myth of the phoenix works. Today we rise from the ashes.

I went to the suburbs. Ghobeiri, Haret Hureik, Jamous Street, Roweiss, Bir al Abed, Mouawad, Sfeir, etc. The destruction can not be described. The photos (I will post later and can be found elsewhere) do not do the horror any justice.
Yet these places were crowded. Some were raising Lebanese flags over the rubbles.
An unexplainable sense of celebration filled the atmosphere mixed with the scent of gunpowder and smoke.
Bricks can be compensated, houses can be rebuilt, it is dignity that can not be retrieved once lost. Every one I saw honestly believed that their dignity and pride were preserved.

Bodies are still being removed from the rubbles of the buildings that were flattened in Rouweiss, Radouf yesterday (photo from Assafir). Tall buildings stood where the rubbles are. Numbers later. The other picture, also from Assafir is of the mother and children in Tyre area (Zein family in Bourj al Shmali) yesterday.
The mother’s last moments. Comforting her child by holding his hand.
Yes we love our children too. And our children know fear too.
And NO this picture is not doctored. NEITHER were the others.

The inflated and doctored Israeli ego has been punctured. Can you hear the fsssssssssss…

I will stop now. There is more to be said and done. Later.

13 August 2006

Massacre of the Mirkava

I heard this war joke today:

A group of Israeli soldiers were witnessed beating the hell out of the Wazani River, torturing it to confess that it is the Litani River.

In its desperate attempt to take a non-doctored photo of at least one IDF soldier raising the Israeli flag over the Litani River, the IDF’s expanded [inflated] ground offensive continued yesterday. The results: 24 Israeli soldiers dead, 60 injured, more than 10 in a critical condition (according to CNN). 39 Mirkava tanks and bulldozers in addition to a helicopter were destroyed too.

Today six Israeli soldiers died. 2 Mirkavas were among the casualties.

Did Olmert expect Khizballah militants to flee without their bandanas to the nearest barber shop immediately after he starts his indiscriminate shelling of Lebanon? Afghanistan is not a good model either way you take it.

As I was typing this about 20 loud explosions shook the city. They were raids that flattened some apartment buildings still standing in the suburbs, in Radouf, Rouwiss. Two make-believe civilians were killed and 7 injured. Hezbollah retaliated with about 200 rockets on Israel so far, on this the 32nd day.

UN Res. 1701 will have to wait for now.

Peres said that at the end of the war [?] Hezbollah will run with their tails between their legs! Tails?!

By the way, a make-believe mother with her three fake children (younger than ten) and a Sri Lankan woman were killed today in Tyre. Three fake Lebanese civilians died in Bekaa. 15 not so true civilians died in a raid yesterday. For more make-believe Lebanese civilians killed and their doctored pictures check news outlets like Naharnet and Daily Star. I have lost count. You can also find pictures of massive destructions of the make-believe country of Lebanon.

Long live Barney!

IDF Rules For Arab Civilians

From Dove’s Eye View the following:

The Guttersnipe reports:

Here are the IDF rules for Lebanese and Palestinians under attack:

1) Do not cry
2) Do not laugh
3) Telling jokes at Israeli expense, especially while under bombardment, constitutes hate speech and will be punished with more bombardment
4) Do not blog, email or otherwise try to tell your story to the rest of the world. It makes us look bad, and that constitutes hate speech. See #3 for how we deal with hate speech.
5) Resistance is futile.
6) Effective resistance is terrorism, and thus a war crime.
7) Arabs committing war crimes must be exterminated.
8) Israel never commits war crimes
9) Mourners who weep too loudly at funerals will be exterminated.
10) Stop taking so many pictures. Photography is forbidden. Your photos of dead babies and weeping women are anti-Semitic. UPDATE And anyway, all your photos are doctored. Your videos too. There aren't really any dead bodies, or if there are, not as many as you say, and what's a few dead Arabs? We kill Arabs all the time, why are you complaining? So quit posting your pictures, and if you don't quit, well they're all lies!

Read the rest…

12 August 2006

Why Did Israel Bomb the Marjayoun Convoy?

Because that man dressed as a Catholic priest is in fact a Khizballah Brigadier General.
And the crosses that those women wore around their necks are in reality inflatable Katyousha rockets.
And in the trunks of the cars were inflatable Khizballah fighters with inflatable sexy virgin dolls ready for action.
And the dead and injured civilians are third class Lebanese actors.
And any picture or video that you see is doctored.
And all this never happened.
And all this is just another conspiracy theory.

What about the UN Resolution 1701?
Well, this will have to wait until I consult a professional numerologist.

11 August 2006

Waiting for the UN & its Newest Resolution

Will Israel comply this time?


Meanwhile a very interesting analysis by Juan Cole, "Bush, Islamic Fascism and the Christians of Jounieh". Contains links to video clips for Nancy Ajram and Haifa Wehbe. Following is a quote from the post:

The idea that the whole Eastern Mediterranean had to be polluted, that the Christian Lebanese economy had to be destroyed for the next decade or two, that 900,000 persons had to be rendered homeless, that a whole country had to be pounded into rubble because some Lebanese Shiites voted for Hizbullah in the last election, putting 12 in parliament, is obscene. Bush's glib ignorance is destroying our world. Our children will suffer for it, and perhaps our grandchildren after them.
"To the Arab masses: are you breathing? Just making sure. I have some Danish cartoons if you want me to wake you up." -As'ad

Breaking News:
After allowing civilians and police to leave the southern city of Marjioyoun, Israel is now bombing the convoy of cars carrying them out. Injuries and deaths are expected...

