Saturday, July 22, 2006

Today is DAY 10.

3 days after Week One post on this blog. And the news didn't stop reporting horrors, deaths, destructions and evacutions.

My parents have changed their minds. They are leaving tomorrow with my nephews. In a way I am relieved but I think about those who can't leave. As a friend of mine said, stuck in the Lebanese mountains, to me today on the phone "those who are Lebanese only are treated like animals, they'll be forgotten soon when everyone else will be evacuated." It is a luxury right now to be a French, Candian, American, Australian...anything but Lebanese ONLY.

They bombed Christian neighborhoods North of Beirut today, TV and telecommunications infrastructure. I guess they're trying to isolate the different regions of the country before the end of the week. "They're damn good" my brother told me on the phone from Mansourieh, "they know their shit." Yes but why isolate the regions? so then they can blow up the whole Southern region of Beirut and take over the Beqaa valley, but I thought they already did this for the past 10 days. Why else then? Can you imagine what will be left of Lebanon in 10 more days...

Over 30 Israeli lives have been lost...over 300 Lebanese lives have been lost
But this is not a disproportionate response

Laure Ghorayeb

July 17th


July 18th July 19th
All drawings originally uploeaded by Mazen Kerbaj


"Yesterday was the bombing of my neighborhood Ashrafieh..."
-Laure Ghorayeb, July 19th, 2006

[For more please check http://www.laureghorayeb.blogspot.com/]

Just a little help

Hello all -

As many of you know, I am outraged at what is going on in the Middle East.

"Hundreds of civilians have been killed or wounded, and it remains difficult to organize medical evacuations and to maintain health services. All across the country, large numbers of people are fleeing the conflict zones in dangerous circumstances. There has also been widespread destruction of public infrastructure."
http://www.icrc.org/

"The United Nations has warned of a looming humanitarian crisis in Lebanon as thousands of families flee Israeli attacks. Roads from the south of Lebanon are reported to be clogged with thousands leaving their homes and heading for refuge."http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200607/s1690026.htm

I just donated to the Red Cross. From what I see on TV it seems like they are the ones that are reaching the most desperate areas. You could make a general donation or dedicate the money to a specific program. I am including the link below. Send this to as many people as you know. Please help!

Much love - Maria

http://www.icrc.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/iwpList2/Help_the_ICRC?OpenDocument

Friday, July 21, 2006

Lebanon June 2006


A visit to the Lebanese village of Jezzine


When it gets hot in Beirut, Lebanese who can flee to the mountains. Jezzine in the south central mountains is such a village. Our dear Lebanese friend insisted we should see this beautiful place of which she carries happy childhood memories.

[for more on this trip please check Happening Here Blog and click on June 2006, beautiful pictures]

Mounir Zok: Lebanese artist in exile


PROJECT ON THE CAMP OF HATRED, THE KHIAM DETENTION CAMP IN SOUTHERN LEBANON (2004)
http://www.mounirzok.com

This damned torture courtyard: i cannot go in, i would die, once again. the hungry ferocious dogs that were launched against me did not kill me; nor did the kicks and punches of their owners; nor did their whips; nor did the electricity on my genitals; nor the boiling water that was poured onto our naked skin. maybe it would have been better. the more they tried to make me scream out my pain, the more i resisted and suffered in silence, because i knew who was back there hearing me. they would throw me back into the cell with my bones broken, my skin burnt, and my tongue bleeding, bit to avoid screaming out.khiam (lebanon), 2004





Paradise Lost


[Excerpts from 'Paradise Lost: Robert Fisk's Elegy for Beirut', July 19th, 2006, The Independent]
The anger that any human soul should feel at such suffering and loss was expressed so well by Lebanon's greatest poet, the mystic Khalil Gibran, when he wrote of the half million Lebanese who died in the 1916 famine, most of them residents of Beirut:
My people died of hunger, and he who
Did not perish from starvation was
Butchered with the sword;
They perished from hunger
In a land rich with milk and honey.
They died because the vipers and
Sons of vipers spat out poison into
The space where the Holy Cedars and
The roses and the jasmine breathe
Their fragrance.

[...]

