Thursday, July 20, 2006

Letter from Lebanon: Update Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Here's another letter from Lebanon sent to me by Rosie, an american living in Lebanon.

Dear Family and Friends,

The United States has finally started evacuation. The process is slow and not very well organized. There are about 25,000 Americans living in Lebanon. Not all will choose to leave, but even if half want to leave and one ship holds 1,000 people, well you can do the math…..

Yesterday, during the day our area was quiet, but they were bombing in the south, although we could not hear it. However, we were bolted awake in the middle of the morning, as in 3:30 a.m. (Wednesday) with a slew of explosions. We are fine. Not sleeping well, but we are still safe.

In my note yesterday, there was an incorrect word. I had written: “I know many, many, many Arabs of different nationalities and they are not terrorists, but they will defend their country. And they will defend their country against aggressions that are perpetuated by
Israel.” It should have read: “perpetrated.” Maybe it was a Freudian slip…

I am so upset that I can barely think let alone write, but I am determined to get this information
out. This is not a war; this is a blitzkrieg. A total destruction of a country while the world watches. This is abominable! I can’t believe it, if I weren’t living it, I wouldn’t be able to believe it. And President Bush refuses a cease-fire because he thinks that the Israelis are defending themselves when in actuality they are using this line of rhetoric to destroy Lebanon.

As of this morning the Lebanese death toll was close to 300, with nearly 500 wounded, depending on your source. Death toll for Israelis is about 24. (Always keep in mind the 10-15:1 ratio of Lebanese deaths to Israeli deaths, so if you don’t hear about the Lebanese deaths and just about the Israeli deaths you know by which factor to multiply to estimate the deaths in

The Israelis bombed Gallery Semaan, famous for being at the center of the Green Line during the prior war period in Lebanon. It is a furniture store that imports fine Italian furniture from where we bought some of our furniture nearly nine years ago. This is also the area that has the Ford service agency where we have our two Ford cars maintained. True this is in a Hizbullah area, but did the Israelis think that Hizbullah was hiding under the furniture?

Two dairies were destroyed,
Candia/Liban Lait, Lebanon’s largest dairy, and Tanayyel. Liban Lait was not hit just once but six times! It took years for the Lebanese to finally restart producing fresh milk after their war, and now the Israelis destroy these. These dairies, both owned by Christians, are located in the Bekaa Valley, the heartland of Lebanese agriculture. Hizbullah has nothing to do with these dairies. So what is the meaning when the Israelis pummel them six times? The Americans are okay with this? Are you?

The Israelis destroyed or disabled a paper mill, a packaging firm and a pharmaceutical plant. The local newspapers quoted industry insiders as saying that “the losses will cripple the economy for decades to come.” The Israelis know exactly what they are hitting! Why is the international community doing nothing???????

This morning, Israel targeted a truck on Abdel Wahab Englizi street, in the heart of a Christian section of Beirut. They are targeting trucks to paralyze the transportation of supplies to the different regions. Transportation costs have skyrocketed; in some instances going from $67 to $500 to transport the same load. You can imagine what will be the cost of fruits, vegetables, fuel and pharmaceuticals, for example, with this increase in transportation costs; a burden that the already impoverished Lebanese can hardly sustain.

Gas stations are targeted, not only in the south but in Beirut as well.

This is all very, very bad news.

Zahlé, a Christian town in the east, where my husband’s family has many homes and relatives, was bombed.

My friend from St. Jude Cancer Center for Children, which is included as part of the American University hospital, said this morning that they are trying their best to get the patients from the south of Lebanon. And those that are able to make it up to the hospital are not able to make it back of course, so they are doing “their best to find housing for them, which is costing [this non-profit organization] a fortune.” Both St. Jude Cancer Center for children and the American University of Beirut Pediatric Cardiac Care Center need donations badly.

I had stated in a prior email that close to a third of the population was displaced. Although that may eventually be the reality, published statistics range from 400,000 to 500,000, still no small number in a country of 3.5 million. The public school in our small village already houses several displaced families from the southern suburb of the capital.

A friend of mine from the British Embassy, who lives in the Christian section of downtown Beirut told me there is now a nasty smell in the air from all the explosives. The Israelis are using phosphorescent bombs that burn everything around after they explode; their use is forbidden by the UN. The long term affects of this war will only be realized later, unfortunately when it will be too late.

In the today’s edition of the local English paper, The Daily Star, Israeli General Gadi Eisenkot is quoted as saying, “We don’t see Syria or the Lebanese Army as a target….” But they are targeting the Lebanese army bases: they have already hit at least two army caserns, radar stations owned and operated by the Lebanese army.

The Israelis say one thing and do another. They say they are targeting Hizbullah infrastructure, but in reality most of this destruction is to the civilian population. What is the effect of the naval blockade? It is to prevent oil and fuel from reaching the average Lebanese. Today, we could not fill our diesel container. I hope we can tomorrow as we have only enough reserve fuel for our generator for 24 hours. For the moment we have electricity for at least half the day.

