Rebecca Murray

A devastated town recovers, in a way

SIDDIQINE, Lebanon, 26 March (IPS) - Ali Mohanna lives in a two-room cinderblock structure with his wife and brain-damaged son. By the side is a small, freshly plowed tobacco field and the plot of rubble he once called home. Mohanna’s house was bombed by Israel during the 34-day conflict in 2006, as were houses of most residents of Siddiqine — an impoverished village of 6,000, about 10km inland from the coastal town Tyre. 

Farmers struggle to stay on their land

TYRE, Lebanon, 17 March (IPS) - “I think the biggest challenge is to stay in the village,” says Ibrahim Sayyed, a 28-year-old municipality accountant from the beleaguered farming town of Aitaroun, situated barely a mile from the heavily patrolled Blue Line and Israel beyond. “My father and grandparents told me stories going back to 1948. All this time there has been war.” 

A new struggle for life after war

Tyre enjoys a reputation as a laid back summer resort with a “liberal” lifestyle in the heart of south Lebanon — with its striking Roman ruins, ancient Christian fishing harbor, and bustling beachfront. But during the off-season — and compounded by the negative impact of the summer 2006 conflict with Israel, the ongoing political crises in Beirut and skyrocketing prices nationwide — the town’s family-owned retail shops and businesses, farmers and fishermen barely make a living. Rebecca Murray writes from the southern Lebanon city. 

Palestinians in Lebanon seek right of return

TYRE, Lebanon, 25 January (TerraViva/IPS) - “We know when we start a campaign we work for an achievable goal,” declares Wafa Yassir, the energetic head of Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), which runs programs for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. “And we know the right of return is not an easy goal. It may not happen in our lifetime. But we have to keep this right for the coming generation, and after that. And one day we will get it because it’s our historic right and we won’t give it up.” 

Palestinians brave a hazardous profession

TYRE, Lebanon, 18 December (IPS) - Kamel Mohammed was pruning lemon trees last winter when his red electric saw detonated an unexploded cluster bomb, blasting shrapnel all over his body. After an operation to remove the metal shards from his chest, Mohammed, a 44-year-old father from the nearby Palestinian refugee camp of Rashidieh in south Lebanon, went straight back to work cultivating fields and chopping wood for coal. Not so lucky was his neighbor and fellow family man, Ahmad Huwaidi, 36, killed instantly when the remaining explosives in an old metal rocket he was cutting to sell ignited from the heat. 

What a "safe" cluster bomb did

TYRE, Lebanon, 15 October (IPS) - The explosion ripped through the tiny garden in rural south Lebanon, hurling Naemah Ghazi to the ground. The shrapnel from the bomb sliced through her legs, and she rapidly lost consciousness. “There was a lot of blood,” her mother Khadija recalls. “All her body was bleeding.” Naemah, 48, lived quietly with her mother in the border town Blida since her father passed away nearly 30 years ago.