Add this to the massacre in Akkar (North Lebanon) this morning, 12 civilians killed, many others injured...

10 August 2006

Call for Action

From Suada Marisenoj-Khalaf (a/k/a Suzy)
http://www.lebanonsolidarity.org/
the following call:
August 7th, 2006
‘Lebanon: An Open Country for Civil Resistance’
Civilian Resistance: Call For Action & Solidarity For Lebanon

Download Arabic version (.pdf, 46kb)
Spanish version below
Media: read the official Press Release here
We, the people of Lebanon, call upon the local and international community to join a campaign of civil resistance to Israel’s war against our country and our people. We declare Lebanon an open country for civil resistance.
In the face of Israel’s systematic killing of our people, the indiscriminate bombing of our towns, the scorching of our villages, and the attempted destruction of our civil infrastructure, we say NO!
In the face of the forced expulsion of a quarter of our population from their homes throughout Lebanon, and the complicity of governments and international bodies, we re-affirm the acts of civil resistance that began from the first day of the Israeli assault, and we stress and add the urgent need TO ACT!
We urge you to join us in defying Israel’s aggression against our country and in defending the rights of the inhabitants throughout Lebanon, and particularly in the South, to live on their land. When the United Nations, created to preserve peace and security in the world, is paralyzed; when governments become complicit in war crimes, then people must show their strength and rise up. When justice and human rights are scorned, those who care must unite in their defense.
Building on our belief in our country, the efforts of the civil resistance, and on the arrival of the internationals coming to Lebanon for solidarity, we declare that Lebanon is an open country for civil resistance, starting from August 12.
On August 12 at 7 am, we will gather in Martyrs’ Square to form a civilian convoy to the south of Lebanon. Hundreds of Lebanese and international civilians will carry relief as an expression of solidarity for the inhabitants of the heavily destroyed south who have been bravely withstanding the assault of the Israeli military.
After August 12th, the campaign will continue with a series of civil actions for which your presence and participation is needed. Working together in solidarity we will overcome the complacency, inaction, and complicity of the international community and we will deny Israel its goal of removing Lebanese from their land and destroying the fabric of our country.
To sign up to join the convoy, send us an email through our contact page or contact one of the following:
Rasha Salti
email: convois.citoyens.sud.liban@gmail.com
phone: 03 970855
Rania Masri
email: rania.masri@balamand.edu.lb
phone: 03 135279
phone: 06 930250 x 5683 or x 3933
En castellano (In Spain)
Alberto Arce
email: nonviolenceproject@gmail.com
phone: 0034655650048
phone: 096170974462
Please check the website of this campaign after midnight tonight: www.lebanonsolidarity.org
This campaign is thus far endorsed by more than 200 organizations, including:
The Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND), International Solidarity Movement (ISM), Cultural Center for Southern Lebanon, Norwegian People’s Aid, Lebanese Center for Policy Studies, Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections, Frontiers, Kafa, Nahwa al-Muwatiniya, Spring Hints, Hayya Bina, Lebanese Transparency Association, Amam05, Lebanese Center for Civic Education, Let’s Build Trust, CRTD-A, Solida, National Association for Vocational Training and Social Services, Lebanese Development Pioneers, Nadi Li Koul Alnas, and Lecorvaw.

09 August 2006

Ghaziyeh... So Who's the Terrorist?

Yesterday the people of Ghaziyeh, a village close to Sidon, went out to bury 14 of their family members who were killed the day before.
Israel then bombed near (500 meters) the funeral procession.
13 new Lebanese civilians were killed in Ghaziyeh.
The people of Ghaziyeh picked up the coffins and continued the procession while others went to help in the rescue.
They all shouted insults at Israel and support for Hezbollah.

More than a thousand Lebanese have been killed so far. Majority of them are civilians, women and children.
More than a hundred Israeli have been killed so far. Majority of them are soldiers.
So who has the technologically superior, precise, surgical and moral weapon?

So who is the terrorist?

And an Israeli asshole said that we should differentiate between Israel's un-intentional killing of civilians and Hezbollah's un-intentional killing of soldiers.

The first photo is Aya from KfarTibnit
The second is from Ghaziyeh
Both copied from Assafir

Chiah... Who is the Terrorist?

The political views of the people of Chiah up till the night before last was either a don't care attitude (as long as they can buy their beer and arak from their Christian neighbours in Ain Al Roummani) or they support Amal movement of Berri.
The night before the last, IDF/IOF/IF bombed a "terrorist" target in Chiah. A building sheltering displaced families. Today the people of Chiah chant their support for Nassrallah and Hezbollah. Today the children, women and men of Chiah shout out loud that they will never kneel in front of Israel.

I can not show all the photos from the massacre in Chiah. But these are a few from Assafir. Pictures of Manal and Hadi and others.
Waad (Arabic for promise) Wehbe (photo not below) was two weeks old. Her parents were forced to leave South Lebanon and seek shelter in Chiah. Waad did not get the chance to to know the scent of orange blossoms in the Southern Lebanese breeze. Her life was cut short by the morally superior Israeli army kindly helping us to become part of the civilized world.