Other shortages are just around the corner as damaged or destroyed roads and bridges will prevent food from be transported.


United States Secretary of State, Condolezza Rice “said she was primed to visit the region when it will be ‘helpful and necessary.’” If she waits another day, her job will be easier, because Lebanon will cease to exist.

And all the while, President Bush is sitting with his feet up on the desk relaxing:

“WASHINGTON, July 19, 2006 (AFP) - The United States and Israel have initially agreed to wait one week, while the pounding of Hezbollah targets continues, before seeking a buffer zone and an international force in southern Lebanon, The New York Times said Wednesday.”

President Bush has agreed with Israel, agreed with Israel? What is this??? Lebanon doesn’t exist? The Lebanese people don’t exist? How can the United States of America, the pillar of democracy and justice, simply ignore the illegal attacks that Israel is making into Lebanon? The Lebanese people are the sacrifice. That’s all there is to it. They are the sacrificial lambs so that Israel and the United States can have their will in the Middle East.

These have been the headlines in the local English Newspaper in the last few days:

Friday, July 14, 2006 “War comes back to Lebanon”

Saturday, July 15, 2006 “Lebanese brace for long war”

Monday, July 17, 2006 “War takes even deadlier turn”

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 “The ruin of a nation”

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 “Wasteland in the making”

Please, anyone, let me know what country in modern civilization has intentionally destroyed another country over two kidnapped soldiers? I admit I am not a history expert, so let me know.
I need your help. The Lebanese need your help. Please send this email to all your friends and family, to newspapers and other media. Put it on your blog if you have one. Thank you.

You can address your comments to

Rosie AKL

P.S.: It’s around 8:15 p.m. The Israelis just bombed the southern suburb of Beirut. I am surprised that I am not afraid when I hear the explosions. Maybe because I know that my area is safe, knock on wood. Anyway, I really don’t have time to be afraid.



At 11:19 AM, Blogger Red said...

I thought you might interested in reading this, which I found on the Independent site. I don't know why I'm sending it to you... I guess to let you know that not all of England is behind that idiot Blair. Indeed, I would probably say that public opinion here in the UK is very much against the appalling, unjustified actions of Israel. Not that that helps much.
Take care.

Robert Fisk: This is not Dunkirk. This is Munich
Published: 21 July 2006
How brave our warships looked at dawn. Spread over the pale blue Mediterranean, bristling with cannons and machine guns and missiles, it was an armada led by the destroyer HMS Gloucester and the USS Nashville andYork and the sleek French anti-submarine frigate Jean-de- Vienne. They represented Us, those ships upon which the Lebanese stared with such intensity yesterday. They represented our Western power, the military strength of our billion-dollar economies. Who would dare challenge this naval might?

It was, our journalists told us, to be the greatest evacuation since Dunkirk. There it was again, the Second World War. And it was another cruel lie which the Lebanese spotted at once. For these mighty craft had not arrived to save Lebanon, to protect a nation now being destroyed by America's ally, Israel, Lebanon whose newly flourishing democracy was hailed by our leaders last year as a rose amid the dictatorships of the Arab world. No, they were creeping through the dawn after asking Israel's permission to help their citizens to flee. These great warships had been sent here by Western leaders (Jacques Chirac excepted) too craven, too gutless, too immoral, to utter a single word of compassion for Lebanon's suffering.

At 11:30 AM, Blogger Paul said...

No comment.
I just wish the whole world can read this.

At 8:49 PM, Blogger Mar said...

Can we clone Rosie and bring here so we can have less and less people with a tunnel vision hanging loose on this continent.

Long Live Lebanon!

At 12:52 AM, Blogger Mirvat said...

you're ok man?

At 2:19 AM, Blogger _z. said...

-Red, Thank you so much, and I really appreciate your support. I've been reading a lot of Fisk lately too. I also appreciate your gesture, and your dropping by here every now and then (I know that not everybody in the UK supports Blair, I have a lot of friends from your part of the world, and they are highly critical of him). thnx again.

-mar and Paul, thank you for reading, I am glad you like Rosie's letters. I will keep posting them as she sends them to me.

-mirvat, :) no... I am very far from ok. It was getting crazy. Since the war started, I took two weeks off and ever since, I have been glued in front of the TV, watching Future TV, and LBC all day and night... no sleep, no eating well... It was destructive, I had to get out of this for a couple of days... I left yesterday Montreal for a couple of days. I am in my old city and beautiful city of Toronto, where I feel more at home... but I am still watching TV... CNN this time. and I find myself participating in tomorrow's protest also... heh, I guess there is no resting. But a change of scenery might do me some good. sitting and laughing with old school friends is always least that's what I am counting on.


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