Monday, July 31, 2006

Beirut protest at Qana attack

For those of you who want to know what happened on Sunday at the protest against Israel's attack of Qana, below is the piece I filed for the DT. What can safely be said is that despite much disagreement with Hizbullah in some quarters of the Lebanese population, the Qana affair has only helped sway people towards more sympathy with Hizbullah (as I said yesterday).
I must say I have never seen so many everyday Lebanese people as angry as they were Sunday, and so many moderates feeling that any ideas they had are undermined by seemingly mad moves by Israel that do no cause for peace any good. Whether Hizbullah fired a rocket from nearby - we await investigations from both sides - the point surely is that any radar system on well-equipped planes could (and must) detect almost 60 people in a building, and surely would choose not to hit them. If they hit them anyway, if it doesn't matter who dies as long as Hizbullah are hit in some way, if it doesn't matter how many civilians die, then clearly Israel doesn't seem to value any human life is the logic running round Beirut. That is the opinion on the streets, and that is the opinion that will need to be won over if there is going to be understanding. I hope that understanding can come.

Thousands vent anger with attack on UN offices
From Ramsay Short in Beirut

(Filed: 31/07/2006)

Several thousand angry protesters smashed the windows and ransacked the offices of the headquarters of the United Nations in Beirut yesterday, venting their rage at Israel, the UN and United States after the Qana attack.

What began as a mild protest by about a hundred or so protesters turned violent as hundreds more people, many waving Hizbollah flags and chanting "Death to America! Death to Israel!", flooded into the city's Riad Al Sohl Square.

Lebanese protesters break into the United Nations headquarters in Beirut, after the Qana attack
"Down with the UN who allow this Israeli murder," shouted one man.

"This is Israeli murder. Plain and simple. They are killing us the Lebanese people, taking our lives and homes. We will all fight them," said Kamal Wazzine, whose family is from Qana. He was wearing a yellow Hizbollah bandana.

The marauding few downed their sticks and bats only when two Hizbollah members of parliament, using loud speakers, urged the demonstrators to stop. "I know you are angry, but I appeal to you to go home. This is not in our interest politically," parliament speaker Nabih Berri said on local television.

Shortly afterwards, dozens of Lebanese soldiers arrived at the scene and cordoned off the building.

A UN statement said there were more than 80 Lebanese and foreign staff members in the building. The demonstrators smashed offices and equipment on two floors. A fire was contained shortly after it started, it said. No UN staff were injured.

There was not one shred of blame or anger against Hizbollah, which through this one Israeli attack has gained enormous popular support.

Speaking with a microphone, the popular Lebanese singer, Julia Butros, a Christian from the South, famous for her anti-Israeli patriotic songs during the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, caught the public mood, blaming Arab leaders and Israel.

"Thank you Arab rulers for your silence on these Israeli attacks which makes you accomplices in the murder of Lebanese people," she said as the crowd jeered. "Thank you Israeli children for sending your presents to the children of Qana, who unfortunately couldn't open them because they were asleep."

In the crowd, which included many women and children, Salma Salam, who described herself as a moderate Shia, said: "The Israelis have done it again, committed a blatant murderous attack on Lebanese children at Qana, again. Ten years on."

She referred to the Israeli bombing of a UN base in Qana in 1996 that killed more than 100 people sheltering there.

There remained lots of support for Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbollah's leader who has been hiding out in an impregnable bunker in Lebanon, as demonstrators repeatedly chanted his name.

"I will support Nasrallah now. He is the only one who can fight the Americans and Israelis," said Salam.

Hizbollah vowed to punish Israel. "This horrible massacre, like the others, will not remain unpunished," the group said in a statement.


Anonymous Tears and Sadness said...

No comment. Just tears for the self destructive people of Lebanon.

6:32 PM  
Blogger Trygve said...