Fairouz, the most popular of Lebanese singers, was to have performed at this year's Baalbek festival, cancelled now like all Lebanon's festivals of music, dance, theatre and painting. One of her most popular songs is dedicated to her native city:

To Beirut - peace to Beirut with all my heart
And kisses - to the sea and clouds,
To the rock of a city that looks like an old sailor's face.
From the soul of her people she makes wine,
From their sweat, she makes bread and jasmine.
So how did it come to taste of smoke and fire?
***
(listen to the song)

LEBANON FUNDRAISING EVENT: LONDON

[Please contact Tonia Asseily if you're interested in participating or need more information
sushi232@hotmail.com]

Dear All,

Because of the terrible situation Lebanon has found itself in, some of us are organising a fundraiser on 1st August, in Eclipse Brompton Road, from 9pm onwards. ALL the money will go to the Lebanese Red Cross; not a penny will go to any politician or political group!

Entry will be £25 at the door (cash only), and there will be Lebanese food, a people's auction (you'll be able to buy a date with Lebanon's finest!), raffles etc.

It's guest list ONLY so please email me if you would like to come; I realise I've emailed some of you in Beirut, but just in case you get out and find you're way here...

Dress code if you can, anything red, white or green...

Hope you can make it! And feel free to spread the word...

Toniaxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Here in Lebanon - A letter to Humanity
By Nathalie Malhame (Peace for Lebanon Blogger)
Beirut, Lebanon
18th of July 2006

Here in Lebanon, the atmosphere is grim and sad. The airport has been bombed several times, there is an air and sea blocade, the Syrian border has been bombed, we cannot leave the country easily- if at all. Bridges, oil stations, the airport, entire villages (Haret Hreik, Chtaura, Saida, Tyre, Dahiye, Kfarshima…) and most of our infrastructure has been targeted at and destroyed. Lebanon has indeed been taken ten years back in time. This summer was expected to be a ‘golden summer’ for Lebanon. Hotels were booked, tickets for festivals and concerts were sold out, and tourism was finally beginning to boom again in the country. Lebanon was finally beginning to show its true colors and break away from its war-torn image. All that, has been destroyed in just a matter of days- if not hours. But we can and will rebuild our infrastructure. We have done it before and we will do it again. Lebanese and their friends in all four corners of the world, from Brazil and North America to Cyprus and Nigeria can send money later and help rebuild the country. Saudi Arabia has already done so.

But what about the innocent lives that have been lost? Starting with the eight Lebanese Canadians- my fellow citizens on both sides, I being both Lebanese and Canadian? Continuing with the 12 members of family trying to leave their village? To the other 180 (and still counting) lives that were carelessly taken? To the four Brazilian lives that were taken too? Their lives cannot be rebuilt ….their lives were taken without a second thought. So far, only innocent lives have been taken. No, their lives have not been sparred. Children’s lives have not been sparred. Friends fleeing through the Syrian borders had to see dead bodies being pushed away in a trolley. These images will stay with them for life.

Hearing bombs and seeing our villages destroyed one after the other, we are afraid to sleep. We are afraid to have a quick shower, worrying that we have to rush down to the shelters at any instant-these shelters being no more than the garages of our buildings. How safe are they? You tell me. People like me, in areas that are still relatively safe, have been rushing to the supermarkets to buy food stocks. Gas is running short as gas stations are closing down. Back to electricity cuts, we are scared to take the elevator. Bread in some bakeries have started to be rationed. Food is still abundant for people who can afford it in supermarkets in these safe areas but it is no longer abundant in South Beirut or in the Southern villages that have been bombed. Hundreds of jobs have been lost. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed. With bomb threats reigning in the air, we are scared to drive anywhere or go anywhere. Even in our very own homes, we do not feel safe. I personally have stopped going to work and am hibernating at home. Are my loved ones or friends going to die today? You tell me. Is my friend stuck in Saida safe? Those supposed flyers that fall out of the Israeli planes to warn Lebanese villagers to flee their villages fall at most, 60 minutes before these villages are wiped away. How much time does that give people to run away? What about the people who cannot read or the tourists or second or third generation returnees who cannot read Arabic? And how can they run away if their roads and bridges have been destroyed? You tell me.

