Mayssoun Sukarieh & S. Faizi – 2006-08-01 22:31:38
LEBANON: “WE HAVE LOST FAITH IN THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY”
“WE HAVE LOST FAITH IN YOU BECAUSE YOUR DEMOCRACY GOT EXPORTED TO US WITH YOUR MISSILES, AND WE ARE CONSUMING THEM WHILE YOU ARE CONSUMING OUR NEWS.”
Mayssoun Sukarieh / A Lebanese Christian living in Beirut
BEIRUT (July 30, 2006) IndictSharon.net — I have been feeling numb for awhile because the news over the past few days has been overwhelmingly focused on the displaced, on the mind-searing stories of the 750,000 Lebanese people who have had to flee in fear, leaving behind all of their worldly possessions.
The television and radio stations broadcast heart-rendering pleas by people who have lost their loved one… Stories of their rising anxiety about homes they left behind in towns that are now reportedly in rubble… Godawful scenes of people murdered on the roads as they fled…. Stories of hair-raising destruction witnessed by the refugees on those roads.
At times I get confused: Am I seeing and hearing the old stories of Palestinians who fled their homes in mortal fear back in 1948?
Then I shake it off. No: I am in Beirut, it is 2006, and these are the stories of the Lebanese who have been rendered refugees, but by the same perpetrators of the 1948 displacement: the State of Israel.
Sometimes I have been collapsing. I cannot even write, or talk…I’m beyond sad for countrymen, and for my French niece and nephew, who were excitedly dreaming of an adventurous summer in Lebanon, where they hoped to learn about their heritage, to attend a performance of the legendary Fairuz in Baalbeck, and to see the ancient ruins about which they’d read in their school in France. My niece was especially awaiting this visit; now it is far too dangerous for them to come here.
So I have been increasingly feeling imprisoned, in a jail cell that is getting smaller and smaller by the day. I miss strolling by the sea. I miss reading some news. In particular, I miss receiving good news…
Good news: Analysts are claiming Israel lost the war! Israelis themselves are now saying this. I never imagined in my life that I would hear of a defeat of the state of Israel without feeling victorious and elated. But I feel neither.
INSTEAD, I AM SCARED TO FEEL HAPPY. FOR I KNOW WHAT HISTORY TELLS US: THAT ISRAEL WILL NEVER ACCEPT THEIR LOSS; THAT THEY WILL EITHER KEEP ON KILLING US OR INVADE AGAIN SOON. GOD SAVE US FROM WHAT THEY WILL DO NEXT!
We woke up this morning to the news of another massacre in Qana, the little town that suffered so much in April of 1996. Reporters are still choking on the dusty air while they reported from the scene of the crime. The broken bodies of children and women start to come out.
Ten bodies were removed. Twenty bodies were removed. Forty bodies were removed. More than 50 bodies have now been removed. The mangled carnage is ghastly beyond belief. Twenty-one children under ten, many women, and then under them, still more women and children.
The rescuers from the village are lucky people who survived the bombing. One of them told the story to the Lebanese reporters, which is as follows:
“We were 63 people from two extended families in that shelter, we came to this house because it is in the middle of Qana; our houses are mostly on the outskirts of the village and whenever Israeli shells we get hit with shrapnel. We decided we needed to move to this house since it is in the middle, and we will be safer. We have been staying here for more than fifteen days; we do not leave the house, and the Red Cross kindly brings water and food for us. At 1:00 AM, after everyone was asleep, my cousin called me to have a cup of tea. I went to his room, and as we were just about to sip our tea, we heard a huge explosion and loud screams, ‘Yaa Muhammad!’, as dust filled the air. My cousin started to cry,’My family, my children…they are gone!’ I started to comfort him.”
“Then, a few minutes later, another Israeli missile hit this same building again, and there was so much dust that we could not see…. So we fled to the center of the village, and we started to yell for anyone who was still there, and had could not make the move to Beirut. We told them there is a massacre, and we need their help! They started to call for the Red Cross, for other rescue organizations, and for the Lebanese Army. We kept crying for help. From 1 AM until 8 AM, the very meager rescue team that you see — the Red Cross, a few Lebanese army soldiers, and mostly people from the village — arrived to help us.”
An Al-Manar reporter becomes so emotional that he is barely able to control himself, and keeps repeating Islam’s traditional saying,”God is Great!”, after each sentence. He is seeing scenes of grotesque horror: the smashed corpses of babies, one child, two children, three children. A total of 57 innocent civilian non-fighter people have been unjustly murdered — and half of them are children under 13 years of age.
With each body removed from under the rubble, journalists run to take photos.
CLICK! FLASH! CLICK! FLASH!