Update: 36 were buried yesterday. 5 missing presumed dead. 60 injured. (The original figures, 56 dead and 50 injured were from Assafir, but no other source confirmed)





Lebanon: 4th Week of Israel’s War

This week's round up of the Lebanese Blogosphere (Global Voices Online)

This week is the fourth week of Israel’s war against Lebanon. The war is still the dominant subject of posts in the Lebanese blogosphere. Many new blogs emerged since the outbreak of the attacks. It is difficult to cover them all in this roundup. The few selected here are just samples of what one might see in the Lebanese blogs, in addition to photos, graphics and media resources.

Rampurple blog has put up a public Lebanon Blog Aggregator that is very helpful in checking most of the blogs.

JoseyWales criticized this sudden surge of blogs claiming that there is an increase in quantity at the expense of quality.

Have you wondered how Lebanese bloggers spend their day? Take a look at a day spend by Ahmad in Saida watching an Israeli plane trying hard to throw some leaflets on his city:

From where we were sitting, we could see the sea, and during the one hour we stayed there, an Israeli plane made three attempts to throw pamphlets on the city (between 9:00 AM and 10:00 AM). Obviously the pilot has a serious vision problem or he is totally inept because all his three attempts ended up with the pamphlets in the sea. Of course, we returned home and he continued to trying (I bet anyone can do a better job on his very first aviation experience.)
Anyway, after many trials, it seems that the Israeli plane “succeeded” (thank God) in dropping the pamphlets on the city and not on the fishes. The stupid pamphlets are asking the people, in Saida, to evacuate.
How are we going to leave, when there is no fuel in the gas stations!? Does the terrorist army of Israel realize that we cannot fill our cars with water?
How are we going to leave, when all the main roads to and from Saida are cut!? I bet no one has a helicopter that he parks on the roof of his building.
Finally, in Saida, there are 150,000 refugees in Saida. In best cases, suppose everyone has a helicopter that he can fill with water, what can we do about 150,000 refugees? Keep them alone??
I am not leaving. And to all the terrorist Israeli army, I want to say, go **** yourself. :)

There are fears that a civil war may be one of the end results of the Israeli incursion into Lebanon.
Lebanon.Profile explained why this may not happen:

The current conflict rests atop a sea of unresolved issues that pre-date even the Lebanese civil war. Racism, sectarian animosity, feelings of oppression and neglect run deep in Lebanon. Christian support for Shia refugees is smoothing out some of these differences. The Shia population is in need and Christian supporters of Michel Aoun are coming to their support. Aoun already had support in the Shia community, but he is now widely respected.[…]If civil war is avoided and if Hezbollah is to be disarmed, it will most likely come about through the person to person bonds being made right now between Christians and Shia.

The last speech made by the leader of Hezbollah, H. Nassrallah, was one of the topics discussed by the Prof. A. Abu Khalil and it was fully translated into English by Anarchistian.

Sabbah posted a very interesting “Did You Know” exercise which sheds light on Lebanese and Middle Eastern politics today.

Leila at Dove’s Eye View quoted Uri Avnery in Tel Aviv as saying:

“On behalf of this demonstration, I say to the Lebanese people: As an Israeli, I feel deep shame for what we are doing to you! For the devastation we have brought on you. Deep shame! When this madness is finally over, we shall struggle together - Israelis and Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese, Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel - So that we can live a normal life, Each in his free state, Side by side In PEACE!”

Matthew Hogan wrote a mocking letter from Hezbollah to the State of Israel asking them to accept their earnest thanks for making them the most powerful force in Lebanon.

Ms Leventine also posted a letter by M. Kyriakos –Saad to a young Lebanese telling him of the futility of anti-war marches to London’s Parliament Square:

The solution to the problem is elsewhere. It is in Lebanon. Disarm militias, unite people and make them forgive what happened during the war, so that they can forget. Create a nation in Lebanon, rather then a succession of communities who fear and hate each other and battle each other for power and positions. And stop blaming others for the fate of Lebanon. The problem is not in Tel Aviv, Damascus or Teheran. It is in Achrafieh, Ras Beirut and Ghobeiry. And do not force me to go march with a bunch of excitable people; I prefer to smoke my cigar from the sidelines.

Propaganda and the way media presents the news was also discussed by some bloggers. Among them was Bech who targeted CNN with the following criticism:

I come to believe that there a different ways Americans value the lives of citizens.
On CNN today I almost choked on my food when Israeli General Ruth Yaron explained how civilians stayed in targeted areas against their will to serve as shield. Seriously who can buy this talk? So the Khezballah (Israeli accent) is in the same time not letting civilians leave, waging a guerrilla, trying not to make themselves visible, and hiding behind civilians…
By the way CNN spent the whole day talking about Haifa who had accidentally 3 dead today, because of an attack that Khezballah claimed it was answering for the targeting of residential areas in the suburbs of Beirut that kills more than 30 people per day. The whole day interviewing Israeli officials, mayors, truck drivers, people, going into shelters. bouhou demons outside poor Israelis wake up to your condition of spoiled mediatized people. Ask yourself how mediocre your government has been in handling this issue!