No…. Hizbollah should not have kidnapped those two Israeli soldiers. They did that without the Lebanese population’s or the Lebanese government’s knowledge. Indeed, those two soldiers should be sent back to Israel. But that does not give the Israeli army the right to go and destroy entire villages and take away innocent lives or the right to bombard our whole infrastructure. They did not even try to negotiate before starting to destroy our infrastructure. Yes, Hizbollah should be disarmed. An immediate cease fire must take place now and the international community must intervene to help do that so that the Lebanese government can take control again. Prime Minister Siniora is a good man, with his heart in the right place. We must give him the chance to take control. He cannot do so if there is no immediate cease-fire. This conflict has gone beyond the capture of the two soldiers. It has spilled over, way over into the danger zone. Do we really want to see the start of world war three? You tell me, is that what you want? Do we really want to ignore the value of human life? Day by day, more tears and blood are spilled….mainly in Lebanon right now but also on all sides. In Haifa, in Gaza, in Beirut…. In Palestine, Israel and Lebanon, let’s not forget in Iraq…. Is this really what you want? What for? What for? Please, just tell me what for.

No. I stand up and calmly cry out with dignity and love for humanity: NO. NO MORE VIOLENCE. NO MORE VIOLENCE. PLEASE PEOPLE OF ALL NATIONS FROM LEBANON AND ISRAEL TO CANADA AND FRANCE TO THE REST OF THE WORLD, STAND UP AND SAY NO.

Tell me you will not stand idly by, tell me that you will not close your eyes, tell me that you will not give up. Tell me that you will raise your voice of peace and help intervene now, fast and urgently before more human- HUMAN- lives are lost.

Thank you for listening,

From Lebanon with tears.

Nathalie Malhame

Thursday, July 20, 2006

MAY THIS HUMILIATION LEAD TO FREEDOM ONE DAY





August 16th, 1982

Sunday, Jul. 16, 2006
Time Magazine

The Party's Over
As the bombs fall, the nightlife capital of the Middle East grows desperate

By ANDREW LEE BUTTERS

When the electricity finally failed in my East Beirut neighborhood, I set up shop at a rooftop hotel bar and waited for the next Israeli bombs to fall. Almost immediately, the sky erupted with what sounded like antiaircraft fire but turned out to be red and green fireworks garishly flashing over the hot, dark city. The Shi'ite residents of Beirut's southern suburbs, pummeled all day by the Israeli assault, were celebrating Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah's declaration of war with Israel.

That's what passes for a party in Beirut these days. Monot Street, Beirut's main nightclub drag, is normally throbbing with oil-rich Arab playboys and European hipsters on such a steamy summer night. But with the city under siege, the only buzz coming from Beirut's bars is the hum of power generators. There's not a bikini in sight on the city's sunny shoreline or a parked Porsche in the chic shopping district. Few Lebanese saw it coming. After this country's 15-year civil war ended in 1990, the nation transformed itself from a byword for urban violence into the nightlife capital of the Middle East. Elites who had fled during the war poured back in, pumping billions of dollars into the redevelopment of downtown Beirut. The rebranding of the city was so successful that with every condominium high-rise and every new shopping mall, the Lebanese began to believe their own advertising and forget that they live in a fragile country in a dangerous part of the world. That illusion now lies in tatters.

The foreigners were the first to panic. At the Phoenicia Hotel, the city's fanciest, the lobby was filled with fashionable women fleeing the country in high-heeled shoes. The embassies circulated fanciful evacuation plans involving small airplanes and ferries to Cyprus. The U.N. told its employees to stock up on a month's worth of prescription medication and take a long weekend.

The problem is that there's almost no place to go. Poor Beirut airport, recently rebuilt, was famously attacked in 1968, when Israeli commandos blew up 13 Lebanese civilian planes as they sat on the tarmac. This time the attack came in slow motion: first the runways, then the fuel-storage tanks, then the runways again, then the terminals.

With Israeli warships attacking ports and running blockades, the only way out of the country is by land through Syria. Fleets of taxis carried hotel guests on the three-hour trip to Damascus until an air strike knocked out a key bridge. Now cars have to take back roads through the high mountain passes or head north up the coast road toward the Syrian city of Homs. Given the conditions on the roads, staying in Beirut while the bombs fall is as good an option as trying to make a run for it. "You share your bed with a Lebanese girl?" a staff member at the Tourism Ministry asked me. "Get married, and you won't have to leave."

