Tuesday, July 18, 2006

From the Time Out Editor in Chief

WE ARE DYING here. The nation is in ruins. Bombs are dropping over my head as i write this. I don't know when they might fall on me. I keep ducking. I woke up this morning to a bomb. It was directed at Beirut Port immediately next to where I live. It hit some trucks and killed two civilians. where was hezbollah?
Immediately I was doing a live phone in with Sky News as a long time journalist in Beirut. My image was on the tv screens at home in the UK next to flames everywhere. The Beirut we know is gone. The years we have worked are over. It is already like a dream. We are in a new era. The region is in a new era. A dark era.
I thank you all once again for your wishes but the one thing I don't really hear from any of you is unequivocal condemnation of Israel's murderous, barbaric and cowardly assault on this country - one of the only countries in the arab world that is actually a democracy albeit one based on religion. Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia , the Emirates are all autocracies or dictatorships. Where is the international support that was so present last year during the Cedar Revolution.
Once again it is all a lie. A game for America's and Israel's plan to control the Middle East and its oil with absolutely no regard for human life, or human rights.
Over 200 people are dead. All of them civilians or Lebanese army. None of them Hezbollah. ISrael's attacks will never beat Hezbollah. They will fight to the last man becasue as they see it they are fighting a war of resistance to occupation, much like the Palestinians. And if you call these people terrorists what is Israel? Terrorising a whole nation of people who have nothing to do with Hezbollah.
How can moral Israelis sit there and let the name of their nation which once stood for so much be dragged into the darkest of hells. This attack will not be a solution. it will not destroy hezbollah. and it will only worsen the situation for normal, Israelis because all it is doing is creating more and more hatred towards their nation. Where is the dream? Peace is not brought about by war. It never has been. See Iraq.
Find a way to neutralise HEzbollah but not this way. There can only be a diplomatic solution.
I urge all of you to stop this madness before it is far, far too late. And to remember that Arabs are not illiterate scum as the Western media so often portrays. Extremists are extremists but there is a deep, rich culture in this part of the world made up of Arabs (who are not just Muslims) and who beleive in all religions. It is this that we were partly documenting with TIme Out Beirut.

I am writing as human being not as a journalist here. Forgive me if I am strained. But people must hear the voices from here. And I am so deeply sad that this Time Out Beirut dream that we were forging with such conviction, a personal dream for me to be part of Time Out international, is over so tragically and so murderously.

I leave you with this story - My TOB photographer Roody real name Nadim Khalil is kid who grew up most of his life in the US. He is a Shiite Lebanese from the South. He doesn't have much to his name but is a damn good photgrapher. He now sees his one time home in the SOuthern Suburbs of Beirut demolished under Israeli bombs (manufactured in America), his brother is staying in his small studio apartment wounded from the attack, and his parents are stuck in the SOuth of LEbanon and can't escape because all the roads have been destroyed. A week ago he was taking pictures of rock bands and nightclubs. Now he is photographing the ruins of his home, desperately trying to get his parents out of no mans land and putting his life at risk to get pics for newspapers valued at a mere $50 bucks a pop.

With the best and sincerest regards for all.



Blogger Madeira said...

This is Leo from Brazil.
Reading you and praying for it to be over soon.

2:59 AM  
Blogger Elissar said...

Ramsey - this is Elissar from Australia. I have been extremely moved by your writing and the picture you've painted of Beirut. I was there 15 years ago and had my flight booked to return in a month's time. Each year, I had to keep putting the trip off due to work and life commitments. I held such optimism for my mother's homeland - the people, the culture and their spirit.

We Lebanese Australians and many others feel very angry and saddened by what's happening. What is most difficult to deal with, as we hear only bad news from family and friends over there, is the feeling of complete helplessness.

Today, I asked one of my best friends, who has his parents and 10 brothers and sisters in Gaza and just heard that a relative had been killed on the border - "how do you cope?" He responded by saying, "I just have to get on with my life, work hard so I can be a good role model for my children and other Palestinians".

Ramsey, I know about the ‘hayet’ of Lebanon, for many years I've longed for it, and would kill to experience it one more time. For now, all we can do is continue to stand together, united as Lebanese and speak out against this illegal invasion and horrific war crime.

12:14 PM  
Blogger a journalist writes said...

Ramsay, I'm a New York journalist writing a piece (on imminent deadline) about the glories of pre-last-week Lebanon and Beirut (which I visited last summer). I would love to interview you, if you aren't harried, if you are save, if we can even get a line through. I don't have your real email address, so I can't send you a note privately. If you email me at my pseudonymous hotmail account, which is larkejones at hotmail, i'll give you my real details. I love the fact that you wrote a Hedonist's Guide to Lebanon. And how I hate what is happening now. -L

7:34 AM  
Blogger RS said...

Much love Elissar. We will continue to fight for freedom in the face of Israeli brutality and impunity against responsibility for their actions.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Anne-Marié said...

Hi. My name is Anne. I know Roody from the US. I had contact with him via his Face Book profile but he just disappeared from the radar. Please let me know how I can get in touch with him again?

2:27 PM  

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