EDB cynically wrote about the propaganda efforts of the IDF including phone calls that Lebanese are receiving from Israel:

The Israeli propaganda effort is a reliable source of amusement amidst the incalculable violence and destruction. They drops pamphlets, which inform the Lebanese that “Hezbollah is destroying your country and homes,” followed by a barrage of American-made bombs that level entire villages. They interrupt radio- and TV broadcasts. Sometimes the images are just scrambled. While watching the news on Al Jazeera, the weather reporter morphs into Hillary Clinton– a grave injustice to say the least. During a re-run of Hassan Nasrallah’s latest televised address, I gleaned valuable information from a banner obscuring his face that read, “I am a member of Hezbollah”. But they also individualize their efforts by bombarding cellphones with pre-recorded messages[…]

In one of his posted Abu Kais sarcastically explained how Israel is planning to win the war While in another post he criticized Hezbollah:

There is no stopping Hizbullah, and I am sick and tired of their false heroism, popular with the delusional masses of Islamo-Arabia. The Arabs lost their war with Israel a long time ago, and we are the only ones still fighting. And for what? At which point is self defense considered suicide? To me there is more honor in surrendering right now than “winning” by sacrificing everything we have. Nasrallah has committed Lebanese people to life in the dark tunnels of war where he keeps his human farm, the Shia of Lebanon.

Children suffer either directly or indirectly during wars. Perpetual Refugee described in his unique style the agony of the children of Qana:

During times of intense trauma, children look up to their parents. They believe that somehow, those that gave them life should be able to protect life. And they feel secure just knowing that mama or papa are there. A simple touch of the hand is all it takes to releave the anxiety.

When bombs are falling on their heads, they don’t ask why is Olmert doing this? Why does Nasrallah say that? They only know that death is a possibility. And it’s them against us. And they don’t know why. The brainwashing will come later. It’s much easier after trauma.

So while bombs fell. And fell. And fell some more. The children of Qana looked up to their parents. Their mothers. For reassurance. Huddled together in a basement. Beneath tonnes of concrete. And they felt safe. After all, lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice. Unless the IAF controls the heavens. […]
The real story isn’t the image of the dead infant with the pacifier still hanging from her pajama. It’s that she was not allowed to walk her first steps. Eat her first bite of solid food. Brush her first tooth. Learn her first word. Sing her first song.

Her life. Along with countless others. Denied the right to live. By some twenty-something in an F-16 way up in the sky. Defending himself from the prospect of what she could one day become.

While JulyWarOnLebanon decided to change the strategy of explaining to the children that the bombs are far away from their school [sheltered because they are displaced] and will never reach them to a new strategy of lying to them about the explosions they keep hearing.

Sophia presented an argument for an economic and cultural boycott of Israel.

Dr. Victorino blamed the Bush administration and declared that:

Future generations will remember the reign of George W. Bushmert
As the Age of the Missing Leash: from Abu Ghraib’s Arabivorous German shepherds
To the escaped Israeli anaconda now suffocating the Texan snake-oil salesman who raised it!

1TooManyPeaches quoted a study from a research center which claims that the war in Lebanon is part of the battle for oil.

Jij took a shot at the proposed American-French draft resolution for a cease fire:

The French-American resolution draft is an extremely bad development. The resolution fulfils all of Israel’s demands. It is not a ceasefire draft; it is simply a formulation of Israel’s goals. It is an insult to Lebanon. If some uninformed observer was to read the draft, he would think that Hezbollah has been crushed militarily and rendered redundant, which is obviously far from being the case, as today’s heavy Israeli losses would attest.[…]
What is the purpose of this draft? Was it proposed precisely to be rejected, in order to give Israel some more time to finish the business? Was it presented so that Senioura’s seven-point plan would appear as the epitome of objectivity and balance in contrast? Or is it one more attempt to divide the Lebanese?

Raja addressed the Israeli readers who frequent his site:

I am very aware that Israelis visit this site. So my message to those visitors is that you not only destroyed the dreams of an entire generation of Lebanese (i.e. my own, and probably my children’s). But, you guys and your government just shot yourselves in the foot! And I don’t mean merely with one shot. No! I mean, you guys got an M-16 rifle, put it on full automatic and shot both your feet to smithereens.

Your reckless “shock-and-awe” military campaign ultimately turned a political-military organization that you hate into the Arab World’s hero; and in doing so, you have only increased the influence of your arch-nemesis, Iran. Ultimately, the biggest losers are the Lebanese people, and the hope they manifested in a region characterized overwhelmingly by hopelessness and depression.

Finally, among the blogs showing photos of the sufferings of the Lebanese is the Lebanese Blogger Forum.

08 August 2006

Mission Accomplished

“[…]reporters travelling along the border road on Saturday found few signs of an Israeli presence, let alone success. People in only one village had seen Israeli troops recently. Elsewhere, there was evidence of Israeli failures: burnt-out or crippled tanks. Despite the message of success Israel’s generals and politicians are giving their public, the reality on the ground appeared mixed.”

Read the rest...


[Something is wrong with blogger or with my connection, it is taking forever to upload a few photos, will do that later]

Can't Think of a Title

Yesterday:
60 dead
200 injured (injured meaning really cut, real loss of body parts)
The number of the dead in the Chiah massacre is 15 so far. The search for survivors continues.

Yesterday:
PM Sanyoura wept while Arab foreign ministers watched. Foreign ministers were sent to Beirut immediately after the Arab leaders, who are furious because the bridge of Casino du Liban was brought down, thought it was time to take action. 26 days into the war. Better late than never?

