Saturday, July 29, 2006

Byblos before all hell was loosed

The story of the day, aside from the ditherings of diplomats, seems to be the oil slick fouling Lebanon's coast. The oil is pouring out of fuel tanks at the power plant bombed by Israel at Jiyeh, just south of Beirut: Take your pick of the New York Times, Haaretz, or the Beirut Daily Star.

I was struck by this line from the last article:

A resident of Byblos, known worldwide for its seafood restaurants and historic harbour, said "for the last four days, fish, crustaceans and crabs have been coming in black, and they are dying as victims of this oil slick."

The photo below is of the sea off Byblos, as it appeared six weeks ago.

The foreground of that picture includes a bit of the excavation of one of the oldest human villages in the world; it is believed that people have lived at Byblos (Jbail) for 7000 years.

Some obelisks on the site.

A Crusader castle looms over the town.

At evening, local folks caught the breezes on the jetty.

From the beach, I snapped this surreal image of the sun sinking over the Mediterranean. No, that is not the planet Jupiter. The colors are not doctored.

It is hard to believe now how peaceful that day was.

UPDATE: A blogger from Beirut took a drive up the coast and wrote this description:

Byblos (Jbeil) bay is completely smothered. this once picturesque and touristic town, also the oldest port city on Earth, is in ruins. we could smell the oil before we were anywhere close to the bay. this summer, the town was planning to celebrate its 7,000th birthday! there were huge festivities planned... so much went into it... now... nothing but this black plague.

She doesn't mean, I think, that the place has been bombed, but that the life of the sea is the life of the town and that is completely fouled. Just collateral damage. Read the whole account.


Arcturus said...

Here's a link to photos of the Feinstein protest yesterday.

janinsanfran said...

Great to see those pictures. (I'm still out of town caring for a sick friend.) One of the best things about them is that I only know a couple of people in them!

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