Friday, August 11, 2006

Lebanon

My silence on my blog about this is unpardonable, but it has been difficult to write about it since it is very upsetting. There are also people far more qualified than me to write as well whom I read obsessively. My fave blog in all this is that of Rasha Salti. (www.rashasalti.blogspot.com). Biased on that blog since I met her right before she left to go to Beirut two days before the bombing started. Other good blogs are: http://siegeoflebanon.blogspot.com, a great one is http://www.openlebanon.org, which gives "headlines" from other Lebanon related blogs and opens one up to a bunch. Beirut Spring is another good one with links to news articles, opinions and the comments section is amazing.

It has been approx a month and today attention is being diverted in America from the foiled terror plot of bombing airplanes etc...Brit citizens, originally Pakistani I think and yeah, all America now wants to talk about it how they will hydrate themselves between the security lines and the time they get on the plane. It is very inconvenient and therefore, we must talk about it on every single news channel and devote reporters time and energy, not to mention that of the viewers to listen to unsuspecting passengers who went to US airports and realized they would have to be delayed by some hours to get to their vacations or homes and would have to throw out shampoos, gels, beverages, toothpaste etc. Those poor, poor people. So unsuspecting. God damn terrorists who hate the idea of convenience. Those convenience haters. Mayor Bloomberg of NYC in a statement said, well, if we are to be inconvenienced by the lines, and delays of some hours at our airports, so be it. I laud this brave man to stand up in the face of American inconvenience.

How annoying that I have to throw out bottles of water or toothpaste....in a huge trash can at the airport. A big abyss of a trash can with used toilettries and beverages of Americans that could probably fill the gaping holes in the now bombed out city of Bint Jbeil. I mean, how inconvenient, esp when my well stocked convenient corner store is close by regardless of where I live in the US.

People don't have basic sustenance and are dying (and don't need to if the IDF would just give clear cut clearance for aid convoys!!!!) and we obssess about our lack of convenience in this country.

The news channels were surreal all day and the UN is still dragging its feet (or having its feet dragged) on a peace plan for Lebanon.

Life is amazingly, still going on. Tourist buses were out in NYC since today was a gorgeous day. A mother in the Bronx office I work at had a cell phone conversation designed for everyone to hear how she was not going to let her teenage daughter the life she had set up for herself and there will be concerts and parties, movie openings, me looking for an apt in London, my dishes arriving finally from Sri Lanka, bills to pay, subways to get onto, people to meet, clothes to buy and wear, cigarettes to smoke, coffee to drink and yeah, the passage of time to navigate. Amazing how we will sense that passage so differently, isn't it?

I wish I were there for this. Getting a visa is an issue for me. Amazing courage these people have to make a civilian convoy to get to the hard hit south to get them the much needed aid.

Press Release-Lebanon: An Open Country for Civil Resistance
Beirut August 7, 2006

Press Contacts:
Rasha Salti, +961 3 970855
Huwaida Arraf, +961 70 974452
Samah Idriss, +961 3 381349
Wadih Al Asmar, +961 70 950780


On August 12, at 7 am, Lebanese from throughout the country and
international supporters who have come to Lebanon to express
solidarity will gather in Martyr's Square in Beirut to form a civilian
convoy to the south of Lebanon. Hundreds of Lebanese and
international civilians will express their solidarity with the
inhabitants of the heavily destroyed south who have been bravely
withstanding the assault of the Israeli military. This campaign is
endorsed by more than 200 Lebanese and international organizations.
This growing coalition of national and international non-governmental
organizations hereby launches a campaign of civil resistance for the
purpose of challenging the cruel and ruthless use of massive military
force by Israel, the regional superpower, upon the people of Lebanon.

August 12 marks the start of this Campaign of Resistance, declaring
Lebanon an Open Country for Civil Resistance. August 12 also marks
both the international day of protest against the Israeli aggression.

"In the face of Israel's systematic killing of our people, the
indiscriminate bombing of our towns, the scorching of our villages,
and the attempted destruction of our civil infrastructure, we say No!
In the face of the forced expulsion of a quarter of our population
from their homes throughout Lebanon, and the complicity of governments
and international bodies, we re-affirm the acts of civil resistance
that began from the first day of the Israeli assault, and we stress
and add the urgent need to act!," said Rasha Salti, one of the
organizers of this national event.

After August 12, the campaign will continue with a series of civil
actions, leading to an August 19 civilian march to reclaim the South.
"Working together, in solidarity, we will overcome the complacency,
inaction, and complicity of the international community and we will
deny Israel its goal of removing Lebanese from their land and
destroying the fabric of our country," explained Samah Idriss, writer
and co-organizer of this campaign.

"An international civilian presence in Lebanon is not only an act of
solidarity with the Lebanese people in the face of unparalleled
Israeli aggression, it is an act of moral courage to defy the will of
those who would seek to alienate the West from the rest and create a
new Middle East out of the rubble and blood of the region," said
Huwaida Arraf, co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement and
campaign co-organizer. "After having witnessed the wholesale
destruction of villages by Israel's air force and navy and having
visited the victims (so-called displaced) of Israel's policy of
cleansing Lebanese civilians from their homes," continued Arraf, "it
is imperative to go south and reach those who have stayed behind to
resist by steadfastly remaining on their land."

If you are in Lebanon and want to sign up and join the convoy, contact either:
Rasha Salti. Email: convois.citoyens.sud.liban@gmail.com . Tel: +961 3 970 855
Rania Masri. Email: rania.masri@balamand.edu.lb. Tel: +961 3 135 279
or +961 6 930 250 xt. 5683 or xt. 3933
If you are outside Lebanon and want to sign up and join the convoy,
you should know:
1) You need to obtain a visa for Lebanon and for Syria if your plan is
to enter Lebanon from Syria.
2) We don't have the funds to cover for the cost of your travel,
however we can help with finding accomodations.
For questions and help for all internationals please contact Adam
Shapiro at: adamsop@hotmail.com


You can also sign up on our website: www.lebanonsolidarity.org

This campaign is thus far endorsed by more than 200 organizations,
including: The Arab NGOs Network for Development (ANND), International
Solidarity Movement (ISM), Cultural Center for Southern Lebanon,
Norwegian People's Aid, Lebanese Center for Policy Studies, Lebanese
Association for Democratic Elections, Frontiers, Kafa, Nahwa
al-Muwatiniya, Spring Hints, Hayya Bina, Lebanese Transparency
Association, Amam05, Lebanese Center for Civic Education, Let's Build
Trust, CRTD-A, Solida, National Association for Vocational Training
and Social Services, Lebanese Development Pioneers, Nadi Li Koul
Alnas, and Lecorvaw.

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