Even though, in retrospect, it comes as no suprise, with the mayhem we have sown in Iraq, I am still shocked, continually--at the ferocity of the assault, at the world's indifference, at the idiocy of the Israelis, at the smug told-you-so attitude of the american administration.....I feel like the world has finally and truly gone completely mad. It's amazing that the Israelis, of all people, don't understand that one cannot stop violence with violence.
Your blog is excellent.
I must apologize for the conduct of my country in not only regarding with indifference, but actually encouraging the continuing assault on Lebanon. Not all Americans think like this--especially here in New York City there are many people who regard this fiasco with incredulity and horror.
I am ashamed of the human race.

6:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:52 PM  
Blogger FreeCyprus said...

God this must end. In the name of God, peace, not war. In the name of God, love, not hate.

-- FreeCyprus

7:06 PM  
Anonymous i care said...

Once again, I am sick and parlyzed. I want to turn off the news, yet this puts me with all the Americans who go on with their lives then support Isreals "war on terror". I will allow myself to feel sick ~ I want to remain human with feelings. I keep praying for God's light to immerse the middle east. How do we go on day to day while our tax dollars support this, while bombs are in route to Israel, while Isreal bombs Lebanese army - oops another regretful mistake. My God ~ this is insane. Then Bint Jubeil, the old people. God grant them dignity. Americans with a heart, we must channel our energy into something good. We cannot let the Elderly and children die in humiliation. What can we do? I have tried to find a peace demonstration. I am just sad.

9:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Olmert vows to continue. It is clear that Israel does not care about anyone but themselves. It says it will halt airstrikes for 48 hours. Then continues airstrikes. No one has any faith in Israeli promises. Israeli lies. I wish you could see the devastation at Bint Jbeil, and the village of Srifa. And the dead under rubble who cannot be reached. The old people today who were trying to leave the villages. 60, 70, 80 year olds left because they cannot walk. There is no defense for continued Israeli agression. As Olmert has said today Israel has its military goals and will continue whatever, whoever stands in its way, dead children, destroyed villages. Despite international pressure. Despite what anyone says. With Qana, with such painful examples, Israel has no credible face to show for negotiations. On and on and Lebanon burns.

9:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lebanon burns because the terrorist group called Hezbollah, which decided to gamble the fate of Lebanon and decided it is they not the government who makes decisions, will not stop it. They only have to disarm and it will end at once as fast as it started, it is Hezbollah who keeps it going.

In the end, if Hezbollah stays, I see no point in rebuilding Lebanon because the same fate will come again. Hezbollah wanted war, and they got it...they launch rockets without aim, so don't tell me they care if children get hit....they cheer when people die...such heros.

10:49 PM  
Anonymous sane lebanese said...

We have better ways to vent than break windows like crazy monkeys

11:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The time elapsed between the Kanaa incident and the attack on the UN building was only 4 hours. Such events do not occur in such a short timeframe spontaneously.

If it was a spontaneous event, mobs would have attacked other buildings as well. Only the UN building was attacked.

Who organized the attack on the UN building? How did the media know to be there to record the incident?

12:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The time elapsed between the Kanaa incident and the attack on the UN building was only 4 hours. Such events do not occur in such a short timeframe spontaneously.

If it was a spontaneous event, mobs would have attacked other buildings as well. Only the UN building was attacked.

Who organized the attack on the UN building? How did the media know to be there to record the incident?

12:08 AM  
Blogger quantum said...

Interesting way to "vent anger" -- how come attacking and ransacking embassies seems to come naturally to Islamic and Arab cultures? I never see the Israelis "ransack" Arab or UN embassies even after terrible terror attacks.

12:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

UN embassies were only organizing and providing aid to those in trouble...nothing to do with anything makes no sense, but I bet they danced around like they had another victory. I keep thinking of Iran banning foreign words, and I keep wondering if people are so mind controlled over there they don't even realize what's going on....

12:46 AM  
Anonymous Nicole said...

ok Ramsay and Tarek and HB and team - please could you also post the following link to promote discussion, Merci.

look at what Lebanease people think of Hizbullah. we are no all supporting these bastards. we hate them too!!

1:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The attack on Qana may have made an impression on popular perception, but it appears to have had the opposite effect on diplomacy and heads of state. I watched part of the UN proceedings on C-SPAN .

