Tuesday, August 15, 2006

What remains

The families, those that can, are leaving for their homes.

It should be joyful. The sun should shine and the traffic flow in happy caravans and the families, all united, all healthy, all carrying extra supplies, ought to set off for Beirut’s suburbs, the South and the Bekaa Valley like rosy-faced pioneers reclaiming what is their’s, yet again.

But the sun can’t really shine, because the sky is full of the dust from collapsed buildings. The traffic can’t flow (it never does, anyways), and Israel has refused to lift its air and sea blockade. So there’s increasingly very little gasoline in the market, making transport home difficult and expensive.

Most families still aren’t united – the ICRC did another tour yesterday through Beirut’s schools looking for families from the Bekaa. They’re not healthy – although epidemics have not broken out in the schools – as 33 days of living with 200 other people, with very little fresh fruit or vegetables or meat, wears down the immune system. There are no extra supplies, because aid is delivered daily, and, again, Israel’s blockade has prevented most aid from being delivered at all.

And they’re certainly not rosy-faced. Not when Israel, despite accepting the UN Resolution, has issued warnings against civilians returning to their homes below the Litani River. Not when yet another civilian car was bombed last night, killing a family of five. Not when Israel bombed Beirut’s southern suburbs 30 minutes before the ceasefire took place. Not with over 1,000 Lebanese civilians dead, and entire villages in the South flattened. Not when most families don’t know if they have a house to return to. Not when their only guarantee of safety is a poorly worded, loop-hole infested UN resolution that seems to have been designed to fail.

But they’re going home, to what remains of home, defiantly.

Meanwhile, like some historian in a Marquez novel, I spent the day entering two-week old data from doctors’ visits to the refugee families in the schools.

Fatimeh, 26. Panic attacks.
Samir, 78. Arthritis and diabetes.
Ali, 14. Asthma.
Mariam, 5. Conjunctivitis.
Sawsan, 21. Respiratory difficulties.
Yasser, 33. Panic attacks.
Maya, 4 months. Skin rash
Ahmed, 45. Upper back pain and tension headaches.
Mahmoud, 9. Screaming nightmares.
Khadija, 47. Diabetes, hypertension and foot pain.
Hayat, 16. Panic attacks.
Rami, 13. Skin rash.
Souad, 69. Lower back pain and panic attacks.

The families are going home, to what remains. The other remnants, they will carry with them.

Sonya Knox
West Beirut

32 Comments:

Anonymous NZ web developers for Lebanon said...

Here in New Zealand the only media coverage of the Lebanon attacks are those re-published from US news services. Based on this one sided news coverage, a group of New Zealand web designers have developed a website that will allow victims of Israeli aggression to post a marker on a Lebanon satellite map describing what has happened. www.mmsEyewitness.com/input.php We hope it will help show the world the personal perspective of this tragedy.

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Anonymous Jeff Younger said...

Ultimately, the people of Lebanon are to blame for their government's failure to exercise sovereignty over the south, and for allowing a large terrorist organization to commit acts of war from Lebanon's territory.

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Blogger [ V ] said...

The ocidental media is a fraud, nothing is really said to explain where is the right in killing civilian to "protect"... I'm disgusted and wish all the best to you Lebanon!

If I could I would go to there and help myself... I live in Brazil and here (São Paulo City) we have A LOT of lebanese families that tells us how hard they escaped. We lost 7 brazilians under israeli bombs (i mean US BOMBS)...

So, be certain that a lot of people around the world knows your situation and wishes to help!

8:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree with Jeff Younger ...

Ultimately, the people of Israel are to blame for their state's failure to implement a just peace with the palestinian people, and to make a just land-for-peace settlement with the states of syria and lebanon.

by failing to do so, the democratically elected israeli government has allowed militant organistions like hizbullah to instrumentalise the injustice it has perpetuated to sustain their various political programmes.

ergo, the israeli people deserve to be terrorised, just as much as the lebanese people deserve what the israeli airforce and navy dished out this last month.

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Anonymous Jeff Younger said...

"Ultimately, the people of Israel are to blame for their state's failure to implement a just peace with the Palestinian people, and to make a just land-for-peace settlement with the states of Syria and Lebanon."

Making up facts won't work. Both Hamas and Fateh disavow ANY political settlement --- it's in plain writing in their Covenant and Constitution. Barak offered everything, the Palestinians walked away. Olso was scuttled by the Palestinians. Palestinians who call for negotiations with Israel are executed. Indeed, the Palestinians have systematically executed their own peace activists. This pattern has repeated since the 1960s. Even the most die hard Jew-haters admit these facts.

Israel formally and in practice accepts a two-state political solution. Israel has formally established diplomatic efforts at the UN to enact a two-state solution. It is opposed by Lebanon, Syria and Iran. Hamas, Fateh, Syria, and Iran have yet to rescind their calls for the destruction of Israel and the establishment of a single Islamic state “over the dead bodies of the Jews [the words of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh].”

Making things up is not clever; it’s dumb.

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