Update from Saida, Lebanon

July 21st, 2006 - by admin

Zeina M.B. Zaatari, PhD, et al. / Arab-American.Blogspot – 2006-07-21 10:12:16


Update from Saida Lebanon
Zeina M.B. Zaatari, PhD

(July 19, 2006) — Today near Saida, two raids destroyed a business center in Gazziyeh and another building. A truck in Achrafieh Beirut (in the heart of Beirut) was also bombed.

As we drove around the city collecting clothes and other items to deliver to the displaced and refugees, we could see a stream of cars from the South coming to Saida and going beyond. Thousands of people passed by in cars, buses, cabs. Cars filled with people to the maximum, without any luggage or other items which means they fled. Destroyed and mangled cars that still could work and that was bringing people who were fleeing.

Everyone put white items, a tissue paper, a T-shirt, a sheet of paper on the top or side of the car assuming that, if the Israelis see them, they will not bomb or shoot. Several cabs went to Marjeoun and picked up loads of people all holding the German flags as they are German citizens. They were trying to evacuate to Beirut to get to the embassy. (It is a good thing the country had so many flags during the World Cup; not sure other flags are going to help them in any significant way).

Today, the Russians evacuated about 20 buses through Syria. Most other countries have been evacuating all of their citizens. Many through the water via major ships and many others through the Syrian borders at various check points. But what are the Lebanese going to do and those with only Lebanese citizenship? Where would they run to?

Today, the bombings in the south continued. A major massacre took place in Sriefa (a small town) near Tyre where more than 25 people were killed. There are wounded and dead under the rubble in most villages and towns.

They have been bombing Nabbatiyeh non-stop among other areas.

It seems that Israel tried to come into Lebanon and clashes continued with the resistance until they retreated. Just an indication of the inutility of the Israeli war machine in terms of targeting or really causing damage among the ranks of the resistance is that, in a week of bombing, all those killed have been civilians.

Four fighters of the resistance have died. No weapons’ basis, no headquarters, no political or military leader of Hizbullah has been reached or touched. This is an indication of the strength of the resistance and of the fact that Israel, at this point, may be at a standstill in terms of its advances.

It has bombed most obvious sites that had offices or homes of Hizbullah, airports, roads, bridges, ports, etc… so what is next? Sadly enough, what “has been next” is our people as they destroy homes and villages in the south and in the Biqaa on a daily basis. Today they re-bombed the airport, which is really not clear why as the airport is out of business and there is no work and no fuel.

Yet all this is does not seem to be enough for the US that still sees no need for a cease-fire as Hizbullah is still resisting strong.

If you would like to help with relief efforts, you can use the following reliable entities that I know well.

1) In Saida, the Municipality is coordinating all efforts with the various civil society organizations and all resources we are asking to go through the municipality.
• Intercontinental Bank of Lebanon, SAL
Saida Branch
Account no: 0100021820073492016
Account holder: Dr. Abdul Rahman Nazih Al-Bizri (Head of the Municipality)
Swift Code: -INLELBBE

2) Collective for Research and Training on Development – Action (www.crtd.org)
The CRTD os working in Beirut but also coordinating with several groups in the Saida and other areas.
• Bank Address: Audi Bank SAL, Sodeco Branch, Sodeco, Beirut – Lebanon
Phone number: + 961 1 612792
Fax number: + 961 1 612793
PO Box: 11-2560, RIAD EL SOLH, 1107-2808, BEIRUT
Account Name: CRTD-A
Account number: 832593-461-002-044-01 (US$)
Name and address of corresponding US bank (in case needed):
Audi Bank -USA
USA Building, 19 East 54th Street, New York, NY 10022
Phone: +1 212 833 1000
Swift Code: AUS AUS 33

3) Helem (helem.net), a progressive NGO which normally does sexual minority human rights work and women’s rights work
has shifted its center to a refugee intake point, providing blankets, food, etc for the refugees from the Dahyieh and south Lebanon.
You can contribute online using PAYAPL at
http://www.helem.net/donations.znttp://www.helem.net/donations.zn or you can send payments to the accounts below
Credit Libanais SAL Beyrouth
Agence Sassine
Swift Code: CLIBLBBX
Client Name: Al Azzi Georges
Account number:
SGBL Hamra Branch
Swift Code: SGLILBBX
Client Name: CHIT Bassem
Account: 007.004.367.092.875.014

Update 5 from Saida, Lebanon

(July 18, 2006) – Day 7 — It has been relatively quiet in Saida. We are only hearing warplanes roaming ahead and witnessing the atrocities on TV screens and awaiting. It is extremely frustrating to see all this death and destruction around and not be able to help. Even for those who are working in the red cross and others that are trained in emergency aid are not able to perform their role as the Israelis continue to target rescue operations as well as all the roads and bridges. The southern suburb of Beirut today was not targeted and this is in part that there is nothing left, most buildings in the center had been leveled to the floor already.

