MideastWeb Middle East Web Log
Anger, confusion and compassion -- these are probably the most adequate terms to describe the feelings of a European who has lived in both Israel and Lebanon, experienced the high emotions on both the Israeli and the Lebanese Independence Day (the first ‘real’ one, after the withdrawal of the Syrian army), as well as the cold shiver when Nasrallah’s gripping voice resounded proudly over the army of Hizbullah marching past the streets of South Beirut. Anger at those who have initiated this conflict, consciously sacrificing hundreds of human lives. Confusion about a lasting solution, leading to the peace millions have been yearning for. Compassion for those suffering, those who have -- once again --everything.
And yet, at times the confusion conceals the anger, just to release it all the stronger – who are those initiators, who are those to blame for this immense suffering? For the majority of the people directly concerned, the answer is straightforward and simple: for most Israelis it is Hizbullah, the long arm of the fanatic regime in Tehran, which has sworn to wipe out the Jewish state; of course, Israel does not fight the Lebanese people or government, but still, the Lebanese are responsible for their territory and the safety of its borders. The Lebanese infrastructure has to be destroyed, for it is used by Hizbullah -- it is a painful operation, but at the end the cancer threatening the Middle East will be removed.
But the flipside plays a different music: for many Lebanese, Hizbullah is, due to the weakness of the army, the only force which has been able to protect the southern border from Israel, which is just once more turning the country into a heap of rubble and destroying the slightest hope for a future; the “Party of God” is considered the first resistance force which succeeded in 2000 in liberating Arab territory from Israeli occupation – the memory of which is bloody and painful. Moreover, Hizbullah is not deemed a terrorist organization by large parts of the Lebanese society and their anti-Western ideology is secondary; what they see is the ambitious and generous humanitarian work the Party has achieved for Muslims and Christians alike when Lebanon lay in ruins.
True, whereas Hizbullah cowardly takes cover in the midst of women and children, shoots blindly into Israel and uses civilian casualties on both sides for propaganda purposes, Israel is not interested in civilian losses on either side. But how do you explain this fact to a Lebanese, when civilians get killed every day in their cars and homes by Israeli high-tech weapons and when the Lebanese death toll is more than ten times as high as on the Israeli side? And how exactly does Israel intend to strengthen the Lebanese government by attacking Christian quarters and by destroying the work of sixteen years of reconstruction within just a couple of days? Yes, vitriolic anti-Western and anti-Israel propaganda has poisoned the minds and souls of many Shi‘ites in Lebanon; but which Lebanese needs propaganda these days in order to believe that Israel is an aggressive usurper?
I see two peoples, having lived side by side for so many decades and yet being ignorant of one another. How many Israeli civilians have experienced the charm of downtown Beirut, its busy streets and the joyful bustle at the beach, young people, yearning for life after so many years of destructive war? And how many Lebanese can imagine the sparkling life of the Tel Aviv promenade at a mild summer night? -- I see two peoples, both longing for peace, stuck together like the two sides of a coin, and yet -- complete strangers, deprived of the slightest glimpse of one another. What the Lebanese really know about Israel is air planes, tanks, devastation. And for many Israelis their picture of Lebanon is that of yes, a beautiful country, but inhabited by fanatic, Katyusha-launching Jihadists wearing explosive belts. It seems to be true that the behavior of humans is influenced not so much by reality as it is, as by their image of it. Disputes between nations are somehow a war of shadows; each side fights the image of his rival, the way he pictures him. As long as the enemy doesn’t have a face, a voice, a smile, he is not human and his death does not mean anything to me. "Terrorist" has become such a convenient term.
Historians claim that the solution of a problem lies in its origin. But if the problem today is Hizbullah’s ideology of death, one can as well argue that the establishment of the Party would have been unthinkable without the Israeli invasion in 1982. If there is a solution, it clearly lies in the long-term future: constructive communication between the nations, understanding and mutual respect are the key to dismantling ideology and hatred and to turn the masses away from fanaticism -- unfortunately these virtues are scarce in the Middle East.
Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000495.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to email@example.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.
Replies: 7 comments
I AM A US CITIZEN AND AM SICK OF ISREAL'S AND THE UNITED STATES
THATSS RIGHT I TEACH IN YOUR PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM. YOU WANT TO CAUSE
Posted by JOHN @ 08/02/2006 09:39 PM CST
John, sounds to me like you are simply scared (in addition to being ill). With world domination achieved, Hizbollah's relgious gestapo really won't care what you wrote about Israel when it comes to seperating your head from your shoulders for the crime of being the self proclaimed agnostic that you are.
Posted by Zed Misrahi @ 08/03/2006 05:54 PM CST
Jesus was nothing more than a revolutionary, who wanted freedom. Like every man that walks the earth he wanted freedom. Thus far for the past 13,000 years that we have verified human existance on this earth, no one has achived freedom. Why? Because, that would require everyone not impose their will upon another. Men aspire to be kings; to live without the attention and responsibility that is required to sustain ones self. That means relying on others to do the work necessarry for you to live in comfort, thus imposing your will upon others. A Utopian Idealist could tell you, we can all live in free if we work together to achieve this goal. That will never manifest as we choose to compete. Like all animals on this earth we have a drive to prevail above the rest in an evolutionary race to be dominant. What separates mana from animal is the capacity to use logical reasoning to manipulate our environment in an abstract manner, thus allowing us to organize and label our environmental properties for the purpose of rationalizing our obsession to be dominate. By rationalizing our thirst for domination we can deceive ourselves into believing that the evil we do is in the best intrest of the whole. The truth is what is in the intrest of ourselves is to do what truely is in the best intrest of the whole. This is a small world. What you exact on others, like a small ripple that will turn into a tsunami, will come back to affect you. Love yourself more, treat your neighbors as you wish to be treated and it will .. in the end come back to reward you. It is the simplest of all processes to comprehend, yet men choose self hate, inflicting pain upon others to solicite retaliation. This is what Jesus meant when he said.."Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.".
Posted by OMFG @ 08/05/2006 03:36 AM CST
My typing is terrible...*"in free"..strike the in....*"mana" strike the last a..should be man.
Posted by OMFG @ 08/05/2006 03:40 AM CST
That was one of the most rational, honest, and well stated posts that I have ever seen, well done Omy......Lord help us all.
Posted by Alan @ 08/05/2006 09:15 AM CST
Assalamualaikum, Shaloom, Greetings.
Posted by jupli @ 08/07/2006 11:26 AM CST
No-one thinks you guys are scared to die. However as an avowed athiest I have some alarming news for you.......................... LOL.
Posted by Zed Misrahi @ 08/09/2006 12:35 AM CST
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