The Lebanese--who lived through far worse than this during the civil war--are determined to put up a steely front. Every time I go to a supermarket to collect quotes from supposedly terrified families stocking up on essentials, I end up being the one with the largest shopping-cart load of canned goods and batteries. But it's hard to escape the sense of dread that looms over the country. "Twenty years of reconstruction are being destroyed in a few days," the Tourism Minister, Joseph Sarkis, moaned to me from his nearly abandoned ministry. The owner of a subterranean nightclub called the Basement is trying to rally his patrons with a new slogan: "It's safer underground." Even in Beirut, that may not be enough to keep the party going.

MIDEAST CRISIS AID GROUPS (CNN World)

Do you want to leave Lebanon tomorrow???


ouff...what a decision to take...I just received a mail from my mom. The embassy called them and asked them if they wanted to leave tomorrow at noon. My nephews would go with them.

She didn't tell my dad yet, she's worried of his reaction "I am not leaving my country another time", if he leaves...all this hope lost again...he spent the first 10 years of his retirement in his home country where he never lived really for the past 30 years because of the conflict. He was so happy to be back...I was so happy to have them back with me in Lebanon...and now they might leave again...building, destroying, building again to be destroyed again...that's a Lebanese life for the past 40 years, an entire generation of Lebanese and now maybe a second generation on its way out...Until when...Khallas we've had enough of this, we have no identity anymore, no roots, no country, we're half european, half american, half canadian, half australian...half............

ENNNOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

Can you hear the music in the darkness

I am sitting here in London, it is so hot outside, I have all my windows open and I am listening to the sounds on the streets...

People coming in, people coming out
Doors closing and windows opening
ambulances and police sirens
the usual major city noises

The noise is unbearable and yet I am thinking of the sounds in Southern Lebanon and South Beirut
at this very instant...

People staying in or dying out
ambulances mistaken for bombs
attacked by bombs
cigarettes lighting and innocents screaming
children whispering
trapped with rocket-throwing men, yelling and throwing...

The sound is getting closer
getting repetitive and old
the history knows it well
any of us must know it well by now
the same chorus
the same horror

And yet all those children growing up listening to the melody of hope
believing in the melody of happiness
the melody of peace
the melody of silence
the melody of childhood the way it should be anywhere in this world

When we live with "an eye for an eye,” the whole world will be blind (Ghandi)

[Editor of The Daily Home's Note: Father Bob Blackwell, and his wife, Kay, have been living and working in Damascus, Syria, since May 2005. As the Middle East is rocked by another spasm of violence along Syria’s border, Blackwell sent an e-mail to The Daily Home sharing some of his observations on “Living on the Brink of War.” Most of that e-mail is reprinted below, as it was sent Tuesday morning. ]

"Living on the Brink of War"....

It is only 30 miles from our door that the bombs are being dropped on the roads, bridges, buildings and people of Lebanon. It could be only a matter of days before they begin to fall on Damascus. Our first thought was, "How and when do we leave?"

But as we began to talk with the members of our congregation here ... all English-speaking expatriates who are working here as diplomats from the U.S., Britain, Canada, oil workers, health care specialists, and other professionals from Holland, the UK, Australia, and many domestic workers from the Philippines ... those who had been through something like this before, we found out that this is part of life in the Middle East. And the best way to live "on the brink of war” is to try to keep life as normal as possible.

Our job here, now, and as always, has been to support these people in their life and work, with spiritual, emotional and sometimes physical encouragement. We talk to each other, or e-mail, almost daily. We are having people for dinner on a regular basis. We are still attending official functions at the embassies. I am still working on sermons and bulletins and Bible classes for the church. Life goes on.

But this does not lessen the fact that there is still a horrible situation going on with our neighbors, 30 miles down the road. In fact, all of Palestine, Israel and Lebanon are a part of our Diocese here in the Middle East. The cities you are seeing on CNN all have priests in churches that I have been to meetings with. They have congregations in their care who are in harm's way.
We have sent messages to Beirut and offered the use of our home for any who may be able to leave Lebanon. But I have not heard back from them. Most, I think, are being told to stay where they are, if they are in a safe area of Lebanon.