This morning:
Olmert is on TV almost sobbing (someone please hand him a tissue) as he describes the agony that the settlers are enduring while spending their days and nights in their shelters. They are only getting a few hours of sun and fresh air daily.

07 August 2006

Chiah Shelled for the First Time

A residential building in Chiah (Shiah) was bombed earlier this evening. It collapsed totally. There were civilians staying there. This is the first time that Chiah was bombed during this war. Most of the residents of Chiah did not evacuate. In fact displaced civilians from other areas are accommodated in Chiah. Chiah is the first residential area that one reaches after leaving the center of Beirut to the Southern Suburbs. The building collapsed and many buildings and civilians were killed and hurt. Tomorrow we will know the count. The numbers will be large. Other residents are moving out and taking refuge in the small green space of the Sanayeh in Beirut which is already over crowded. Chiah (Hijaj Street) was hit without warning. It has nothing to do with Hezbollah. I called three families I know who live there. They are fine. In Lebanon we do not count victims of shock and trauma!
Homes of civilians in the villages of Ghassania in the South, Brital and Shmistar in the Bekaa were bombed with their civilian residents still in it. Rescue is still going on. The numbers are expected to be large.
Tomorrow the horrible numbers will be known.
Dare I say a massacre was committed today?
Israel has not accomplished any of its declared goals for this war. It is venting its frustration.

06 August 2006

pro-Hezbollah?

Steve, a blogger friend at Brains Over Bombs told me how CNN described my blog as pro-Hezbollah while showing pictures of Israeli girls signing bombs before they were sent to bomb Lebanon.
I am not surprised. More than a year ago, during the days of Cedar Revolution, some of my posts highlighted the suffering of the Palestinians and the Iraqis. An anonymous left a comment then, stating that Lebanese bloggers do not comment on my Blog because it is pro-Palestinian.
Pro-Palestinian?! And I thought no one left comments because no one was reading!
No problem. I will not use cheesy clichés like: hell, I am pro-justice, pro-liberty and the rest of that stuff.

July 12 was supposed to be a Lebanese day of solidarity with the Palestinians of Gaza. A demonstration was planned to take place on that day, in the afternoon, in Beirut.
On July 12 Israel started its heavy bombing of Lebanon.

By the way, what happened to the ministers and the elected Palestinian parliamentarians who were abducted by the IDF from Gaza last month?

On July 12 Israel started its heavy indiscriminate collective punishment of the Lebanese people.
Israel expected us to be the cheerleaders for its troops as it destroys our country and kills of our children!!
Why?!
Because John Bolton said that we can not compare the children of Israel with the children (collateral damage) of Lebanon.
Yes the same John Bolton with the smart moustache who received the Shield of the Cedar from our brave and castrated politicians of the Cedar Movement.

Today our children are being massacred. Yes massacred!!
I stand with our children.
Today the Israeli generals and PR officials refuse to accept that the killing of more than 300 children (ages below 12) is a massacre but insist that the killing of 12 Israeli soldiers is a massacre.

I choose to disagree. Am I pro-Hizbollah?
Does this qualify me as a terrorist according to Bush’s doctrine of: you are either with us or you are a terrorist?

I stand with my country. I stand with my people. All Lebanese do. All Lebanese bloggers do.
Are we all then pro-Hezbollah? And what if we are?

Now, how does a non-religious secularist who got married in a civil court after crossing the sectarian boundaries end up being pro-Hezbollah?
This is the naivety of the Israeli and Bush’s administration's approach to the problems of the Middle East. An approach that is intolerant of other views to say the least. But this is another story.

So is this blog pro-Hizbollah?
This blog is pro-Lebanese, pro-Palestinian, pro-Iraqi, pro-whatever…
But one thing for sure, this Blog is NOT pro-Israeli.
Live with it!

04 August 2006

Chávez is dah man

Bridges et al

Bridges
Yesterday I went to Halat (to the north of Beirut) to check on some friends. On my way back, while passing by Casino du Liban, one of the bridges connecting Jounieh with the north of Lebanon became visible. For an instant I thought oouff this is still standing. I thought of the other bridges I crossed over from Beirut to Halat and back. I got worried but I just shrugged it off. No way will these bridges be hit. Casino du Liban, Halat, Jounieh, Ghazir are all under the protection of “The Lady of Harissa” and “the Deman” the seat of Cardinal Nassrallah Sfeir, Patriarch of the Christian Maronites in Lebanon. I looked up and there was “the Lady” and “the seat” up the mountain looking down at me crossing through Jounieh.

I said to myself, man, up there must be the safest place in Lebanon today.
They won’t dare bomb there or down here for that matter.

I was wrong. Four of the bridges I crossed yesterday were destroyed last night. Halat bridge, Ghazir Bridge, Casino du Liban Bridge and Fidar Bridge. Fiber optics cables, electric cables and telephone connections were cut. Five died and many were injured. Near the Fidar Bridge is a school housing some of the displaced. Bombing reached to Afqa and Faraya. For those who know Lebanon these are tourist resorts way up in the mountains. People ski there. They are in the heartland of the Christian Maronite of Lebanon.

And I should be convinced that they are after ummm, what are the Israelis after, pray tell?