The Israelis were able to produce films showing Hezbollah missiles being launched next to the building in question and also evidence that significant time may have elapsed from the bombing of the building to its collapse.

This is why the UNSC "passed a statement expressing "extreme shock and distress," but not condemnation of Israel's bombing of Kana" (AP) and why "the debate over the establishment of a multi-national force to quell the violence in Lebanon was postponed by the UN on Monday until an unspecified later date." The UN will not convene on the matter "until the political picture in the region becomes clear," said a UN official.

CNN also admitted separate to the UN proceeding they had aired a film production where Hizbollah had tightly controlled their filming of Beirut damage and staged an bombing victim evacuation sequence for them. Plus reports from AP and Reuters noting that civilians were being stopped by Hizbollah from leaving the region of conflict.

2:07 AM  
Anonymous veins said...

sickening ...

2:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I write this Comment in German because my english is not good enough to express my Feelings...

Beide Seiten sind in meinen Augen verachtenswert! Mit jeder Rakete die abgefeuert wird nehmen beide Seiten unzählige zivile Opfer bei Einschlag in Kauf. Die libanesische Seite ist dabei in meinen Augen noch mehrere Stufen schlimmer soweit man das Verhalten überhaupt noch irgendwie benennen kann. Jede Rakete die vom Südlibanon abgefeuert wird ist auf bewohnte Gebiete gezielt! Nur das da nicht nur viele zivile Opfer in Kauf genommen werden sondern definitv gewünscht sind.

Ich hab vor ein paar Jahren schon gesagt das der 3. Weltkrieg im nahen Osten beginnt und niemand auf unserer Welt wird davon verschont. Sobald Menschen wie der derzeitige iranische Präsident, Nasrallah u.s.w. mal über Atombomben verfügen werden sie diese auch einsetzen, soviel ist sicher..

Ich hoffe nur das jemand dann noch dafür sorgt das aus diesem Gebiet niemals wieder in Äonen eine solche Gefahr entstehen kann!
...damit die wenigen die den nuclearen Holocaust überstehen eine Chance bekommen.

Die wenigsten Menschen im Westen werden mir zustimmen, für sie ist das alles unendlich weit weg. Deshalb wird nichts und niemand den unfassbaren Fortlauf der Geschichte verhindern können :(

2:53 AM  
Blogger american said...

Words are not strong enough to express my disgust at these horrific actions by the government of Israel and supported by the supplies of weaponary by a government which purposts to represent me and my interest. I cannot understand why in America there is not more outrage expressed at this unholy violence. What i feel cannot compare to the terror being felt by those living through this.

3:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hizbolla is the cause of all of this. No country should accept constant missile attacks and an incursion of terrorists to kill three and kidnap two Israeli soldiers. If the UN had any backbone, or the rest of the world the demilitarized zone between Lebanon and Israel would have remained just that. We here in America believe the Arab Terrorists hide in their religious beliefs and fight because they are too lazy like the remainder of the civilized world to create a functioning society. Start caring about your children more and quit blaming the US and Israel for all of your problems. People of Lebanon kick the evil influence of Hezbollah/Iran out of your country. Israel wants peace but you have to help.

3:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reuters reports that Hizbollah organized that attacked on the UN building.

The resultant damage forced the WFP to regroup in an hotel suite. This set back made it more difficult to organize aid to the civilians in the South.

3:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Such outrage over Qana--the UN building destroyed as a result. How sad for the civilians in the South needing assistance.

Why was the Red Cross called 7 hours after the bombing of the Qana building?

Why is the photographed handler of the dead children in 2006 the same man as in the 1996 bombings? He has a handsome expressive face.

Why is it---if all the children were pulled from the same cavity (into which the IRC was not allowed to examine)--that one child is completed covered in dust and another very clean? Why is it that one child appears to be loaded into the same ambulance twice by two different men?

4:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, even more thoughts about Qana. Why are rescue workers digging through the rubble so clean? Why do some bodies show rigor mortis and others do not--and some appear to be decaying-- if all died about the same time?

4:52 AM  
Anonymous Chavezian said...