During the night and this morning, they have been bombing towns and cities in the south. Nabatiyyeh, Marjeoun, Khiam, and Bint Jbeil have all been targeted heavily. Aitaroun, a small village in the south was bombed last night destroying over five homes with their inhabitants.

Early this morning, they bombed a whole building of four stories high in Choueifat (near Beirut) and destroyed it completely.

Then they bombed the Lebanese army’s base in Al-Jamhour, east of Beirut killing several and wounding many. They then bombed Jbeil (Byblos), a historic city north of Beirut. Then they bombed a church in Rashaya al-Wadi .

The Israeli war machine, the disgusting and vicious war machine, is now targeting since early this morning all trucks that are coming from the northern and eastern borders (from Jordan via Syria) of emergency aid that includes sugar, wheat, cement, and other such material like milk, infant formula, etc…

They killed three Jordanian truck drivers that were bringing in aids from the United Arab Emirates. They are claiming these could be trucks that are moving artillery and rockets. This is a farce as all these trucks are open containers where you can clearly see what is inside of them. The aim is clear to suffocate further all Lebanese, those under heavy attack and those trying to provide for the refugees and IDPs in schools and parks where supplies are quickly dwindling.

By yesterday’s estimates, there are over 25,000 people who refugees at the moment. There are over 12,000 displaced in the schools and parks of Beirut. In Saida, the estimate is over 4000 families have fled from the South to find refuge in the city’s public schools and among relatives.

Updates of more information from yesterday’s events:
The bombing yesterday of Beirut’s port killed two civilians. Images of the body indicate that the bombs are using chemical and phosphorous weapons. The bodies are melting including the bones (There are images on As-Safir newspaper www.assafir.com, but I do not recommend viewing for those faint of the heart).

The factory that was hit east of Saida in Kfar Jara, were actually two factories, one for cardboard and the other for tissue paper called Fine that is owned by a Jordanian merchant. The two were destroyed completely, with an estimate of 10 million dollars of losses according to the owner.

Near Nabatiyye, in a town called Musaileh, Israel targeted Al-Kayan Center which includes a medical center, clinics, and an emergency center (ambulance and fire trucks center basically) and destroyed it. The air-raid destroyed ten ambulance trucks.

Thank you all for all your emails of support and care. I am sorry if I do not respond to them one by one, but I do appreciate the support and they do really help. Most of the time I do not have the energy to speak, transfixed with emotions of fear, worry, and anger.

Images of Children Killed in Lebanon
Hanady Salman

This post was originally sent out by Hanady Salman, an editor at the lebanese daily Al Safir. Below is the unedited content of that email:

(Saturday, July 15 2006) — “Dear friends and colleagues,
You will all have to excuse me for sending this. It’s pictures of the bodies of babies killed by the Israelis in South lebanon. They are all burnt.

I need your help. I am almost certain these pictures won’t be published in the West, although they are Associated Press pictures. I need your help exposing them if you can. The problem is these are people who were asked to leave their village, Ter Hafra, this morning, within two hours, or else…. So those who were able to flee went to the closer UN base where they were asked to leave.

I think that after the Qana massacres in 1996, when civilians were bombed after they took shelter in UN headquarters, the UN does not want to be responsible for the lives of civilians.

A few minutes ago, the Israelis asked the people of Al Bustan village in the south to evacuate their homes. I am afraid massacres will keep happening as long as Israeli actions are unchecked.

Please help us if you can.

Children of War; Victims of War

On July 18, in northern Palestine, next to the Lebanese border, Israeli children were invited to write messages to children in Lebanon under the supervision of Isreal’s military. The children were told to write their messages on the outside of artillery shells.

An Associated Press photographer took some photos of Lebanese children that were on the receiving end of the messages.

Hanady Salman, an editor at the lebanese daily Al Safir, wrote: ” I am almost certain these pictures won’t be published in the West.”

To its credit, Newsweek published one of the photos in its July 24 issue.

Warning: These are disturbing images. You may wish to forward these photos to your elected representatives. They need to be disturbed.