“Halat Hatman”
I had a sudden feeling of danger while going to Halat in the morning when I crossed two trucks carrying goods. The Israelis bomb trucks too. But then I said naahhhh. I am in Jounieh.
Does anybody remember Samir Ja’Ja’s dream of building an airport in Halat. Halat “hatman” was the slogan. LBC had this piece where a pigeon would land in the to be airport while sounding like a jet plane. “Hatman” meaning “by all means”.

“Row Boats”
A warehouse in Ouzai, in the Southern Suburbs, storing relief supplies was totally destroyed last night too. The fishermen port and their boats nearby are gone too. A soldier on duty in the port died.

Massacres
The commando mission in Baalback to capture Hassan Nassrallah failed. The wrong man was captured and 18 were killed 7 of them children. If we add up all the children killed from the beginning of the war would the number then qualify as a massacre?

Pangs
Nisreen Salloum’s water broke. She was about to deliver her baby. The van carrying her to the hospital was hit. She and her baby died. She did not have time to experience the blessed “pangs of Rice”.

Update:
A massacre just took place in the village of Ka’ in Bekaa. 32 farm workers were killed.

Trying to Stay Sane

A few days ago I took a stroll down on “the Cournich”. Trying to stay sane in the midst of all that is going on. I am not a fan of fishing but I was happy to see people with long fishing poles. I took some pictures. There is also "Ramlet al Bayda Beach" (Arabic for White Sand Beach) polluted with black stains of oil from the bombing of Jiyyeh storage containers.
These are from the tourist resort of “Soufar”. The highest bridge in the Middle East use to pass there until Israel brought it down. So you see why it is almost empty.

Powerful Stuff

Read this:

A Hezbollah Upon All of Thee!

This article contains “very powerful stuff”.
Thanks Doc.

To Bloggers & Journalists

I received this worthy request from Sophia:

I have got this call for a boycott of Israel which I signed already. Can you spread the word among bloggers and journalists ?
TheDubaiLife.com
: Recent Events in the Middle East

And here is another call for a boycott.

Excerpt from "Recent Events in the Middle East":

We have watched from afar the unfolding events in Lebanon, sometimes in total disbelief at the level of violence being inflicted on innocent men, women and children. It has been over two weeks since the aerial bombardment of a sovereign state began and the situation continues to escalate.

The daily toll of casualties mounts and now runs into hundreds of dead civilians, of which more than 50% are children killed due to indiscriminate Israeli fire. On the night of 26th July 2006 four unarmed UN officials were killed in a precision-guided air strike. This follows several other incidents in which clearly marked Red Cross ambulances attempting to save lives and aid trucks from the UAE have been targeted.

The level of violence reached it’s horrific peak with the massacre at Qana on the morning of 30th July 2006, dozens of women and children were killed in their sleep whist sheltering from the bombardment.

With no cessation of hostilities expected and failed talks in Rome concluded it falls upon the people of conscious within the region and globally to make their voices heard. This is not the time for silence or inaction but an opportunity to help alleviate the suffering of the people of Lebanon. The Rest ...

03 August 2006

HRW: Israel’s Indiscriminate Attacks Against Civilians in Lebanon

Human Rights Watch produced a 53 page report on Israel's atrocities and violations in Lebanon.
Following are excerpts from the summary of the report:

This report documents serious violations of international humanitarian law (the laws of war) by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in Lebanon between July 12 and July 27, 2006, as well as the July 30 attack in Qana. During this period, the IDF killed an estimated 400 people, the vast majority of them civilians, and that number climbed to over 500 by the time this report went to print. The Israeli government claims it is taking all possible measures to minimize civilian harm, but the cases documented here reveal a systematic failure by the IDF to distinguish between combatants and civilians.

Since the start of the conflict, Israeli forces have consistently launched artillery and air attacks with limited or dubious military gain but excessive civilian cost. In dozens of attacks, Israeli forces struck an area with no apparent military target. In some cases, the timing and intensity of the attack, the absence of a military target, as well as return strikes on rescuers, suggest that Israeli forces deliberately targeted civilians.

The Israeli government claims that it targets only Hezbollah, and that fighters from the group are using civilians as human shields, thereby placing them at risk. Human Rights Watch found no cases in which Hezbollah deliberately used civilians as shields to protect them from retaliatory IDF attack. Hezbollah occasionally did store weapons in or near civilian homes and fighters placed rocket launchers within populated areas or near U.N. observers, which are serious violations of the laws of war because they violate the duty to take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian casualties. However, those cases do not justify the IDF’s extensive use of indiscriminate force which has cost so many civilian lives. In none of the cases of civilian deaths documented in this report is there evidence to suggest that Hezbollah forces or weapons were in or near the area that the IDF targeted during or just prior to the attack. Rest of the summary...

The full report can be found here. It contains the following:

Beyond Collective Punishment. Lebanon: Collective Death or Total Submission


900 dead (equivalent to 71 000 American citizens)
3000 injured (most of them badly injured or have been permanently disfigured)
1,000,000 displaced with most of their homes demolished and now living in schools and in parks.

300 of the 900 dead are CHILDREN below the age of 12
(this is equivalent to 23666 American children)

There is no hope that this will end soon.
This is what PM Fouad Al Sanyoura declared this morning.

And to know that all this was premeditated and that the war was planned in 2005.

Congratulation PM Ehud Olmert.
You have earned your place in the club of Israeli generals with bloody red honors.

Quotable Quotes on "Israel's Internet D Force"

Copied and pasted from the comments on the previous post regarding the "megaphone software".

