Which Came First? ____[002-shorts]
- The plane.
- How come?
- Because Man is reckless!
- I see…
Regular reader and visitors, all know Rosie by now. For those who don't, Rosie is an American woman, married and living in Lebanon. During the July War, she was writing and dispatching letter, by email, and through my blog here, telling the real story of the war, and what was really happening.
Rosie is back in Lebanon now, and again trying to help the country that she became to love dearly. Here's another one of her amazing and powerful letters.
October 26, 2006
Dear Family and Friends,
I have been in Lebanon just over a month, although it feels as if it’s been a year. My head is about above water now, but am still treading. I also waited before writing another letter so that I would have the chance to go around Lebanon, see and listen to people, get a feel of what is happening here. And that I’ve begun to do.
Letter from Lebanon--#42 The Aftermath: The July War, aka The 34-Day War--Part I
Every morning as I place my hand on the television remote control, I hesitate before I turn on the news. I have a moment of dread: What horror will I wake up to this morning? Soon the feelings pass and I can relax one more day in this war-ravaged yet wonderful country.
People are still very tense. The war and the current political situation remain constant topics of discussion and concern. You can hear the anguish in people’s voices. At my first book club meeting since the summer my friends and I talked about our war experiences. How did we escape? Who stayed? For the first time in eight years, we never even got to the book. We all had so many stories to share. We needed to talk.
On the other hand, a major shopping mall that I go to is bustling. It had been also the Moslem holy month of Ramadan, which may be the one of the reasons for the surge of activity. One Saturday evening my husband asked the waiter at one of the restaurants why it was so crowded. The waiter replied that it is always like this. If you would have been in that shopping mall, you would have never guessed that the country just went through one of its worst wars. But the packed mall does not necessarily translate into increased purchases. I think the mall is a safe outlet to get out of the house with their families. Where else can they go?
While parts of Lebanon seem bustling however, the realities of the war are still ever present. The news reminds us of what the war damages Lebanon faces. We read and hear about which repairs and rebuilding need to be done and who from the foreign community is helping. Every time I go to the grocery store I am reminded of the war because it’s the rare day that I can find fresh milk. Since I have been here I have been able to buy only four cartons of fresh milk; I usually buy three a week. Lebanon has two main dairies that produce fresh milk for drinking. But the one that was flattened by the Israelis, which is my favorite produced 85% of the total fresh milk supply. The Israelis knew exactly what they were hitting when they struck the dairy six times. The Israelis wanted it destroyed because they had lost the contract to supply milk to UN soldiers so they thought what the heck, no one can get to us, we’ll jus t destroy our competitor. Nice side work for the Israelis.
So let’s see exactly what was accomplished by the 34 day onslaught by the Israelis. Their first publicly stated goal was to get the release of the two kidnapped soldiers. Failed. As the war continued, their second publicly stated goal was to crush Hizbullah so that they could be disarmed. Failed. Then as the war continued with failure of both of the previous two goals, they decided to invade Lebanon and push Hizbullah behin d the line of the Litani river, creating a “safe zone” of about 20 kilometers from the Israeli border. That was pretty much achieved. You notice that I write “publicly stated goal” because what they said and what they were doing were two different things. What you heard and what reality is are strikingly different. Israel used the term ”terrorist” and “hiding arms” for each and every excuse to strike, but those of us here knew that they were purposely destroying the infrastructure of Lebanon, with impunity, as the West, in particular the United States not only supported Israel but provided deadly bombs. And how are the Lebanese expected to believe the United States is an ally?
What was the cost to Lebanon? The true cost will not be known for generations. Thousands of people were evacuated. Many returned, but some did not. The youth, the future of the country are questioning their security and their ability to obtain a good job. They are not fools. They need to look out for themselves. So besides the material costs, which I will get to in a moment, there is and there will continue to be a signific ant brain drain. The Lebanese love their country, but in the end, they have to survive and those who can afford it will look outside the country to continue their education and for employment. And most likely they will never return. They will no longer be able to trust the security of the country because of its belligerent neighbor Israel. Because of the meddling of Syria and by implication Iran. And because the United States is constantly stirring up the pot. (Israel had already made several attacks after UN resolution 1701 and continues to violate Lebanese a irspace and always with impunity.)
Other costs to Lebanon:
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