To those who says that it was US administration who support Israel, I can only say that US President and Congressmen were elected by American people. So next time you American elect your President and congresman, vote for a smart guy that refused to be slave of zionist. Otherwise you are accountable for anything done by your elected leaders. To say terrorist kills innocent people is too much simplification. You are not innocent for whatever your elected leaders do.

8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Dead are my people, gone are my people, but I exist yet, lamenting them in my solitude. Dead are my friends, and in their death my life is naught but great disaster. The knolls of my country are submerged by tears and blood, for my people and my beloved are gone, and I am here living as I did when my people and my beloved were enjoying life and the bounty of life, and when the hills of my country were blessed and engulfed by the light of the sun.

My people died from hunger, and he who did not perish from starvation was butchered with the sword; and I am here in this distant land, roaming amongst a joyful people who sleep upon soft beds, and smile at the days while the days smile upon them.

My people died a painful and shameful death, and here am I living in plenty and in peace. This is deep tragedy ever enacted upon the stage of my heart; few would care to witness this drama, for my people are as birds with broken wings, left behind the flock.

If I were hungry and living amid my famished people, and persecuted among my oppressed countrymen, the burden of the black days would be lighter upon my restless dreams, and the obscurity of the night would be less dark before my hollow eyes and my crying heart and my wounded soul. For he who shares with his people their sorrow and agony will feel a supreme comfort created only by suffering in sacrifice. And he will be at peace with himself when he dies innocent with his fellow innocents.

But I am not living with my hungry and persecuted people who are walking in the procession of death toward martyrdom. I am here beyond the broad seas living in the shadow of tranquillity, and in the sunshine of peace. I am afar from the pitiful arena and the distressed, and cannot be proud of ought, not even of my own tears.

What can an exiled son do for his starving people, and of what value unto them is the lamentation of an absent poet?

Were I an ear of corn grown in the earth of my country, the hungry child would pluck me and remove with my kernels the hand of Death form his soul. Were I a ripe fruit in the gardens of my country, the starving women would gather me and sustain life. Were I a bird flying the sky of my country, my hungry brother would hunt me and remove with the flesh of my body the shadow of the grave from his body. But, alas! I am not an ear of corn grown in the plains of Syria, nor a ripe fruit in the valleys of Lebanon; this is my disaster, and this is my mute calamity which brings humiliation before my soul and before the phantoms of the night. This is the painful tragedy which tightens my tongue and pinions my arms and arrests me usurped of power and of will and of action. This is the curse burned upon my forehead before God and man.

And oftentimes they say unto me, the disaster of your country is but naught to calamity of the world, and the tears and blood shed by your people are as nothing to the rivers of blood and tears pouring each day and night in the valleys and plains of the earth."

Yes, but the death of my people is a silent accusation; it is a crime conceived by the heads of the unseen serpents. it is a sceneless tragedy. And if my people had attacked the despots and oppressors and died rebels, I would have said, "Dying for freedom is nobler than living in the shadow of weak submission, for he who embraces death with the sword of Truth in his hand will eternalize with the Eternity of Truth, for Life is weaker than Death and Death is weaker than Truth.

If my nation had partaken in the war of all nations and had died in the field of battle, I would say that the raging tempest had broken with its might the green branches; and strong death under the canopy of the tempest is nobler than slow perishment in the arms of senility. But there was no rescue from the closing jaws. My people dropped and wept with the crying angels.

If an earthquake had torn my country asunder and the earth had engulfed my people into its bosom, I would have said, "A great and mysterious law has been moved by the will of divine force, and it would be pure madness if we frail mortals endeavoured to probe its deep secrets." But my people did not die as rebels; they were not killed in the field of battle; nor did the earthquake shatter my country and subdue them. Death was their only rescuer, and starvation their only spoils.

My people died on the cross. They died while their hands stretched toward the East and West, while the remnants of their eyes stared at the blackness of the firmament. They died silently, for humanity had closed its ears to their cry. They died because they did not befriend their enemy. They died because they loved their neighbours. They died because they placed trust in all humanity. They died because they did not oppress the oppressors. They died because they were the crushed flowers, and not the crushing feet. They died because they were peace makers. They perished from hunger in a land rich with milk and honey. They died because monsters of hell arose and destroyed all that their fields grew, and devoured the last provisions in their bins. 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.