How can they do it? I am outraged on behalf of the dead. Even as their souls are hovering somewhere above their shattered bodies, they are being turned into lurid objects for the camera to catch…grisly objects for some photographer who is hoping for that “killer” shot to advance his or her career.
I am now at my computer, trying to tell my friends what I am watching, in outrage and disgust, on the television screen; in other words, I am doing a body count.
I write to an American friend, and then I get an e-mail back from her: “I wish you could send me footage for people here to see in the U.S.!”
I am not sure how much you need to see in order to feel outrage, in order to refuse these savage wars of aggression, in order to denounce this rampage of murderous butchery and wanton destruction.
I think: Why should I send footage for you to see? If the eye sees while the brain is dead — dead from the bloody images you see so frequently that they get normalized — what then happens if you see? Maybe you’ll send me an apology?
Write creatively about it? Try to aestheticize this? Call for another theater performance with eloquently-spoken words in order to give people an incentive to come here, or to act? But they won’t come.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU SEE? WILL YOU CRY A BIT, LIKE ME, AND MAYBE GO ABOUT YOUR DAY AS PLANNED? WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU SEE? WILL THE U.S. PUBLIC OPINION CHANGE?
But can there be any people who do not yet know what is happening here? Do they need to see the dead in order to know who to vote for the next time, in a country where there is virtually no difference between the Republicans and the Democrats?
Does it require more knowledge for you to realize that wars which kill innocent people are unjust and unjustifiable? Do we need to see more dismembered bodies, more demolished houses, and more shattered dreams? Do we need to see more horrific scenes of real women and children weeping, their hearts broken, in order to humanize those who are dying? Do we need more of this pornography of war?
Is there not a danger that the repetitive viewing of these crimes and atrocities will only result in emotional numbness, collective amnesia, or sadistic schadenfreude? Is it simply knowledge that you lack? Is it the courage to understand what we already know?
OR IS IT THE COURAGE TO DRAW CONCLUSIONS THAT YOU LACK?
Put our knowledge into your practice. Integrate our mental anguish into your emotions. Be passionate about what we know.
THAT WILL GIVE US, AND YOU, THE COURAGE TO ACT.
How many more massacres do you have to see to know that the State of Israel is unconscionably brutal? Aren’t the massacres at Deir Yassin, Kafar Qasem, Safsaf, Tantoura, Sabra and Shatila, Qana I, Marwaheen, Sour/Tyre, and now Qana II, enough information for you to know the meaning of STATE-SPONSORED TERRORISM?
Just how many blood-curdling shrieks from the dying, and horrified outcries from the grief-stricken, do you need to hear before you will finally act out of a commitment to humanity — a humanity that hopefully still links you to me, and to so many more, above and beyond this sick voyeuristic consumption of pornographic images from wars?
To tell you the truth, my friend, we who are here have lost faith in the idea that “public opinion” is capable of changing anything. We have lost faith in the idea of an “international community” that can help us by stopping these massacres.
The UN is now just another cold and unfeeling puppet face of the US government puppeteers. Or it is simply an organization that is as helpless and powerless as we are here. UN representatives have also been dying under the bombs alongside us, AND YET NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO CONDEMN ISRAEL.
SO WE ARE EXPERIENCING A LOSS OF FAITH . . .
We have lost faith in you because we do not think you can act on your knowledge, or that your knowledge even matters anymore.
We have lost faith in you because we think your governments do not give a damn about how you think or what you think. We have lost faith in you because you do not live in real democracies, and hence your opinion does not matter anyway!
WE HAVE LOST FAITH IN YOU BECAUSE YOUR DEMOCRACY GOT EXPORTED TO US WITH YOUR MISSILES, AND WE ARE CONSUMING THEM WHILE YOU ARE CONSUMING OUR NEWS.
Mayssoun Sukarieh is a Lebanese Christian living in Beirut.
Bush as a Threat
(March 2, 2006) — George W Bush has grown to become the deadliest of contemporary threats. Having to preside over a country that went to war 23 times against developing countries since the second world war, obviously, transforms the incumbent into a state of deifying military violence.
The unchallenged military might and the strategic possession of the world’s largest media constellation that serves as a military software intoxicates one who commands these forces, especially when one is an under-healed alcoholic partly relieved by the psychic impact of evangelical fundamentalism and described as a textbook case of a neurosis rooted in fear, aggression and dogmatism (in a frequently referred psychiatry study by a team of eminent US psychologists lead by Jack Glaser).
Budhadeb Bhattacharya, the chief minister of the Indian state of West Bengal, was only speaking an acknowledged truth when he matter-of- factly described Bush as the leader of the most organized pack of killers, which was overwhelmingly approved by the huge gathering that he was addressing.