We do not think that the war will spread to Damascus, except the war of words.
We are hoping that Syria will help find a solution to the problem, rather than escalate it. That is the wish of most people here. There was a large demonstration in the streets yesterday, to show support for Hezbollah, but as with most demonstrations here ... all government workers, which is most people, are made to attend, being bused from their work place. It is hard to know the truth.

Nevertheless, these demonstrations do excite some people with an anti-American sentiment, and we usually try to stay inside the day of and away from any such events.
Yesterday, however, after most of the day inside our house ... I walked to the church, the bank and the grocery, just to not go stir crazy. I went out about 3 in the afternoon, when the temperature was over 100 and most people are inside.

We have also learned that we cannot watch the TV news all day without becoming consumed with worry and sympathy for what is happening, the poor people in the midst of it all. We watch just enough to know what is going on, and then get on with the other duties before us.
The people of Syria are just as concerned and upset with what is happening as people around the world. There are good people here, but people who look to America to help bring an end to the problems in the Middle East.

The solution is not at the end of a gun, or on the end of a rocket.
The solution is bringing people together to talk and to treat one another with dignity.

Gandhi said: When we live with "an eye for an eye,” the whole world will be blind.

We are trying to live a life of grace and forgiveness in this place, which does not come through power, but through the crucified One, the One who said from His cross: "Father forgive them."
We are where we are supposed to be, and we have to believe that our prayers and presence here are making a difference, at least in our own lives.

Bob

DON'T SHOOT FILIPINOS...

Philippines appeals for help for 30,000 citizens stuck in Lebanon
20 July 2006 1639 hrs
Source: Agence France Press

MANILA : The Philippine president has appealed for Israel and Hezbollah to avoid harming some 30,000 Filipinos stranded in Lebanon, and urged the international community to help evacuate her citizens. Facing criticism for failing to do enough to help Filipinos stuck in the war zone, many of whom are female domestic workers, Gloria Arroyo insisted her government was doing everything it could. "The Philippines makes a special appeal to all combatant forces to spare Filipino nationals who have no wish other than to be taken out of harm's way," she said in a statement. "In the name of humanity, I ask the combatants not to harm them," she said, while appealing for other countries to "help us in the evacuation process." Filipino officials have conceded that they are unable to evacuate thousands of people on their own, and the government has appealed to the United States, European countries and Gulf states to find space for Filipinos on planes and ships evacuating people from Beirut. So far around 200 Filipinos are holed up in a Roman Catholic Church in the Christian part of Beirut waiting to be bused across the border into Syria, but many others are being told to sit tight. Arroyo said Filipino diplomats were trying to "negotiate at the political level and on the ground wherever possible to ensure that our nationals are given safe passage, humanitarian assistance and safe sanctuary." The government also released just under three million US dollars to help the evacuation process and said it would try to help any of the 25,000 Filipinos in Israel who wanted to be taken out of the country. The Philippines is among the world's biggest exporters of manpower. An estimated seven to eight million Filipinos are scattered around the globe. The include many domestic workers as well as hospital staff in the United States and Europe, oil workers and drivers in Saudi Arabia, and security guards in Iraq. Many of these workers earn as little as 300 dollars per month and have few rights or access to help when problems erupt abroad. Collectively remittances by foreign-based workers sustain the Philippine economy. Last year alone they sent home a record 10.3 billion dollars. Philippine foreign ministry spokesman Gilbert Asuque defended the government's actions in the latest Middle East crisis. But he said not all of the estimated 30,000 Filipinos in Lebanon have expressed a desire to leave, and that a majority wanted to stay with their employers. "Ultimately, the decision is with the (worker). We gave them a choice that there is a repatriation program and buses and airplanes that could bring them home," Asuque said. However Connie Regalado of Migrante International, a support group for overseas workers, denied most Filipinos wanted to stay and said the government's reaction was being driven by money. "It is not true that many Filipinos do not want to go home from Lebanon as the foreign office wants to portray. We have talked to many of them and they said they have not received anything from the embassy," she said. "The first thing anyone will think in a situation like that is to save his own life. There is just neglect in the slowness by which the government responded," Regalado said as she led families of workers stuck in Lebanon in a protest outside the foreign ministry in Manila. Meanwhile Manila radio and television stations have heard emotional appeals from Filipinos stuck in the conflict zone. "I am very afraid. I have not slept since the bombings began," said domestic worker Virgie Valencia, adding that she and other Filipina maids were holed up in a Beirut condominium in fear of their lives. "I will not come back anymore," she said. "I did not wait for my employers, it might take them a long time to decide to evacuate."

