My siege notes are beginning to disperse. I write disjointed paragraphs but I cannot discipline myself to write everyday. Despair overwhelms me, along with a profoundly debilitating sense of uselessness and helplessness. Writing does not always help; communicating is not always easy, finding the words, deciding which stories should be included, and which should not. The experience of this siege is so emotionally and psychically draining, the situation is so politically tenuous. I miss the world. I miss life. I miss myself. People around me also go through these ups and downs, but I find them generally to be more resilient, more steadfast, more courageous than I. Read more about 1,500 souls in Bint Jbeil, Nasrallah, and the "New Middle East"
The United Nations has secured agreements with Israel to ship desperately-needed aid into Beirut, the UN’s Emergency Relief Co-ordinator Jan Egeland said on Wednesday. Speaking at a press conference in Jerusalem, Egeland said the UN was also negotiating humanitarian sea corridors to bring aid to southern Lebanese cities such as Tyre, Sidon and Tripoli. “We have agreement for a naval corridor for assistance to Beirut. In principle, we also have an agreement to establish sea routes on a regular basis into Tyre, Sidon and Tripoli.” However, the agreements appear to be limited. “I don’t know when Israel will lift the blockade on Lebanon,” Egeland said. Read more about Some agreements on aid into Lebanon
Deploring the “horrendous and dangerous” situation in Lebanon, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today proposed a three-part strategy involving an immediate cessation of hostilities and wide-ranging political and economic commitments to solve a crisis that has killed hundreds of people and forced around 800,000 others to flee their homes. “A cessation of hostilities, a political framework, the deployment of an international force, and agreement on a reconstruction programme would give us the beginnings of a way out of this crisis,” he told delegates at a high-level conference in Rome called to discuss the worsening situation. Read more about Annan recommends three-pronged solution to the 'horrendous' situation in Lebanon
The United Nations Staff Council’s Standing Committee on the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service said today that the increased attacks directed against United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) personnel, which led to the death of four United Nations military observers yesterday, are unacceptable. The Committee strongly protests these actions and their tragic consequences. The Committee calls on the Secretary-General to suspend UNIFIL operations and pull back its personnel from hazardous positions, until such time as the security situation improves andl to launch an immediate and full investigation of the incident. Read more about United Nations Staff Council protests attacks on Lebanon mission, calls for full investigation of events
Following yesterday’s killings of three United Nations peacekeepers - and possibly a fourth - during an air attack in south Lebanon, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today accepted Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s expression of “deep sorrow” and suggested a joint investigation into the incident. Speaking to journalists in Rome, where he is meeting with world leaders on the crisis, Mr. Annan said that Mr. Olmert believes that the bombing was a mistake. The Secretary-General emphasized that in his own statement he had used the word “apparent” in relation to whether Israeli forces deliberately targeted the attack on the Khiyam base of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Read more about Secretary-General proposes joint UN-Israeli inquiry into Lebanon peacekeeper deaths
I was in Ramallah over the past two days, visiting friends and documenting a fierce demonstration yesterday morning in the city center as Condoleezza Rice paid a truncated and pathetic quasi-visit to PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Palestinian and international journalists from all over the West Bank crossed humilating checkpoints, braved thick traffic and fought over press credentials only to find out, one hour before the scheduled press conference, that the important question and answer period was canceled by the US handlers. It was just handshakes and rhetoric for the PA president, then off to some other part of this tumultuous region to lie some more. Read more about On those "birth pangs"
The Israeli attack on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, which began on June 27, has provoked worldwide condemnation. Protest rallies and mass mobilizations were organized in Greece within hours of the attack. The protests were expected to continue until such time as the Israeli government ceases its bombing attacks on Gaza’s population and civilian infrastructure. In Greece, political parties, alongside trade unions, peace groups, women’s organizations and other movements, swung into action from the very first moment of the attack. Rallies were organized in Greece’s three largest cities — Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras — demanding the immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces. The demonstrators condemned not only the Israeli government, but al Read more about Photostory: Greece swings into action against Israel's assault on Gaza and Lebanon
Seven-year-old Liyan opens her eyes in the middle of the night and calls for her mum who is sitting with the adults in the family on the sidewalk. She says, “Send my greetings to my brothers and sisters if any harm happens to me,” then she closes her eyes and falls asleep. Twenty-two children and six of their parents fled from Deir Amess in Tyre the day before yesterday under Israel’s heavy shelling and bombs and slept on the streets of Hazmieh (a northern suburb of Beirut) after roaming the streets for one whole day. Read more about Deir Amess To Beirut: 22 kids spend their night on the street
The Israeli Embassy in Dublin was confronted on Tuesday with the death and destruction that it has wrought in Gaza and Lebanon in recent weeks. During its all-day vigil at the Israeli embassy, the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) held a symbolic “die-in”, in which Irish, Lebanese and Palestinian volunteers donned “blood”-stained clothes and lay down on the street in front of the embassy. All Irish local and national media were present and gave the protest prominent coverage across the day and in Wednesday’s newspapers. The demonstration was a prelude to a major march taking place in Dublin this coming Saturday 29th. Read more about Dublin "Die-in" in support of Lebanon and Palestine
She was almost my age, my mother, back in the summer of 1982, that summer which holds my best-conserved memories. I look at myself in the mirror and I almost see her face staring back at me. The fine wrinkles on the forehead, a few grey hairs, and the new habit I am acquiring of pulling my hair up. How does one describe the changes in one’s features? Like looking at old pictures and knowing you don’t look as young anymore, though you also know you haven’t changed. Maybe more than anything, it is the eyes that betray us; - tired eyes through Kohol, our traditional black eyeliner, announcing to you and to the world that you are at war. Read more about Needing a miracle to hold my beliefs accountable