Wednesday, July 26, 2006

50 cent, Paul Van Dyk, the Foreigners, but never the refugees...

GLOBALIZATION AND THE ROLE OF PRIVATE INSTITUTIONS

The rescue and relief efforts are continuing despite the challenges and the hardships all along. No more big public spaces to shelter the families by big numbers. Now, they are concentrated in very random places and in small numbers. The situation is continuously deteriorating each day, or each hour even. and we are faced with a new problem: The big rescue institutions like red cross, high council for relief, and others are focusing on the big places, the groupings of 600 and more families... Other parties and big institutions are also doing the same, so you can find for example a school provided with 2 meals a day while some families on the roof of a building are paying their own meals and will be out of money very very soon... This is where the role of small NGOs, of solid grassroots work is needed and it is being accomplished but with minimal resources. The important sums of money, the donations, the tools, are going only to the big names. And the challenge is really to find these refugees who are randomly allocated in the city of Beirut. The donations are starting to arrive to the big organizations, but they do not have the human power nor the on-ground experience to use it outside the schools, and unfortunately the link between all groups is not easy to make...

Another important issue to discuss; what is the role of the private sector in this kind of tragic situation? The private schools, most of them, are still shut down, they have not been opened yet to allocate new refugees... The private hospitals are just starting to get involved in the rescue and relief efforts, with the financial administration carefully monitoring spending, and they only want to get involved in the big schools and gatherings... by the way, TV Cameras are only present in the big crowds of refugees anyway, and this where many organizations want to be....

Emergency departments in private hospitals are still charging people... some have provided a small team or space, but nowhere as serious as their means can procure... The private companies don't seem to be donating much money, instead they are worried about their own personnel stuck at home who cannot finish his/her work deadline... For the ones who are giving money and efforts, well, we respect their role and we encourage more to give and to be involved in the relief works… Big private public spaces who usually welcome big concerts, book fairs and exhibitions such as Biel and Forum of Beirut are used as centers to evacuate the foreigners... I am not sure if both of them... But anyway, they are not being used to shelter refugees... The space is big enough to provide a healthy environment... also from a logistic point of view, it will become much easier to provide all the necessary needs, to make all the necessary assessment, humanitarian and medical... BUT NO.. The priorities do not converge at this moment.... The citizens are not as important as teenager consumers dancing to Paul Van Dyk DJ music, or as important as the Foreigners who are evacuating the country…

The private sector needs to be more involved in what the entire country is going thru... The private sector along with the public sector and the civil society constitute the pillars... The government is obviously weak, it cannot absorb all this tragedy, and the civil society is working hand to hand trying to only focus on the humanitarian aspect without losing time in the politics at this point. The Private sector needs to also be responsive to the needs of our society; it needs to mobilize in the Humanitarian operations...

and this is another strong disadvantage and failure of the so-called globalization today, where capital and money/profit become more important than people. Public institutions are more aware and closer to the needs of the people. The capital that floats around the world seems to be very much detached from the workers, the geography, and the environments invested in. Another failure of the American economical system who is trying to be forced in our markets and our countries….

DOWTOWN AND THE MILITARY PROTECTION OF CAPITAL

As you may all know, the newly reconstructed Downtown (15 years ago) is one of the strongest symbol of the Post-civil war era of Lebanon. However, due to the high land prices, it became very hard to buy or rent in the Solidere region… and many renovated buildings, I don’t have exact numbers, but definitely many buildings, are still empty for the past 12-15 years, awaiting for business companies… is it too naïve to think about Solidere company to open these empty apartments to the refugees??? May be it is… but they thought about it from another side of the issue… the Government has deployed many soldiers at every entrance to downtown, every street leading to downtown, in order to protect these entrances and not let in anybody in there… This is the military force needed to protect the capital….

ISRAEL: POLITICAL ACCEPTANCE BY THE WORLD BUT MILITARY FAILURE

Tuesday was a very violent day here in Beirut and the South. In Beirut, many attacks from the war ships took place in the afternoon backed by aerial bombing, and the sound was bouncing off the walls of all the buildings in the city. Tyre was continuously being targeted today including the neighboring villages... The Israeli Offense Forces were trying to enter Bint Jbeil which is very close to the frontiers but they still haven't managed to do so completely. The failed meetings with Condoleezza Rice in Beirut are giving more time to the Israeli aggression to take place.

Anyway, nobody was really optimistic about Rice's arrival to Beirut, and the fact that she came here before Tel Aviv shows that she has nothing really to say, probably the same conditions given early by Israel, the israeli soldiers back, the International forces in the South, and the disarment if Hizbullah... Of course these conditions are not acceptable, and any third party involved in serious cease fire would call for an unconditional one... Israel seems to have a political umbrella these days, just like in Falasteen, however, on the ground, its troops are being stopped by a strong resistance on the Lebanese side. The Lebanese resistance is fighting on its grounds, its is in control of its territory and its military actions, it is defending itself, and it is well prepared for such a situation. The Israelis, the International community, many Arab governments, are underestimating the infrastrutucture of the resistance in the South... They have been focusing on the external alliances and the external Network of Hezbollah and its ties with Syria and Iran, which for some reason meant a weak internal structure and this is not the case... Not at all, Hezbollah, never expected a fair International community, but is well prepared at the ground level…

LEBANESE RESISTANCE

For the people who are stuck in the 80s, the quick and unconditional withdrawal of Israel from the South in 2000 has opened the door for a new era... There is no Yasser Aarafat in Beirut today, where many political leaders will come to and convince him to leave Beirut, there is no boat after few weeks of heavy bombings that will take the fighters to Tunisia or another country, it is an Israeli-Lebanese conflict, of course linked to the big Israeli-Palestinian conflict that will remain at the heart of the liberation movement of the Arab world and of the renaissance of the Arab world as free and independent...

I do not personally differentiate between a Lebanese or a Palestinian cause, all causes in the world are related, the exploitation and the bombs do not differentiate between us... But the people who used to talk about the war of "others" on our land, and that Lebanon is used for other conflicts, well this is different, and this argument cannot be used...

This is a war waged by Israel on the Lebanese people. This is very clear when over 500,000 are fleeing their homes, where infrastructures are not being just disabled but completely destroyed... If you want to disable the airport for military logistical reasons you can hit it in a smart way, but when you continuously pound many missiles, many runways, the fuel tanks, this is complete destruction and the aims become the complete destabilization of an entire country, not just a simple strategic military operation...

also, the people who are holding in the South, if they are holding still, if they are stopping one of the strongest technological armies in the world, it means that there is a belief in what they are doing, that for them this a war of existence, their own existence, their own independence, and their own liberation…. There is a point of no return for the resistance in the South of Lebanon… And the resistance is rooted in the culture of the South, in the villages, there is a strong culture of resistance there, and this is where military choices for the Israeli will be limited… The war has a different meaning on the Israeli side, although some politicians claim that this is a war of existence, which is not…. But it is not up to politicians to say so; it is also up to the populations to decide, and the soldiers on the ground and the Israeli people have a different look, their war is an offensive one, and their attachment to the land has also a different nature… Let us not forget that Israel is still the biggest theft project of a land in the 20th century…


DONATIONS SHOULD BE MADE TO THE SMALL NGOs OR ANYBODY WHO IS DOING GROUND WORK....

Abdel Rahman Zahzah
Beirut, Lebanon

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