RELIEF LEBANON


Support the Lebanese civilians through the International Committee for the Red Cross and the Red Crescent Lebanon Relief Fund.

http://www.relieflebanon.org/

Mon Pere Ce Hero

[Caline from the UAE sent me this message this morning, a little bit of humour in times of crisis, I'll translate the text in English today]

Hier Mercredi 19 Juillet, 2 perceuses ont ete detruites en plein Ashrafieh, localite soit disant calme depuis le debut des evenements. la cause de cette agression: les pilotes de Tsahal ont pris ces engins pour des camions tires-missiles. 1 peu plus loin, dans une autre rue paisible d' Achrafieh, une perceuse est garee dans 1 chantier en plein milieu d'immeubles residentiels.

Comme vs pouvez l'imaginer, tous les habitants ont panique et se sont dit "le sort en est jete, les avions ne vont pas tarder a bombarder." Le voisin du 4 eme ki s'est mis a appeler la police, celui d'en face s'est charge des pompiers quand au premier, il s'est contente de prier.
Vous pouvez visualiser la scene, branle bas de combat dans1 rue chic de la capitale Libanaise avec des habitants d'1 certain age effrayes de la presence d'une perrceuse dans le quartier.

N'ayant obtenu aucun resultat, mon pere habitant de ce meme quartier se chargea de faire la chasse a la perceuse. Prenant son courage a 2 mains, il appela le proprietaire du chantier et le somma de retirer cet engin de tous les dangers. Constatant que le proprietaire protestait c' est la que mon pere decida de proferer des menaces a l'encontre de la perceuse: "Monsieur, si vous ne degagez pas votre perceuse nous allons y mettre le feu car nous ne prendrons aucun risque de se faire bombarder"... ainsi, la perceuse fut finalement retiree et mon pere ce hero avait finalement rendu le calme et la serenite aux gens du quartier qui resistent encore et toujours a l'envahisseur.

"Mais ils sont fous ces Israeliens"...

Lebanese Bloggers

[Excerpt of "Lebanon Sold Out" as published on
http://lebanesebloggers.blogspot.com/]

This is what President Bush had to say yesterday: "In order to be able to deal with this crisis, the world must deal with Hezbollah, with Syria and to continue to work to isolate Iran."

Please tell me if you see the word Lebanon anywhere. It's not about Lebanon; it's about Israel, Hezbollah, Iran and Syria. But guess what country is being destroyed and who is being killed (over 300 dead now) and displaced (over half a million)? Lebanon and the Lebanese people.

I realized then that Lebanon has been sold out!



We, at leb.org, have always maintained an apolitical stand, remaining neutral in face of political events.

But today it's not about politics: Lebanon is being destroyed as we speak and we need to do something to stop the tragedy. We need to stand together and react!

Please have a look at our appeal for a cease-fire and join us in our effort to pressure the international community into stopping the bloodshed and destruction.
Print it out and send it to embassies, newspapers, TV stations, UN headquarters and missions.

Wherever you are, keep safe.
leb.org team
I was so excited to see that I received some comments this morning...thank you all...but I thought someone would have written something directed to the Lebanese or Lebanon or the conflict in general but not to me. To know that "the wesbite is great" or that "the colors are nice" makes me feel good but it is not really helping the purpose of the site. I hope we will get more creative comments today...

Just heard that 2,950 arrived on the American ship Orient Queen to Cyprus. So many more...I'm really afraid of those evacuations and what it might open the conflict to. I am happy for the ones that evacuated of course, especially those without relatives or a home in Lebanon. But I do hope the Lebanese who can stay (health and accomodation wise) will stand put and show the world that we're not leaving our country again...

