Saturday, August 05, 2006

Beirut , August 5, 2006

Today, I took half a day off for the first time in three weeks. I felt so tired this morning, so sad and helpless.. I thought that the best cure would be to spend some time with Kinda.I took her up to the mountain, where my sister and nieces took refuge. I can say , as far as I, myself, am concerned that the visit of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State David Welch to Beirut today was not a complete waste of time : it allowed me to get out of Beirut for the first time since July the12th.Can you believe it : the trees are still there, the flowers , the butterflies, even cockroaches are still there.I can't really say I had time to contemplate any of those; I spent most of the day sleeping.Anyhow, I'm back in the office now, BUT: my two very dear friends , Leila and Anni ( actually the only friends I have who did not leave Lebanon yet)are taking me out to dinner. They're really spoiling me. The only thing is none of us knows what restaurant would take us .. but who cares ?However , don't think I will spare sad stories today , I found one written by my friend Alaa Shahine who works with Reuters press agency , two other sad stories from Reuters and the Ap , and a not so sad one ( actually a niceone ) from Johannesburg.
Here they are :

By Alaa Shahine TYRE, Lebanon, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Hussein Ali Ayoub waswashing his face one morning in his border village of Maroun al-Ras in southern Lebanon when the ceiling suddenly collapsed. He had refused to follow his parents to a nearby shelterbefore Israeli bombardment of the village. His last memories arehearing two loud explosions before waking up at a hospital in the city of Tyre, suffering wounds in his foot, knees and back.His parents are missing, and so are his wife and four children. "I can't stop thinking of them," he said, sitting on amattress at a U.N.-run school in the Palestinian refugee camp of al-Buss in Tyre that is sheltering hundreds of Lebanese familieswho fled the war between Israel and Hizbollah. "If I don't hear from them for another week, I will go mad. I will explode," the 43-year-old construction worker said. Ayoub's wife, Najibeh, had taken her daughter and three sonsto a village near Tyre before the bombing of Maroun al-Ras, ascene of fierce fighting between advancing Israeli troops and Hizbollah fighters. When he went to check on them, they weregone, leaving no trace behind. FADING HOPE As anxious as he may be, Ayoub still hopes to find his wifeand children. For some other refugees, the most they can hope for is that the bodies of loved ones will be recovered. "My parents are under the rubble of my house and they areprobably dead," said Abduallh Hussein, 57, lighting a cigarette.His father, Mohammed Ali, 85, and his 80-year-old mother were stuck in the village of Tair Harfa, one of many in Tyre'shinterland that has come under heavy Israeli attacks. "I hope I can go there, pull them out and bury them," saidHussein, whose hands are rough from chopping wood for living. Hussein has lost relatives in past wars -- his brother Abbaswas killed shortly after the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanonand two nephews, Nidal and Mouein, were killed fighting to Israel in southLebanon in the 1980s. Another refugee, Mohammed Rasatmi, has not seen his cousinMahmoud since the Israeli bombing of al-Qasmieyh village nearTyre about a week ago. "We are no different than other people who are losing their family members in this war," said the 45-year-old gardener, nowa refugee in the city of Sidon. At Sidon's town hall, aid workers have set up a detailedcomputer database for the refugees who have flocked to the city,the largest in the south, helping them locate missing relatives.
"We were able to reunite many people," said MohammedNahouli, sitting at a partitioned corner in the main hall wherevolunteer aid workers, mostly young college graduates, sit behind computer screens to sort out the refugees' data. A group of refugees gathered around one worker to hand ininformation about missing relatives. One of them, 70-year-oldMohammed Shammout, was asking about his son, Mustafa. "Tell your colleagues to say his name on the radio," he tolda visiting reporter. "Tell him 'Your father is looking foryou'."

This is what Alaa reported from Saida where yesterday, as Laila Bassam from Reuters puts it :
BEIRUT, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Israel said on Saturday it planned to bomb "Hezbollah rocket launching sites" in Sidon (Saida) and warned the inhabitants of south Lebanon's biggest city to leave. An Israeli army spokesman said leaflets dropped on Sidon,whose normal population of 100,000 has been swollen by refugeesfrom war zones further south, had warned all residents to leave."We dropped leaflets warning residents to leave because the army will attack Hezbollah rocket launching sites in Sidon," he said. Other army officials confirmed the warning had been given.However , Saida's mayor Abdel Rahman Bizri told the BBC yesterday that there were no Hezbollah sites in his city ( which is predominantly Sunni) and that even if the leaflets were actually thrown , there was nowhere where his city's people + the refugees could go anyway. Elsewhere in our part of the world, the families of the Syrian workers who were among those killed in Qaa yesterday, were burying the loved ones.

Here's the extracts from AP's story :
JANDIRES, Syria (AP) _ Grief and shock swept through thissmall, impoverished village in northwestern Syria Saturday as it buried 23 of its people who were killed when Israelimissiles slammed into a refrigerated warehouse just across the border in Lebanon. ®How long will the Arabs and the world keep silent aboutIsrael's crimes?¯ asked Brifan Rashid, who lost herbrother in the Friday attack. She was slightly wounded. ®How long will the U.S. support Israeli terrorism? Whathave those poor workers done to Israel to receive such fate?¯ asked the 18-year-old, choking back tears. Herfather was still missing in the rubble, she said. Four missiles blasted the warehouse in the Lebanese townof Qaa, where farm workers were loading vegetables and fruits onto trucks bound for the Syrian market, killing atleast 33 laborers according to Syria's official newsagency, including 23 Syrian workers. The bodies of the 10Lebanese killed were believed to have been buried quickly after the attack.
The Syrian dead included 18 men, two elderly women andthree young girls, it said. Ten other Syrians were wounded.
Rashid, the survivor, recalled she was resting in a smallroom when the attack occurred. ®The room's walls fell uponme and I lost consciousness,¯ she said.
Wailing crowds thronged pavements in front of the villagecemetery Saturday, and large tents were erected to host the mourners. A weeping woman, who identified herself by her first name of Zaloukha, said she lost two daughters, Mazkeen, 18, and Offa, 20, as well as a son, 25-year-old Shukri. ®My heart has been broken ... What have those poor youths done,¯ she asked. The dead Syrians, mostly ethnic Kurds, worked in Qaa during the summer loading vegetables destined for Gulf countries into refrigerated warehouses. Their coffins werecarried by 16 hearses escorted by ambulance and police cars through the narrow streets of Jandires, some 450 kilometers(281 miles) northwest of Damascus.

Elsewhere in the world , in a great country that suffered for too long from a state very similar to Israel, a state that was supported by the west almost as much as Israel is , the AP reports :

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ Thousands of SouthAfricans marched through Cape Town to Parliament on Saturday to demand sanctions against Israel for its strikes against Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. Demonstrators carried pictures of Sheik Hassan Nasrallah,leader of Hezbollah, and posters declaring ®Israel the new Nazis.¯ They urged the South African government to recall its ambassador from Israel and sever diplomatic ties, impose trade sanctions, and prosecute South Africans who serve in the Israeli defense force.
This march, the latest in a series across the country to express solidarity with Lebanese and Palestinians, was organized by a coalition ofreligious, trade union and civil society groups that cut across religious lines.


Post a Comment

<< Home