Lebanon

I’m reprinting a letter a letter from my brother about what’s happening to Lebanon right now. You’ll find at the bottom information on how to send help, as well as links to sites with more info. The letter is long, so please click “continue” below to reach it.

Hello all,

I am writing to ask for your help in sending donations to Lebanon, to assist with the humanitarian crisis there that has been caused by the Israeli attack. In addition to the 300-plus Lebanese killed this past week, 500,000 people have been displaced – this in a country of under 4 million. Israel has also bombed milk factories, food production sites, fuel depots, as well as the rest of basic Lebanese infrastructure.

There are a number of organizations in the country now working with internal refugees – a list is below. The easiest organization among these for you to donate to is Helem, which you can do online through PayPal at their website www.helem.net. The other organizations have account information for transferring donations from your bank.

I have also included at the end of this email some links if you want to look for more information on what is happening in Lebanon – an alternative perspective to what we mostly get in the mainstream media in the UK and North America.

Thank you very much for any help you can send.

My love to everyone,
Stuart

***

Organizations working with refugees in Lebanon:

1) In Saida, the Municipality is coordinating all efforts with the various civil society organizations and all resources we are asking to go through the municipality.

Intercontinental Bank of Lebanon, SAL
Saida Branch
Account no: 0100021820073492016
Account holder: Dr. Abdul Rahman Nazih Al-Bizri (Head of the Municipality)
Swift Code: -INLELBBE

2) Collective for Research and Training on Development – Action ( www.crtd.org) (Are working in Beirut but also coordinating with several groups in the Saida and other areas).

1. Bank Address: Audi Bank SAL, Sodeco Branch, Sodeco, Beirut – Lebanon
2. Bank telephone number: + 961 1 612792
3. Bank fax number: + 961 1 612793
4. Post address: P.O.BOX: 11-2560, RIAD EL SOLH, 1107-2808, BEIRUT
5. Account Name: CRTD-A
6. Account number: 832593-461-002-044-01 (US$)
7. ABA/SWIFT number: AUDBLBBX
8. Name and address of corresponding US bank (in case needed):
Audi Bank -USA
USA Building
19 East 54th Street,
New York, N.Y 10022
USA
Phone: +1 212 833 1000
Swift Code: AUS AUS 33

3) Helem, a progressive NGO which normally does sexual minority human rights work and women’s rights work (see helem.net),
has shifted its center to a refugee intake point, providing blankets, food, etc for the refugees from the dahyieh and south Lebanon. Information is below on how to donate both online through paypal or wire transfer. You can contribute online using PAYAPL at
http://www.helem.net/donations.zn or you can send payments to the accounts below

Credit Libanais S.A.L Beyrouth
Agence Sassine
SWIFT CODE: CLIBLBBX
Client Name: Al Azzi Georges
Account number: 043.001.208.0006817.35.6
SGBL Hamra Branch
SWIFT CODE: SGLILBBX
Client Name: CHIT Bassem
Account: 007.004.367.092.875.014

(4) Women’s Humanitarian Organization

Bank of Beirut
Tarik Jdideh
Swift code# BABEL BBE
Account number :11 401 091280 01

***

Links for More Information
http://www.thenation.com/blogs/actnow?bid=4&pid=102968
http://www.electronicintifada.net/lebanon/
http://www.nlg.org/news/statements/LebanonPalestine.htm

The following site posts photographs of the destruction in Lebanon – please don’t click on this site without preparing yourself, the images are horrific beyond words.

http://www.fromisraeltolebanon.info/

***

Published on Monday, July 17, 2006 by CommonDreams.org (at http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0717-23.htm
The Distance from Guernica to Lebanon
by Ramzi Kysia

As I write this, I can hear Israeli warplanes flying overhead, breaking the sound barrier and rattling all of our windows. In the distance there are explosions. I don’t know where the bombs are dropping, but it’s not close to me. I can’t hear the screaming of the survivors from where I sit.

Hezbollah and Hamas may possess the ability to kill dozens of Israeli civilians and terrorize countless others, but they are not an existential threat to Israel. As events on the ground have unmistakably demonstrated over this past month, today it is Israel that is a clear and present danger to the further existence of the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples. A danger, if not to their very lives – then certainly to the continuation of their nations.

This is the third, catastrophic attack I’ve lived through. I was in New York City on September 11. I was in Baghdad during "Shock and Awe." It’s not something you ever get used to. That so much hatred can live in the world, so much indifference to human suffering– living under that hatred and indifference is almost as hard as living under the bombs.

As I write this, over two hundred Lebanese have been killed. Almost all of them were civilians.

I think of Guernica.

On April 26, 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, the German Air Force, siding with fascist dictator Francisco Franco, began a bombing campaign against the city of Guernica. Some 1,600 people were killed, and the city was reduced to rubble. Guernica is remembered as the first time air power was used against a civilian population with the intent of causing complete destruction.

When it happened, Guernica shocked the world. Today, we do not shock so easily. Lebanon is being sacrificed without so much as a casual protest.