Who am I to speak...I was never there except on vacation in 82 and 86 and then moved there after the war 'ended' in 1990. Today I wish I could go back....NOW!

Keep posting,

An American in Beirut

[THIS MESSAGE WAS SENT TO ME ON JULY 19TH, YOU CAN POST YOUR WORD OF SUPPORT ON THIS BLOG]

We heard through an aunt that the americans were evacuating. There
was no news report, there was no radio broadcast, no internet announcement, no phone calls, nothing. And down here in Beirut, every one tells you something different, when we arrived at the embassy, they told us our previous registration was valid and that we should wait for a phone call. When we got to the port however, where the n ships are (along with about 500 other people, all siting on the side of the highway with their baggage) they told us we had to register there, that no previous registration was valid, that no one will call you, that the only thing you can do is sit and wait. there were no more departures today, the next boat leaves tomorrow at 8am. register and wait. their estimated time just to complete registration was at least 4 or 5 hours; it's not at an embassy, with a gate and a couple soldiers and a waiting room and a portapotty; it's at a port, like where the highway ends in the sea: in Beirut where, without the effects of smog, the temeprature hits 97 and 100 percent humidity. people are lined up, sitting on their baggage waiting to talk to one of three people behind a desk with a paper and a pencil. there's no computer, there's no back room, there's no supervisor, there's three guys with paper and pen taking down names. the latest estimates of the number of americans in beirut was close to 20,000. Twenty thousand. and there are three guys behind a desk.

Where we are up in the mountains, we're safe. and comfortable. we're about 2 hours from Beirut, we have water, fairly consistent electricity, there's no internet and almost no tv, butit's cool and fresh and we're all together. so in an hour, we're going to go back up and wait till things calm down. we can last easy 2 or 3 weeks up without coming back down,a nd who knows, maybe before then we'll have arranged a way to go to syria or jordan by car. i don't know how else to assure you all that I am ok. i mean, effects of this experience, have yet to be seen-- but i'm about halfway through The Empty Space for the second time, and i have enough theatre theory to keep one busy for a very long time indeed. keep watching the news, question what you hear. to be honest, more than anything, i am just in total shock. to think that in the 21st century, in an age of internet and video ipods and i don't know what else, this kind of breach of an entire country and people's sovreignty is totally unfathomable. and condoleeza says what? bring it on. i tell you what, my cell phone here is on credit units, like you have to recharge it every 9 days or so cause the minutes don't last, but in a moment of weakness (or was it strength?), i called my senator. in any case, his assistant got an earful. i love you all, all all, forward my information to anyone, in my rush, i've missed including some very dear people. but more than that, talk about what's going on, demand better.

Talking to any of you would be like an evacuation in itself.
yours,
Rayya

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Demonstrations all Over the World

Thursday July 20, 2006

LEBANON / Beirut - a demonstration is intended on Thursday 20 July 2006 starting 11:00 a.m. from UN House in Riad El Solh to the EU commission in Saifi. - Demonstration will be confirmed in the coming day.
Germany, Stade - (3PM) Street: Am Sande
France, Paris - (18h à 21h) Place de Trocadéro : Rassemblement tous les jours.
France, Toulouse - (7h30 to 9:00 PM) Sit-in every day. Place du Capitole
Spain / Madrid - (7:30 PM) from Puerta del Sol to Plaza de Ópera (Isabel II).
Spain / Barcelona - (8:00 PM) Plaça Sant Jaume
Spain / Tarragona - (7:30 PM) Rambla Nova. Estatua dels Despullats
Spain / Lleida - (8:00 PM) Plaça Paeria
Doha, Qatar - (8: 30 PM) Location: Lebanese School

Friday July 21, 2006

Japan / Tokyo
- at the UN or the Israeli embassy (date is still not definite)
France, Paris - (18h à 21h) Place de Trocadéro : Rassemblement tous les jours.
France, Toulouse - (7h30 to 9:00 PM) Sit-in every day. Place du Capitole

