Monday, July 31, 2006

From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli

Well here I am 2 weeks after my trip to Mexico (the halls of Montezuma) planning the logistics for my trip from Syria into Lebanon (the shores of Tripoli!). I've been in Syria about 24 hours and its been interesting. While the place seems calm, all the taxis have posters showing the leader of Syria posing next to the leader of Hezbollah. So much for not supporting Hezbollah. I had an interesting discussion with my co-worker (a Palestinian Lebanese) about Hezbollah. She claims that Hezbollah is not a terrorist organization, that it does not encourage suicide bombing, and that it is fighting an oppressive Israeli government. It's hard for me, an outsider, to support Hezbollah since I know them mostly as the group who kidnapped Americans and Westerners, including the Special Envoy from the Archbishop of Canterbury (!!). They also initiated the conflict by kidnapping two Israeli soldiers (legitimate military targets, says my human rights collleague while not supporting their action).

Today, I watched tv as they covered the Israeli targeted bombing of Qana where almost 30 children died and 60 died overall. This after the bombing and killing of four unarmed UN military observors who had called several times to insure they wouldnt' be targeted. I've been trying to educate myself about the situation - Today I read Al-Jazeera (anti Israel, obviously), the Jerusalem Post (pro-Israel, obviously) and the NY Times and Washington Post (in general, biased towards Israel but starting to change, it seems). It was shocking in the Post and NYTimes to read the apologists for Israel. It was appalling to read the people in the Jerusalem Post claiming the women and children of South Lebanon brought it on themselves. I am finding myself unable to be unbiased.

However, why the attacks on the UN compounds? Why loot the UN which is primarily a humanitarian organization that is fundamentally weak and unable to solve the problems of the world? Why turn your own anger to innocents who have come to Lebanon and Gaza to help?

While I do think that Hezbollah is probably using civilian positions in some places to cover itself, is the sensless bombing of civilian populations the way to disarm them? By killing 600 civilians? How can we, as people who love life and are opposed to war, possibly support this? Hezbollah is not representative of everyone in Lebanon. The government of Israel, however, is a Western country that supposedly respects human rights. They have rule of law. They claim on CNN that they are appalled and deeply sorrowful about the deaths of the children. Yet they say also that they need 10 more days to 'finish up the job'. They must stop the bombing now. They must! There is simply no other solution to saving Lebanese lives - and when it comes to that - saving Israeli lives as well. No more hiding behind technology and apologizing after killing children. Come out from behind the US technology and end this slaughter.

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