No 9: Stupid God Damn War

Sorry, but I can’t remember which entry this is…and once more, I have no spellcheck, so I’ll sound like a relative illiterate at diffrent points.

Things are a little tense at the moment because of what happened yesterday. BUT this morning, Lebanon (not Hizbullah) said that if Syria tried to bring arms across the border, the Lebanese army would take action against them. I don’t think there’s any way Lebanon would be able to say this without the permission of Syria, and by default Hizbullah. So I think that was done to quell any breaking of the ceasefire. This morning, we were watching several war frigates circle the shore of Beirut. That was a little bizarre and a little tense because there were no markings on the boats such as flags >> and normally, in order to be safe, the flags need to be up and very clear.

Anyway, that’s it for that….

I spent the entirety of my day sitting near the pool on the rooftop of this hotel, which was really a nice way to relax (notwithstanding the frigates!). I finally bought a black bikini, nearly identical to my brown one (scroll down), only with a little less material. That seems to be the way of Beirut, and as the Lebanese would say “kint 3am ba3mal bronzage” all day.

I’m burned to a crisp, and my eyes look a lot more green than usual and so this makes for a happy me. I was at the pool from 10:30 am until 3:30 pm, and one of my colleagues stood next to me after I’d had my shower and came down to the internet and she said she could feel the heat off my body. Hurrah for skin damage!

For those of you who want to know my impression of visiting Sabra & Shatila, please forgive me but I’m nowhere near ready to talk about it. I’ve not even been able to bring myself to look at the photos I took. The experience was so profound and much too intense for me to put it into words and share here. The intimacy of interracting with that area left me shaking for a few hours; As a Palestinian, I can tell you that it was an experience I will never ever forget, every single moment, I think, will always be so vivid and rich in colour, texture, feeling, scent, everything and anything you can possibly imagine. Thirty one years and it was a definitive experience for me.

And enough seriousness for the moment. Now for some stories about interesting people I’ve met…

– I spent a better part of the afternoon speaking with Duncan, a war time journalist for iTV, one of the three largest British channels. He’s in his early 50s and was around for the first war between Lebanon and Israel, as well as for the Sabra and Shatila massacre, both Gulf Wars and both Intifadas. He’s a fascinating man and his stories are incredible.

The one that stuck out the most was that they recently went down to Tyr, and Israel – apart from the normal bombing campaign – has dropped thousands of cluster bombs (the kind which explode when you step on them; sorry I don’t know their official name, but they’re dirty), most of which are in the farming lands of the Palestinian camp closer to the South (I believe Olmert’s official line was ”cus it ain’t enough to kill ya today, we’re gonna make sure it keeps happenin’ for years to come; and if all y’all ain’t dead, then at least yer economy’n livelihood is devastated, tee hee hee!’, or maybe not).

As an aside, you should know that there were 22 cluster bombs which went off yesterday, two of which were fatalities; most of which were children. Almuhim, he was saying how they had to walk through Tyr (approx 20 of them) in a straight line, with their eyes on the ground to make certain they didn’t step on anything which would explode. Worse still, when they met with the Mayor, he was telling them he had a grenade which he thought was dead…until he pulled it out of his pocket and they realised it wasn’t dead. The ensuing panic was scary but relatively funny. The iTV team has been here for the past month and they leave tomorrow to return to London.

– When I met Robert Fisk at the Right of Return Conference a few years back, he gave me his business card and told me to call him should I ever be in Lebanon. I tucked it away.

When I saw him a few months ago at his second last lecture in Montreal, he said the same thing. I took it and tucked it away. He’s stationed in Lebanon and because I left in such a rush, I completely forgot to bring his number with me. We’re in the process of trying to get our hands on his number and inshallah I’ll be able to call him and at least have a coffee. If there’s anyone whose going to have a solid hold of what this is doing to Lebanon, Fisk most definitely will.

– A few days ago while walking, we came across a stable of three Arabian horses: Thunder, The Prince of Beirut and Lebanese Sweetheart. Their jockey, Ahmed, was cleaning them and so was his helper, Samir, who was young and wanted me to take their photos. I did and they let me get really close to the horses to pet them. It was so nice because the horses were so beautiful and calm…

And I sort of have to stick this in here, but I have to flesh this out in my own mind…but I just want to say that with all of this propoganda from both sides, I’ve been really put off by everything and sickened by the entire situation.

In Lebanon, as in many other parts of the world, this has been viewed as a ‘tactical victory’ for Hizbullah, if for no other reason than because they are seen as having won against Israel since Israel was not capable of ruining their infrastructure (if anything, Hizbullah has become stronger through this).

Now, after seeing the destruction and seeing the numbers of deaths, there’s no one and nothing to admire for me, there has been no war won, when so many are dead, when homes are lost, when lives are ripped to shreds and when families are taken apart.

There are no vicotrs in war, and if someone were to tell me that my family was going to die, so that there was a tactical win, I wouldn’t be able to stomach it. I wouldn’t be able to accept it and I most definitely wouldn’t sit back in complacent fashion and allow it to happen.

It’s all such useless death for nothing more than political gain. A summer that was set to focus on the potential of nuclear weapons in Iran has now turned into thousands of innocent lives lost in Lebanon & Israel.

Being here doesn’t let me admire anything or anyone. What a disgusting and messy waste of human potential, war is.

Yalla, sorry to leave you on such an upset note, but my mood isn’t one in favour of the nonsense or the destruction or the fallout or the future blowback to what’s happening today. Maybe I just have sunstroke.

I must go tell a joke or find something to laugh at before I start crying at this computer station.

More soon…and in the interim, watch this, you’ll piss yourselves. Galloway’s such a character!

All my love, xo.