Friday, August 11, 2006

I Feel for the People of Kiryat Shemona

I do with all my heart, as I feel for every innocent civilian subjected to unnecessary violence and terror.

But while ONE MLLION of my people are displaced or stranded without food, water, or medication, while HALF A COUNTRY and HALF A CAPITAL are made into piles of rubble, dust, burnt flesh and torn bodies by the friendly liberating Israeli Demolition Forces, while our beaches are inked black with oil and not one bridge is still standing (well, except for the lawziyyeh bridge as per the latest news reports), a YAHOO news story about firefighters battling blazes set in acres of dry grass and bamboo, how they stretched their hoses to their full length, and how "the entire area was covered with thick smoke and dancing black ash", is a tad more than my cool can handle.

Go to the link, and if you're able to stay calm, go on to read the flurry of comments, at your own risk that is. If after that, you're still breathing and haven't poked your eyes out, come back here and please share with me and the rest of us your mantra, for yours is the way of not too many souls.


Blogger Delirious said...

Ya Fouad...
Killo el 7a22 3lek. Lesh bitkhalliyon y2assro hal 2addeh fik?
Ba3rif inno mish hayda elli kint natir tissma3o, bass inno... shoo kint mitwa22a3 ya3ni?!

4:57 PM  
Anonymous anne k said...

Sometimes I wonder if some of these articles or TV reports are specifically designed to piss off Lebanese people.

2 pages of comments & I need some fresh air...

2:26 AM  
Anonymous LennyBruce said...

I guess I will share my mantra, although to say, "for yours is the way of not too many souls" is too much of a compliment.

You know from my post which you republished here, I am a firm believer that the first step to healing (and I now its too early for that now given all that has happened) is that people on both sides (all sides because I include also the Palestinians) is giving up on the 'pain game'. Or in other words, 'mine is bigger than yours.'

When I read the article you linked, or see similiar reports on the news where a story about what's going on in Lebanon is juxtaposed to one about what is going on in Israel, I think there are three possible reactions.

From the Lebanese side, there's the reaction which you well represent in this post. From the Israeli side, the reaction may be that the news media is hyping what's happening in Lebanon, that the news media is 'left wing arab sympathizers' and not accurately showing how terrible they have it and its all Lebanon's fault anyway that this whole mess is happening.

Then there's maybe my reaction which of course has the benefit of distance and a measure of objectivity. I imagine, I am in a crowded bus, and someone elbows me, by accident or on purpose, because he experiences I am blocking the door with my backpack. I get a bit irritated, and instead of saying something, or giving him an equal push back with a sneer, I take my baseball bat and beat him to a bloody pulp.

In other words, it is so clear to me, that there is no 'proportionality' in what I am seeing. Not because of media bias, but because there is no proportionality in what's happening. And by showing the two sides next to each other, the implicit commentary is that something really f****d up is going on.

Lebanese neighbourhoods and whole villages are being turned to rubble, too often with innocent men, women and children still in them. Israel is suffering brush fires, an occassional death, 1 million Israelis have left their homes but are being pretty comfortably taken care of, and some people have to sweat it out in bomb shelters.

There is no proportionality in what is going on. It's criminal what's going on and its got to stop. I hope that's the message which people around the world take away from these kinds of media reports.

And of course, its logical and reasonable that Lebanese will get totally pissed off, angry, frustrated, even feel like maybe the world thinks they are not even deserving of human treatment. And I realize, at the moment those are legitimate feelings.

My hope remains, that once this stops, hopefully in a day or two (although that is still way way too late) and time passes, that there is still a chance to find reconciliation. And that the damage which has been done doesnt mean that we have to wait another generation until we can move towards some sort of reconciliation.

I am now getting a bit emotional, because the death and pain and suffering is too much. I feel ashamed and guilty that I can take a break from it by turning off the TV and going to do something else. And I know you guys can't.

Peace and love

3:42 AM  
Blogger AM said...

Hehe, now don't tell me that's the first time you read comments from them! Jeez, where were you all this war?! lol.
Why do you think I feel what I feel? Why do you think I stopped reading the comments and thus replying? I AM TIRED.
PS: Check my blog, it says my feelings better, well that's all I speak about on my blog anyway ;)

4:52 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

There's been a lot of discussion about "proportionality" and what that means, in many different forums. I sometimes wonder whether that kind of discussion makes much sense. My own view is that much of the controversy about what's going on really has to do with whether Israel has the right to "defend" itself in this way in the first place, given that the conception it has of itself of a Jewish-majority state carved out of land that millions of non-Jews were living on as well isn't really compatible with 20th century views on national self-determination. These are not "defensive" wars, in other words - they are wars to maintain a sort of ethnic enclave in the Middle East that should not have been allowed to originate in the first place, and that's what makes so many people so angry when they see even ONE individual killed to "defend" such a state, let alone hundreds.

I would add that a "disproportionate" response during wartime doesn't always come across as controversial, and is sometimes hard to avoid when the country initially attacked successfully rallies and beats back its attacker. One might consider that the US behaved in a disproportionate manner during WWII, dropping bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that killed about 100-150,000 civilians, following an initial attack on Pearl Harbor that killed only 2000 sailors. But somehow that action is much less controversial (I'm not saying totally non-controversial, but certainly much less), and I think the reason is that the US really couldn't be viewed as anything but a victim when bombs started falling on its Pacific fleet. In contrast, Israel doesn't strike many of us as a victim anymore. Its philosophic conception of itself as a Jewish-majority state (yes, I know Israeli Arabs exist and are tolerated, but only so long as they comprise a small percentage of the population - otherwise they might have to eventually be "transferred") is simply incompatible with modern concepts of individual rights and rights of populations to self-determination. The comparison of Israel with apartheid South Africa has been made many times, and though there are many differences, there are also disturbing similarities. Wars to defend such states, however "limited" they may be, will always strike me as fundamentally unjust and therefore "disproportionate".

Does that mean I believe Israel has no right to exist? Not necessarily. Jews have built a beautiful and successful nation in Palestine. But I think in order for it to be a TRUE success, in the modern sense of the word, they need to accept the idea of sharing it with those people who also lived there for hundreds of years, i.e., the Palestinians - not side-by-side, with the latter living in some bizarre, discontinguous, Bophuthatswana-like Indian reservation on the West Bank, but intermingled with the Jews in their original homeland. THAT sort of state would strike me as philosophically sound, and were it attacked by fanatics I would give it a lot more leeway to defend itself than I do in the present case. But I also wonder whether it would even have to defend itself at all in that circumstance.

10:09 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Fouad, sorry if I seem to get "off thread" with my comments about the whole Israeli-Palestinian problem at times, but I guess my feeling is that it's the one large thread that seems to be entangling all the other ones, including Lebanon. I guess the long and short of it is that I think what's happening now in your country is about as "disproportionate" and tragic as one could imagine. I'm ashamed by the position of the US in all this, but at least you know that it's not a position shared by all of us over here.....

10:17 AM  
Blogger AM said...

Changed my blog's name
ex am_pm

11:31 AM  
Blogger Punkin said...

I am having a hard time typing,

I poked my own eyes out.

9:35 AM  
Anonymous Darweesh said...

Lennybruce, Llove ya....

4:05 PM  

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