Perhaps it was the typical ill information of Americans about the world that prompted the US Ambassador David Mulford to undertake the diplomatic misadventure of writing a protest letter to Budhadev. The Ambassador, evidently, does not know what the world thinks of his president.
A year after receiving the Nobel Prize, the German author Gunter Grass told Outlook, an Indian weekly, that George Bush was a danger and threat to the world. On the eve of Bush’s visit to London last year, the celebrated mayor Ken Livingston declared that the visitor was a threat to the planet. The British Nobel laureate Harold Pinter has called Bush a mass murderer. Back home in the US, Noam Chomsky, arguably the most perceptive intellectual of our time, has said the same.
Sam Hamill, a renowned American poet, alerted the world, as Bush was set to invade Iraq, to the potential danger that the president bears. Today he is leading one of the remarkable movements in the history of poetry by galvanising the strength of the written word to oppose the tyranny of Bush, a movement that is assiduously being sidelined by the corporate media.
In the November of last year, the Argentinean football legend Diego Maradona described Bush as a criminal, fascist and terrorist, to the cheers of a massive international gathering in the Argentinean resort of Mar Del Plata where Bush was attending the Summit of the Americas. Budhadev’s was obviously an understatement.
No human being in the recently history has been the subject of the kind of mass opposition as George Bush has been. In Seattle, Miami and Genoa, it was a cross-section of the entire world that was demonstrating against Bush for his tyrannical wars and neo-colonial economic policies imposed on the developing world.
An opinion survey conducted in Europe on the eve of his invasion of Iraq showed that less than 11 percent of the people in Europe supported such a design. In an international opinion poll conducted during the re-election campaign of Bush, he was overwhelmingly voted out by the world’s public, with the expected exception of the Israelis.
Colin Powel has regretted the hoax of weapons of mass destruction played by the US, especially on the UN, as an excuse for the American war of aggression, so have many conscientious military officials. Hans Blix and Scott Ritter former chief UN weapons inspectors, deliver lectures around the world exposing the hoax. Yet, Bush does not regret; instead he is further entrenching the occupation and at the same time designing new hoaxes against Iran, Venezuela, Syria, Cuba, etc. Against any country that dares hold a world view that is different from America’s.
US created and cultivated the Afghan Mujahideen, fondly calling them the moral equivalent of America’s founding fathers, in order to fight the Soviets. Eventually, US installed its own Babrak Karmal, and is using the same militant entities it has created as the new alibi for its endless war on a large part of the developing world. Reagan had compared the Contras militia (who were fighting for them against the democratic Sandinista government of Nicaragua) to the founding fathers of America.
Lattin America today is waking up to face the American empire in an unprecedented manner. Bush’s desire for repeating a September 11 (1973) that butchered the democratically elected president Allende and installed the American client Pinochet, to eliminate the Third World’s icon Hugo Chavez would prove to be in vain.
Bush’s new game plan on Iran shall not be as easy as the 1953 overthrow of the democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh. Though America has greater reason to be concerned about this time, for if the proposed Iranian oil bourse based on euro ñinstead of dollar- comes through that could pose a considerable challenge to the imposed domination of dollar and prompt the Norwegians too to pursue their wish of having a euro-based Scandinavian oil bourse.
Bush is militantly positioned against the global South on every issue of concern. Whether it is global (as opposed to selective) denuclearisation as required by Article VI of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, democratisation of the UN Security Council, cancellation of the debilitating debt burden of the South, fair and equitable trade, freedom from occupation, sovereignty of nation states, strengthening of democratic multilateral forums, climate change mitigation or biodiversity conservation we face the same recalcitrant might of the US on a daily basis.
Perhaps the American ambassador should have read the book Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President by the well-respected psychiatrist Justin Frank of the George Washington University Medical School before venturing to write to Buddhadev. Frank’s account of Bush as a “paranoid meglomaniac” and “untreated alcoholic” whose “lifelong streak of sadism, ranging from childhood pranks (using firecrackers to explode frogs) to insulting journalists, gloating over state executions and pumping his hand gleefully before the bombing of Baghdad,” would have helped the envoy to perform his diplomatic mission in a matured manner.
Bush may be a fitting president for a country that sings the creed of violence for an anthem but he is a grave threat to the civilized world, especially to those who have few means to defend themselves.
This prophet of violence cannot have a better anthem than this hymn in praise of violence: “And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air/ Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there”. Calling this one president the friend of India is an immense insult to the soul of India and gravely detrimental to its long-term national interests.
S Faizi is an ecologist living in Trivandrum, India, specialising in international environmental policy. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com”