Saturday July 22, 2006

Australia, Adelaide (12PM) at Parliment house in Adeliade, and may lead to a march thru to Victoria Square.
Hong Kong - (11:00 AM) in central station Hong Kong
UK, London (12PM) March from Parliment square to Marble Arch
France, Dijon (13h30) Place Darcy
France, Paris - (18h à 21h) Place de Trocadéro : Rassemblement tous les jours.
France, Toulouse - (7h30 to 9:00 PM) Sit-in every day. Place du Capitole
Germany, Munich - (3:30 PM) Kalsplatz
Germany, Hanover - Kröpcke Strass
Germany, Frankfurt - (2 PM) - Homburger Landstrasse/Ecke Friedberger Warte (contact: Tel.: 0172 519 84 13 , 0152 051 251 25, 0162 932 83 04 )
Netherlands, Amsterdam - At the Beursplein
Israel, Tel-Aviv at 18:30 in Rabin Square
Canada, Ottawa - (11AM) in front of the parleament in ottawa and we will march to the canadian prime minister office

Sunday July 23, 2006

Austria, Vienna (4 PM) @ Stephansplatz
France, Paris - (18h à 21h) Place de Trocadéro : Rassemblement tous les jours.
France, Toulouse - (7h30 tp9:00 PM) Sit-in every day. Place du Capitole

Sources: Moghtarebee Lubnan, tayyar.org, emails
On another Lebanese blog (Kerblog) I found this message from Aaron in the US "The only connection I have with you is that my taxes are paying for the bombs Israel is droping on you. Please keep writing, drawing, and thinking. Otherwise, it's only bombs. "

OTHERWISE IT'S ONLY BOMBS...

Displaced Overnight

My parents just sent me a message, they're not leaving anymore...for the moment. They want to leave as regular people not evacuees...others need it more, those without a home, separated family members, children...

Yes but MY parents...

Apparently, displaced families from the South are taking empty apartments anywhere they can find them in the city and in the mountains to live in them.

This is what Lebanon has become (re-)...overnight...July 12th, 2006.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

TO ALL LEBANESE-LONDONERS

"Stop the war on Lebanon" demonstration on Sunday 23rd July st. Margaret street, parliament square, 12pm, Lebanese flags only. Please come & fwd to others.

WEEK ONE

Premiere semaine de bombes...

Les diplomates ont debarques...les bateaux sont arrives...

Malheureusement, evacuations = intensification du conflit

Je regarde les gens partir
les larmes aux yeux et les enfants a la main
ces etrangers Libanais qui fuient sans penser au lendemain,
vers leur pays d'acceuil, cadeau du premier conflit Beyroutin.

Je regarde ceux qui restent sur le quai,
ceux qui n'ont nullepart ou aller,
ceux qui ne veulent pas bouger,
et rentreront vers la fumee.

et moi je suis la dans le luxe de mon appartement Londonien,
je regarde les evenements de loin
les larmes aux yeux et la telecommande a la main...

Today smoke is everywhere...let the world know!

Stuck in the Middle





From an artist who's living the conflict from Beirut, fighting with his own means against 'Hizbosrael.'


PLEASE VISIT:
http://mazenkerblog.blogspot.com/

Monday, July 17, 2006

Nights of dancing in the city


While we were all clubbing in Beirut...the storm was already preparing itself. We would have never imagined it this strong and angry.
While we were dancing, the city was merely aware of what was about to happen to her a month later, in just one night, July 12th 2006.

June 9th 2006...when we were getting married...it was a dream come true...all our loved ones together in our beloved home country.
While we were laughing and drinking, the future of Lebanon was hanging to a thinny tiny thread ontop of a valley of blades, a valley of rockets ready to be sent off over the border.
Lebanon was waiting to be kidnapped, to be raped, to be dilapidated, once again...while we were looking away and dancing...

ROMPRE LE SILENCE


Dans un cri de haine
j'ecris en silence
avec l'espoir qui s'efface
le coeur qui se froisse
et les oreilles qui se fachent.


Dans un bruit crissant
je reprendrai mes armes
devant cet ecriteau blanc
pour ce pays signe de sang
et ses hommes impuissants.

Londres, 17 juillet 2006
Après 5 jours de feu et de sang au Liban…

Photo courtesy of Enno De Boer (Germany)