I would say the statements contained here are a significant problem for Israel’s image:

"Everyone in southern Lebanon is a terrorist and is connected to Hezbollah," roared Israeli Justice Minister Haim Ramon on Thursday.

"Every village from which a Katyusha is fired must be destroyed," bellowed an Israeli general in a quote bannered by the nation's largest newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth.
By Pat Buchanan, Wednesday, August 2, 2006.

I am not persuaded that ANY software program can undo the reality of the belief system behind such statements.
- RoxieAmerica

« Megaphone Software» [sic]

Sounds like a sinister electronic tool
In vogue at Bush’s Ministry of Bandwidth
But it won’t work…for you don’t “control”
An atomized network of little mouse with

A centralized cat-ware or a mechanized army
Olmert’s offline soldiers are learning that lesson
In the city of Tyr, whose children have more bravery
Than all of Israel’s Sadist preachers of Armageddon

A small mouse, which presumably had been watching television, attacked a little girl and her full-grown cat... both mouse and cat survived, and the incident is recorded here as a reminder that things seem to be changing” The New York Times, July 7, 1957 [Quoted in Marshall McLuhan: “Understanding Media, The Extensions of Man”] - Dr. Victorino


Question: Who does not want peace?

Answer: See here.

02 August 2006

Israel Mobilizes its "Internet D Force"

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent the following letter to pro-Israeli groups. Their mission: search web sites and chat room for "facts" that may harm "Israel's image" and take appropriate "corrective" measures. The following letter was published on EI:

Dear friends,

Many of us recognize the importance of the Internet as the new battleground for Israel's image. It's time to do it better, and coordinate our on-line efforts on behalf of Israel. An Israeli software company have developed a free, safe and useful tool for us - the Internet Megaphone.

Please go to www.giyus.org, download the Megaphone, and you will receive daily updates with instant links to important internet polls, problematic articles that require a talk back, etc.

We need 100,000 Megaphone users to make a difference. So, please distribute this mail to all Israel's supporters.

Do it now. For Israel.

Amir Gissin

Director Public Affairs (Hasbara) Department
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem

Well, I’ll be damned; we can all use this Megaphone software. It may turn out to be very helpful for Lebanon, Palestine and everywhere else.

"What is Hizbullah?"

Following are excerpts from a very interesting post by Juan Cole titled “What is Hizbullah?”. The complete article can be found here.

“Western and Israeli pundits keep comparing Hizbullah to al-Qaeda. It is a huge conceptual error. There is a crucial difference between an international terrorist network like al-Qaeda, which can be disrupted by good old policing techniques (such as inserting an agent in the Western Union office in Karachi), and a sub-nationalist movement.

Al-Qaeda is some 5,000 multinational volunteers organized in tiny cells.

Hizbullah is a mass expression of subnationalism that has the loyalty of some 1.3 million highly connected and politically mobilized peasants and slum dwellers. Over a relatively compact area.”
[…]
“The Shiites of southern Lebanon are compact enough to likewise offer a subnationalism. Note that this is a new phenomenon. The Shiite masses were not socially and politically mobilized until at least the 1970s, and probably it is more accurate to say the 1980s. ("Social mobilization" refers to literacy, access to media, urbanization, industrialization and so forth; isolated small villages have difficulty organizing big movements.)

The main factor in causing these peasant sharecroppers to become politically aware and mobilized was the Arab Israeli conflict. The Israelis stole some of their land in 1948 and expelled 100,000 Palestinians north into south Lebanon, where they competed for resources with local Lebanese Shiites. In the late 1960s and early 1970s the Palestinians became politically and militarily organized by the PLO. The Shiites' conflict with the PLO in the southern camps in the 1970s was probably a key beginning, but from 1982 it was primarily their conflict with the Israeli Occupation army that spurred them on.”
[…]
“What the Israelis set out to do, if they intended to "destroy" or even substantially attrite Hizbullah, was completely impractical. What they have done is to convince even Lebanese formerly on the fence about the issue that Hizbullah's leaders were correct in predicting that Lebanon would again be attacked in the most brutal and horrible way by the Israelis and that an even more powerful deterrent is needed. I.e more silkworms, not fewer. .”
[…]
The Israeli demographic project of thinning out the population of the far south of Lebanon will fail. They do not control that territory, and cannot stop people from coming back and rebuilding. The Israelis have an Orientalist myth that the Arabs are Bedouin and not attached to their ancestral villages. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Palestinian refugees in Lebanon still group their neighborhoods around their camps in accordance with the geography of their former villages. The Lebanese Shiites will mostly come back.

Read the complete article...

01 August 2006

Round-up of the Lebanese Blogosphere

This week's round-up of the Lebanese blogosphere as posted on Global Voices Online:


The war Israel is waging on Lebanon continues to be the focal point of most bloggers in the Lebanese blogosphere. For the third week the posts cover topics such as experiences, expectations and reflections on this situation. This week culminated with the tragic bombing of a shelter in Qana by the Israelis. This incident caused indignation by most bloggers that was reflected in their posts.

Amal as usual expresses her anger and sorrow about the calamity that befell Qana in the following drawing:
Sophie asks in one of her posts: Are Qana’s children screams as they are dying Rice’s “Pangs of Birth” of her New Middle East?