Israel has bombed power plants, roads, and bridges all across Lebanon. Israel has bombed gas stations and fuel depots, grain silos, lighthouses, the seaports in Beirut, Tripoli, Jounieh and Tyre. Beirut’s airport is in flames. Beirut’s Shi’a suburbs have been almost completely demolished. Firefighters are pleading for help, because they do not have enough water to put out the blazes. (1)

I think of Guernica.

Israel has ordered all of the people living in Southern Lebanon to flee their homes and villages. Avi Dichter, Israel’s Minister of Internal Security, told us that "tens of thousands of Lebanese who will flee towards the north will create the right pressure on Hezbollah." (2)

Two nights ago, eighteen people in the South were burned alive when Israel bombed their fleeing convoy with incendiary shells. Eleven of the dead were children under the age of twelve. Mahmoud Ghannam, the father of two of the killed children, broke down when he saw their bodies. He struck himself in the head repeatedly and cried, "my God, my God. I can’t make out the faces of my children. They are burnt black… Which ones are my children?" (3)

A copy of Pablo Picasso’s famous painting of the annihilation of Guernica was hung outside the chambers of the UN Security Council, as a reminder of why the United Nations was created, and of what the Security Council is supposed to prevent. In 2003, the United States ordered the eleven foot painting covered, so as not to even subtly embarrass American diplomats pressing for a war against Iraq. (4)

We are supposed to forget what modern warfare means.

Living in Lebanon today, I cannot forget. I remember Guernica.

Today, Lebanon is being forced toward total ruin. If Israel’s intent is just to destroy Hezbollah, then why are they bombing Christian and Sunni neighborhoods and towns? Why did Israel wait until July 15 to bomb Hezbollah’s headquarters in Beirut, making sure to first bomb power plants, bridges and roads throughout the entire country? Israel’s clear intent is to trash this entire country, smash everything that makes Lebanon a modern nation, and demolish all of the work the Lebanese have done over the last fifteen years to rebuild their country.

As Lebanon is ravaged, U.S. President George Bush loudly and proudly asserts Israel’s right to "self-defense." (5)

As Lebanon is ravaged, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rica announces that Israel should continue bombing to "reduce the threat" from Hezbollah. (6)

Do Arabs possess the right to defend themselves from Israel?

As Lebanon is laid to waste, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has secured himself newfound adulation within Israel. Everyone apparently loves a killer. (7)

As Lebanon is destroyed, Olmert has announced that he will refuse to meet with a UN delegation attempting to secure a cease-fire (8), George Bush has publicly refused to call for a cease-fire (9), and the United States is blocking other nations on the Security Council from calling for a cease-fire (10).

On "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," Condoleezza Rice not only defended Israel’s actions in Lebanon and U.S. policy in Iraq, but said "[Mid-East] hostilities were not very well contained, as we found out on Sept. 11, and so the notion that somehow policies that finally confront extremism are actually causing extremism, I find grotesque."

Grotesque. As if Lebanon or Iraq–or even Hamas or Hezbollah–had anything whatsoever to do with September 11.

I remember what is grotesque. I remember Guernica.

When Westerners speak of "smashing the infrastructure of terror," it is understand that they mean all of the Arab peoples themselves. Arabs are "the infrastructure of terror."

Speaking against a cease-fire, Rice added, "We have to go at the root cause. . It’s fine to have a cessation of violence. .But unless we go to the fundamentals here, we’re going to continue to have these spikes of violence in the Middle East as we have had for the past 30 years." (11)

According to the Washington Post, going to these fundamentals means that Israel and the United States are going to prevent any cease-fire and continue bombing Lebanon for "several weeks" in order to establish their version of peace in the region. (12)

Indeed. I remember Guernica. I understand the peace of the jackboot and whip.

Dare any American or Israeli ever again ask, "Why do they hate us?"

The clear conviction being spoken by all of the politicians in Israel and America is that their absolute security is absolutely dependent on the complete insecurity of Arabs everywhere. And the clear lesson being taught to generations of children growing up in the rubble of what once was the shining jewel of the Middle East is simply this: their security can only be dependent on the future insecurity of America and Israel.

Former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich also took the opportunity to strongly defend this point of view. In an interview on Saturday, Gingrich said that Israel and America must be forceful because, "we need to have the militancy that says ‘We’re not going to lose a city.’"

So, apparently, Lebanon is going to lose several.

Gingrich belittled the idea of negotiations or a possible ceasefire by saying, "this idea that we have this one-sided war where the other team gets to plan how to kill us and we get to talk, is nuts." (13)

A hundred years ago President Teddy Roosevelt famously told Americans to "talk softly and carry a big stick." Today the spiritual, if not political, heirs to Generalissimo Franco are riding high in Tel Aviv and Washington D.C., and they’ve gone one better than Roosevelt.

Today, they don’t talk at all.

Ramzi Kysia is an Arab-American essayist and peace activist. He spent a year in Iraq with Voices in the Wilderness, the Chicago-based predecessor to Voices for Creative Nonviolence . He is currently living in Lebanon, and working on a book about his experiences.