Fear and loathing in Beirut

I live in a neighborhood that is largely supportive of the 14 March 2006 coalition, i.e., my neighbors tend to be critical of Hezbollah and its relation to Syria. The first reaction here, however, was very supportive of the Hezbollah operation two days ago. I first knew of the Hezb operation from screams of joy arising all around the neighborhood. The pharmacist with whom I have argued many times about Syria and the resistance was happy “The IDF deserves it! Is it right what they are doing to the Palestinians in Gaza? Let them take it! Now three soldiers — what are they going to do?”. Then he said: “God bless us though, what will Israel do now? They won’t allow for such an operation; they will go crazy!” 

Ladies and gentlemen, I did not want to burden you with the troubles of war but...

For the last half hour or so, I have been watching the skyline outside my balcony. It is on fire. It’s 4:14am. At 3:28am this morning, I woke up to the sound of Israeli jets flying low over our skies in Beirut. I was just beginning to finally fall asleep, had racing thoughts in my mind all night, cramps in my stomach, fear… Just as I thought I was going to fall asleep, I heard the sound of jets, followed by one explosion after another. It has calmed down now. I hear morning prayers in the distance. 

Israeli war planes are bombing Beirut

Israeli war planes are bombing Beirut. Over 50 Lebanese civilians have died since the Israeli military launched a major military offensive against Lebanon on Wednesday, July 12th. Bombs targeted civilian infrastructure throughout the country, including the key highways and bridges across southern Lebanon effectively halting all cross-country transportation. Israeli has imposed a full out air, sea and land blockade on the entire country, bombing Beirut�s international airport and deploying war ships to patrol Lebanon�s waters. 

Growing Grassroots in Beirut

Beirut is a city that vibrates with political culture and is defined by a history of social justice struggles. Currently, Lebanon is undergoing massive political changes, sparked by street protests following the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February and the subsequent withdrawal of approximately 15,000 Syrian troops and intelligence officials last April. The future for the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians living in refugee camps throughout Lebanon is also central to current political discussions in the region, as refugees continue to demand their right to return to occupied Palestine. 

A Visit to Shatila

As much as I may tell you about Shatila, I lack the ability to put in words what I saw and felt the day I visited that place. The name “Shatila” has lived in my consciousness as a Palestinian, since 1982, when along with “Sabra,” it came to represent unspeakable evil, the place where up to two thousand Palestinians were massacred by far-right Lebanese militias in 1982, as the Israeli army watched and covered them from positions outside the camp.