My people and your people, my Syrian Brothers, are dead. What can be done for those who are dying? Our lamentations will not satisfy their hunger, and our tears will not quench their thirst; what can we do to save them between the iron paws of hunger? My brother, the kindness which compels you to give a part of your life to any human who is in the shadow of losing his life is the only virtue which makes you worthy of the light of day and the peace of the night. Remember, my brother, that the coin which you drop into the withered hand stretching toward you is the only golden chain that binds your rich heart to the loving heart of God."

- Gibran Khalil Gibran

9:22 AM  
Anonymous Nicole said...

If you can speak and read French: Please go to the link below for another Lebanese!!! perspective.

Ramsay Tarek and team refuse to post this as they are afraid to promote discussion, they prefer to promote their own personal agenda and as a Lebanese I hate this one sided story.

Use the following Link:

Thanks, Merci

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nicole you sad child.
The writers of BeirutLive clearly are just saying what they see on the ground. This is not propaganda. Other perspectives are there to be read. You have posted your link and people will go to it and read it.
Israel is destroying Lebanon with its policy of disproportionate response - you kill one soldier we kill ten of you. This is the destruction of a nation and Israel is trying to sell the world it's apocalypse vision of the world - Israel represents Western freedom, the forefront of the battle against evil Arabs of the world. That is the propaganda that the world is buying. Not hundreds and hundreds of dead children. See the truth.

2:42 PM  
Anonymous Shyma said...

Love your blog. I do have a couple of questions...#1 Hizbullah...allegedlly build schools, clinics etc.for the shia population is South Lebanon which is wonderful, So why would they not bus their people out of harms save them from the Israeli bombs???? I'm sure they could have easily financed some buses or trucks to actually take people out in the very early stages of the war... Also, I read that taxi drivers were quadrupling the fares out of areas like Tyre so many people could not leave ...what is wrong with that!!!! How could one Lebonese do that to another??? And you talk about the cruel Israeli's?????

8:24 PM  
Anonymous William said...

If hate is what you allow in your midst, hate you will reap. Lebanon is reaping what it has sewn.

Learn to accept Israel and banish those who will not!

Failer to do so will bring you only death and destruction. There can be no other way.

We in the USA will not allow Islamic Nazi`s to kill all the Jews. Plain and simple. They can hide in churches and they can hide with women and children, but they will still die and it is THEM who are responsable for the death of innicent people.

War is ugly - those who teach hate and war can only get death and destruction.

11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When will Israel learn to accept Palestine and Palestinians and not treat them as lesser beings and operate a policy of murdering civilians. The Arab world will accept Israel when Israel accepts the Palestinians as equals and allows for a viable Palestinian state not separated byan apartheid wall, Israeli settlements splitting the Gallilee, and the creation of Gaza as a prison. Wake up!

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are a lot of things here that I know little about, thus I thank you for this blog site.

To chavezian, I say! USA is a big place there is everything here no president can do what all the people want, he would have to do everything. To have an idea that all Americans are responsible for any government decision is very wrong.

The concept is that all will live without damaging others.
It is not perfict we have as many problems as there are in life. To attack another is a crime. A crime hizbollah commited. Is the price fair is your question. Has it ever been fair, I think not.

Do you think you are responsible for hizbollah firing rockets into israel,they are part of your government, if so go to Israel and turn yourself in. How many rockets over 500?? Aimed at what?? WHY??

To blame the USA is wrong most Americans are on the side of world peace. Our president is asking Israel to go eazy on Lebanon. The world wants peace. Not name calling rock throwing angry missle shooting wild men.

So please don't blame us for your situation, instead let us find a solution together.

Thank You,

10:19 PM  
Anonymous 7dot said...

it's only 28 victims - not 60 - as claimed by the hezbollah.

it doesn't change anything about the situation but shows that you can't find truth on both sides.

Welcome to the propaganda world on both sides!

12:40 PM  

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