Seeking a Shore
After Hosni Mubarak resigned
In 2004, in the days after the tsunami spread its wide, heavy body
over Indonesia and Thailand and Sri Lanka and India,
crushing homes, hospitals, schools,
videos of the wave were posted online and shared electronically.
Accustomed to viewing explosions, raging waters, hurricane winds,
some people who watched
from the dry comfort of their homes or offices were disappointed.
The wave didn’t impress.
They would have been even more disappointed
had they followed the wave
as it moved through deep ocean waters,
only the crown of its head visible.
People failed to recognize its unity and dimensions,
how it had leapt from the sea floor,
gathered itself from so many individual particles of water,
and traveled hundreds of miles
how its legs extended deep into the ocean.
October 24, 2007
By Michael Birmingham in Nahr al-Bared
Something terrible has been done to the residents of Nahr al Bared, and the Lebanese people are being spared the details. Over the past two weeks, since the camp was partly reopened to a few of its residents, many of us who have been there have been stunned by a powerful reality. Beyond the massive destruction of the homes from three months of bombing, room after room, house after house have been burned. Burned from the inside.
By Frida Berrigan
(c) In These Times, December 11, 2006
In just one week in October, a series of bomb scares swept across Germany. Outside of Hannover, 22,000 people were evacuated when three bombs were discovered. A few days later in the same city, a weapons removal squad defused a 500-pound bomb found near the highway. Finally, a highway worker was killed when his cutting machine hit a buried bomb on the main highway into Frankfurt.
The bombs hadn’t been planted by terrorists, and they weren’t the opening salvos of the next war. The culprit was unexploded ordnance left over from a war fought more than 60 years ago. “We’ll have enough work to keep us busy for the next 100 to 120 years,” the owner of a bomb-defusing company told the New York Times.
August 28, 2006
by Ramzi Kysia
Yesterday, I shed my first tears for Lebanon.
Yesterday, I visited Houla, a stone’s throw from the Israeli border.
Yesterday, I was discovered by Zainab Fawqi-Sleem - a young, Lebanese woman who was killed in Houla, alongside her sister-in-law, Selma, on July 15th. Zainab is but one of over 1,300 innocents killed in this war, but she is the one who found me.
August 22, 2006
by Ramzi Kysia
Last week, I made my first trip to South Lebanon since the war began. Having traveled a fifth of the world, and been present during “wars” in Iraq, Palestine, and New York – I can honestly say that I have never seen such complete devastation in my entire life. The only thing that even comes close are the pictures I’ve seen from World War II. Much of South Lebanon simply lies in ruin.
In the South, Israeli warplanes occasionally break the sound barrier, rattling people as they fly off on God knows what missions. Israeli drones constantly fly overhead. The low, insistent hum of their engines serves as a continual reminder that Lebanon is not yet safe.
August 21, 2006
See also: Grieving Relatives of Qana Massacre Emerge From the Rubble to Bury Their Dead, (Aug 22), Kathy Kelly speaks with Ami Goodman on Democracy Now! Kathy attended a funeral that took place in Qana where an Israeli airstrike on the town on July 30th killed 29 people.
Upon arrival in Beirut in early August, 2006, Michael Birmingham met Abu Mustafa. Michael is an Irish citizen who has worked with Voices campaigns for several years. Abu Mustafa is a kindly Lebanese cab driver.
Having fled his home in the Dahiya neighborhood which was being heavily bombed, Abu Mustafa was living in his car. Abu Mustafa joked that he sometimes went back to his home in the already evacuated area of the Dahiya, just to take a shower or sometimes a proper nap. His family was living with relatives in a safer area. Toward the end of the war, Israeli bombs blasted buildings quite near his home. He tore out of the suburb in his cab and made that his home until we met him again on August 15th.
August 19, 2006
Two days ago, driving toward the village of Qana, we saw men at work, creating neatly aligned rows of rectangular cement structures that would soon be ready for burials. On foot, we entered Qana, thinking we should at least identify the site where a massacre had taken place when, on July 30th, an Israeli bomb hit a building that sheltered children as they slept. It took five hours for ambulances to reach them. Statistics differ, but the most recent Human Rights Watch report estimated that twenty-three were killed.
Turning a corner, we saw men arranging white plastic chairs for guests who came to mourn with family members in the funeral tradition. The men sat in front of one home. Women were next door.
August 15, 2006
Greetings from Beirut, where day 2 of the cease fire might signal very rapid change. If road passage is quickly repaired, many groups are ready to begin reconstructing areas in southern Lebanon, Beirut suburbs, and other areas destroyed by the past month of warfare. Hassan Nasrallah has vowed that Hezbollah will undertake reconstruction in southern Lebanon.
August 13, 2006
Here in Beirut, explosions rocked the city during one ten minute stretch in the afternoon and again this evening. Periodic distant thuds assured us that the approach toward a cease fire would be fiery, deadly.
Farah and I told our Irish friend, Michael Birmingham, that the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina should help all of us understand how it’s possible that profiteering and murderous forces would consider depopulating an area for mercenary gain. Michael is legend for being our most cynical companion, albeit our saint. “Come on,” he said, “don’t tell me you’re serious.”