Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Beirut Dispatch

Marion's latest report (the photos Marion took of ad campaigns that have begun in Lebanon):

Monday 7th of August 2006:

Last night, on our local TV there was a programme “Al Hadath” (which translate roughly as “The Happening”) in which military experts from Dubai, Egypt and Lebanon debated the current crisis. Each of those generals put forward their points of view on the Israeli/Hizballah war tactics. Whilst one general spoke of Hizballah’s professional organization between its units, its possession of long distance rockets and its well planned attacks, another general stated that Israel had succeeded in destroying the major associations, homes, security headquarters, hospitals and charity departments all owned by Hizballah in various parts of the country – basically that Israel had managed to strike at the heart of Hizballah. Yet another of the generals said the only way to destroy Hizballah as a military force was to attack it in its underground hidden tunnels and have direct confrontations: soldier to soldier there. He believed that Israel’s infantry forces are not so strong as to seriously threaten Hizballah in this way.

Therefore the question is: who will come out of this war the winner? The irony is as follows: in the fight in Bekaa at the Shiite Hospital between Israeli commandos and Hizballah soldiers; Israel stated it succeeded in its mission by capturing a few Hizballah fighters whilst on its side Hizballah said it had proved that it was capable of repelling the Israeli raid and added that Israel due to a incorrect intelligence had captured the wrong Hassan Nassrallah who was hiding there (a mixture of names only). And few days ago, with the Tyr confrontation which Israel later stated as being an successful mission, Hizballah replied again that it had completely blocked the attack once again. Every day, I see on TV Israel claiming it killed a certain number of Hizballah soldiers and at the same time Hizballah confirming there were no dead nor injured or much smaller numbers than the Israelis claimed.

Who is telling the truth and who is lying? Each of those two fighting parties claim in the media that they are unbeatable. I don’t think either of them will come out the winner. However there is only one big loser: Lebanon – its economy bleeding, its infrastructure being destroyed, and ever growing number of casualties from the continuous bombing.

I wonder whether Israeli people are aware of the Lebanese citizens casualties growing number. As I write this report a new area, Chiyah has just been bombed. Two buildings were destroyed in which around ten civilians were killed and almost 30 injured. I don’t understand Israeli’s cruelty in killing civilians. If they claim to be targeting only Hizballah forces, then what is the explanation for the nearly one thousand dead Lebanese citizens so far? There is also the refusal to give security guarantees to the two ships at the sea carrying fuel and other supplies waiting to land. Very Soon Lebanon will be in full darkness if these ships cannot reach harbour. I wonder, is Israel enjoying strangling its neighboring citizens in every possible way?

I honestly don’t care about that war; I don’t want to see Hizballah winning or Israeli troops controlling the south. All I want is PEACE in my country. I see people whose homes were destroyed, family members killed due to this war and yet their only reply is: “we are ready to give up everything we own and pay the blood of our beloved ones just for the sake of Hassan Nassrallah”. Who could be sane and still let go the most precious thing: life itself?. Who would not mind living all their lives in war times and hiding in shelters? Sadly, there are a lot of Lebanese Shiites who think this way. The difference may be that Israeli men do care for their lives, while Hizballah’s soldiers ultimately wish to die fighting battles. And at that point, festivals are made instead of funerals and the martyr’s mother will be proudly walking among crowds. Weirdly, Hizballah’s slogan has always been: “Fight to death”. So how can any army defeat men whose precious lives on this earth mean nothing at all to themselves?

Why should there always be deep hatred and blood in order to achieve a goal? I am not a political expert but I strongly believe that the only way to stop this war will be through a diplomatic political agreement. Today Arab foreign ministers met in Beirut along with our Prime Minister, Sanioura. It seemed they all supported the Lebanese Government’s important points, among which is the deployment of Lebanese Army in the south and therefore disarming of Hizballah. With luck this meeting will contribute a little bit to the push towards the ceasefire and a permanent solution to this war where all are losing.

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