Thursday, July 20, 2006

Rallying for Lebanon

As readers of this blog know, the Israeli attack on Lebanon is touching me personally because I have just come back from visiting a friend in that fascinating country. Photo essays from that experience are linked on the right sidebar.

This morning I had a nice surprise. While listening to latest news of bombing, shelling and destruction, I heard my friend speaking on the BBC from a peace rally in Beirut.

The Lebanon Daily Star described the demonstration:

BEIRUT: The capital saw its first anti-war rally Thursday morning. Lil Hayat (For Life), a gathering of 40 voluntary organizations and NGOs, made the call. The 300-odd demonstrators marched from UN House (headquarters of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia) to the Saifi headquarters of the European Commission. There, organizers read a letter to EU envoy Patrick Renauld calling on the EU to press Israel for an immediate cease-fire.

Israel "is using a policy of collective punishment by bombing civilians," the letter read, "systematically destroying Lebanon's infrastructure as well as public and private property and by [en]forcing a siege through land, air [and] water on Lebanon ... The situation has led to complex humanitarian and health problems."

... Lil Hayat organizer Wael Hmaidan [explained]: "We have no idea how a cease-fire comes about, but this attack must stop immediately."

Though it is easy for people in the United States who are horrified by the developing humanitarian catastrophe to feel isolated when even such "liberals" as Hilary Clinton cheer Israel's murderous invasion on. But in the world at large, we are not alone. Click this link for an international list of peace demonstrations collected on a Lebanese blog. Reading through the comments, I see there is even one in Tel Aviv.

For great pictures of a Boston demonstration yesterday, look here.

This image is from the rally by at least 10,000 people, many of them Arab Americans, in Dearborn, Michigan on July 18.


cnayla said...

Hi Janin,
My name is Nayla I'm Lebanese and I've just started a blog
I just got back from Lebanon a month ago where I was getting married and we had a group of 60 friends from abroad. They loved the country and now I can't even look at the pictures we took with all of them. I am sadened really by the situation and the only thing I can do from here (London) is to write on the blog. Please do take a look at it. I've published the begining of your trip in Lebanon which I enjoyed reading, with tears in my eyes. Let me know if you don't mind, I posted an excerpt of your visit to Lebanon Photo Essay.and I added a link to your blog.
Nayla with hope,

Nell said...

Thanks so much for the pointer to the Dearborn demo. My partner and I were so close by (staying at his mum's in downriver Detroit), but it was the day we had to make the long drive home. Still, had we known, we'd have headed up Telegraph just to offer brief support before heading south...

The most recent Tel Aviv demo was 5000; ongoing coverage here (with pics). Max Sawicky notes that Olmert's daughter is a peace campaigner.

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