Monday, July 17, 2006

Two sides of the Lebanon/Israel conflict.

What the hell is going on over there? Honestly, sometimes I think countries over there lob rockets at one another for the simple reason that they haven't done so in a while. A couple of kidnapped soldiers, a retaliation, a counter-retaliation... and there you have it, a full-on kerfuffle.

For shit's sake, sit down and talk it out.


There was an email exchange lately on the Queen's education grad student listserv, a message and a counter-message, showing just how ridiculous this situation is for a lot of people in those two countries. I felt it was a good idea to share some excerpts with you.

The first person is a M.Ed. student's wife's friend, who managed to find her way to Beirut:

Israel says it is striking military bases, but so far what are army planes targeting? Not bases, but whole buildings of innocent civilians, blasting their limbs here and there. They are striking terrified families who have been warned to evacuate their homes just as they are fleeing in their cars and buses. Entire families are being wiped out. Children and babies who have no idea of what is going on are being charred, trapped in burning houses and cars. Entire bridges, highways, electricity companies, airports, touristic points are being annihilated. There is no way I can possibly convey to you the horrors and the injustices that are being committed. 25,000 have had to flee their homes because their homes have been leveled. All the produce in our farms and fields is going to waste because there is no way to distribute it to the needy families in the country. There is no communication between areas, so families are unable to check on their loved ones. People flee from one area only to be struck in another. And what is the Western world doing? I don't know.

The response came from an M.Ed. student herself, a friend of mine who visits family in Israel fairly often:

I am writing from Jerusalem where I just came out of 48 hours confined to a basement in Safed, northern Israel, trapped without running water and little food as dozens of missles from Lebanon fell around us. The ground shook as rockets fell only metres away from where we lay hidden. Once I held my new born nephew as we watched in horror as a missle fell right outside of our make shift shelter. Everything shook horribly and we thought our lives were over. When morning came and the rockets continued to fall, we ran for our lives through the streets of Sefad to flee the city. Now I jump at every sound I hear.

Over what, again?

On my way home from work, listening to the CBC news talking about this conflict, I couldn't help but realize something about skirmishes in that part of the world:

Israel seems to have been at odds, either directly or indirectly, with most of its neighbours: Lebanon, these days; Iraq, in 1990, lobbed some SCUD missles at it; the Palestinian-controlled areas, since, well, Israel was created; Syria, since '67, over the Golan Heights; Egypt, in the Sinai tussle a few decades ago; Iran, since the Shah was turfed in '79... and so on.

I'm not pro-Israel, and I'm not anti-Israel. I'm just pointing out some facts here. All I want is for cooler heads to prevail. That's it.


S.M. said...

That's what most of us want. Who's going to do something to ensure that we get it?

JTL said...

Um... write to your MP, I guess. That's about all I, personally, can do.

Short of going over there and slapping everyone in those two countries I can find who are bombing the other guy.