Pierre Tristam writes an article titled: Massacres at Qana, When “Never Again” Needn’t Apply to Lebanon, in which he brings to our attention the massacre at Qana, ten years ago, by the Israelis before giving his analysis of the one that occurred this week.

Dr. Victorino reflected on the incident saying:

Today, in the early hours of the morning, Tzahal’s noble knights rode over Qana
in their shining US-made, US-equipped, and US-paid fighter jets.It was Sunday,
the day of worship in gentile Christian culture.And Qana is the place where this
“weird Jesus cult” started when the beloved King Herod ruled over Israel.

Fouad warned that the seed of hatred and anger sown today will bear dangerous fruits tomorrow:

You fucking idiots, you and your stepfathers in the Land of Opportunity where I
foolishly reside… How inane and morally, emotionally, and politically bankrupt
can you be. Do you really think you can bomb your way out of this? You dare talk
of democracy and freedom when our lives are your dregs, our children your
targets, and the whole world your shooting range? How dare you, you little sorry
episodes of conceited spiteful despicable existence. Go on, keep churning the
ground and sowing the seeds of hatred and anger. For soon the crops will grow,
and it will be time to harvest. And the harvest will be plentiful, and I hope I
will live long enough to see the day.
Images from Qana here and here (not for the faint hearted) as well as images of the reaction of the Lebanese to this incidence were published by the Lebanese Blogger Forum.

Photos of demonstration against the war were published by Z.

Sophia describes her visit last year to Qana

where the famous biblical wedding took place, symbolises the endless suffering
of both Lebanese and Palestinians. Israel knows very well what it is doing by
bombing Qana. It is making sure the wounds will never heal ! But Israel can be
sure that as long as the wounds are open and even when they will heal, if they
will heal one day, there will be no forgiveness to Isarel’s war crimes and to
their immoral backing by Bush, Blair, Rice and Collaborators !
Michael Totten makes the following political observation which he sees is the result of the attack on Qana:

The (second in a decade) attack on Qana that killed scores of civilians has all
but cemented the Lebanese public and Hezbollah together.Cable news reports that
82 percent of Lebanese now support Hezbollah. Prime Minister Fouad Seniora –
whatever his real opinion in private – is now closer to openly supporting
Hezbollah in public than he has ever been.The March 14 Movement (the Cedar
Revolution) is, at best, in a coma if not outright dead.
And in the midst of all this Firas advices us to keep a level head:
Let’s not victimize ourselves. I think that the question is not how we feel
about this or who to blame, but rather what can we do to maintain our existance
as sane, dignified and productive people. We need to keep a level head when we
deal with this, and not lose track of the fact that the IDF’s actions are
providing us with more and more moral clarity about our country’s plight and
unity. We will win the peace by being rational AND by not losing touch with our
humanity.

Ahmad posts a long list of atrocities and massacres committed by Israel which he says is by no means exclusive.

Abu kais post the entire statement that Human Rights Watch issued blaming the Israeli Defense Force for the civilian death in Qana.

Doha starts from the war going and ends with the shattered dreams and lives of the Lebanese youth, describing how it has affected some of them:

Yet another massacre in Qana. 57 dead among them 27 children…and counting.And if this is the story in the south, then the rest of Lebanon has many shattered
dreams to gather and rebuild.Many bygone and shattered dreams. This is what war
does. Israel’s war on Lebanon has impacted all of Lebanon and all of the
Lebanese.As there are fighters facing up to the Israeli war machine, there are
also youth issuing their passports to head out, head out to the unknown, to save
the day.I’ll recount some stories, close to home.
Mustapha attempts to answer some of the tough moral questions the Lebanese are facing in this post.

Anarchistian blogged on the air strikes during the first 24 hours of the announced 48 hours of air strike cease fire plus the expected shortage of fuel and its repercussions on the daily lives of Lebanese:

The country is almost out of fuel, and we might not have electricity at all in a
week’s time. But life goes on, and we all find ways of adjusting to this “new”
life. First and foremost it reminds us that we take some things for granted and
fail to understand what life without these could be like. When I was in Toronto
in August 2003, a power blackout brought much of the city to a halt, and caused
such widespread panic and chaos. Here in Lebanon we’re not at that level of
taking things for granted, but we are at a rather high level, and things like
these make us think about and be all the more thankful for what we have.
Prof A. A. Khalil received a letter from Israel which states:
I live in Israel and I am a Jew. We don’t all support the policies of Olmert or
the policies of the Labor party either. And many of us grieve for the loss of
lives in Lebanon and Palestine just as deeply as you grieve for those lives. I
am sorry that this is happening to your country and I hope and pray that your
family and friends will be safe and I hope that not one more Palestinian must
die for the crimes of the state, the Israeli state.

Finally EDB posts on hedonistic life style going on elsewhere in Lebanon as the war continues:

I did not hear any news; there were no TVs blasting Al-Manar or even Al Jazeera;
not in homes, not in bars, not at the pool, not at the club. Up there, you
cannot hear the bombs, you do not see the smoke. My only exposure to the outside
world came from a Spanish girl baking in the sun at the side of the pool. She
occasionally retrieved news summaries from her cellphone, careful not to spoil
her freshly manicured nails, and read them out loud: Ooh, Isra-ayl wizdrooh fram
Bint Jbeil…”Followed by, “Ooh, I zink I got sahnbernt. Let’s dreenk Vodka
Toneec. It’s foh o’clock. Heppi hour!”

 

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