"Lebanon carpenters are running out of wood for coffins. Bodies are stacked 3 or 4 feet high at the hospital morgue. The stench is spreading in the rubble.…
On Thursday, the wild dogs gnawed at the charred remains of a family bombed as they were trying to escape the village."
Hassan Fattah, New York Times
While all this is happening
Blair's government is competeing with his best buddy Bush's administration for title of 'most scandal-ridden administration' ...
Since neither of these two governments and their third musketeer Israel can stop saying "Iran, Iran, Iran, Syria", like they have some incurable tic...are we all going to be surprised when they finally bait a response from either Syria or Iran with the savage attacks on Lebanon?..Or are they the ones being baited? Either way, the Israel/US alliance, that knows nothing but military options, has been planning an attack on Iran and Syria for too long for any of us to bat an eye if, and when, it finally happens...and Iran is really enjoying the role of local mafia Don with it's Syrian sidekick...while it lasts..
But what a price? A wildfire of hatred racing across the world, Lebanese , Palestinian, Israeli civilians shredded to pieces... Lebanon burning, Haifa burning, Gaza burning (as always)... Israelis no safer now and not going to be any safer when the dust has settled, despite their current fantasy that slaughtering people in front of the whole world is somehow a logical solution.
And what is buried beneath the rubble and arrogance of these ugly and savage muscles being flexed all across the region is the fact that all victims are united by their suffering, united by their desire to end the suffering and always forced to forget what unites them in the name of some illusionary greater cause...the Palestinians, who have been existing in a state of continuous loss and terror for the past 60 years (pawns in the Arab game of distracting their populations and pawns beneath the Israeli military boot, that distracts its own population) are being told that they are the heroic front line, while they are born and die as refugees, as strangers in everyone else's land including their own...the Israeli civilians have to live in the terrorizing knowledge that the grudges of the dispossessed will always haunt their cafes and streets and homes as long as the criminal leaders of each side refuse to reach out with an honorable peace..and, the Lebanese are constantly been dragged back to death and destruction by the power games of those around them...
Each side is told they are fighting the good fight..Whether it's paradise or the promised land, it means the same thing...suffer now for the reward you'll never get...Children on each side born into a world of hatred and fear and distrust...Each side convinced that the other is the one planning, conspiring, hating without cause, driving into the sea, or planning to take over the whole world...while the people on each side are just trying to survive.
And the military machine, being fed on both ends by the big guys who are far enough away to still be laughing...Iran and Syria arm the Hizb and they are guilty of punishable crimes in everyone's eyes, but the US and its little shop of horrors feeding frenzy of weapons to Israel is not? Even though it violates US law to supply weapons to a country that uses it to attack civilians and to subjugate another occupied people..but wait, all we have to do is call it self defense, no matter how savage and no matter how cynical, and suddenly it's ok.
Every time someone says the word Lebanon now, I can actually feel something in my chest begin to tear..but I also have to feel it for Gaza, and for Haifa, and for all the people caught in the jaws of the reckless war machine.
Death is supposed to be the great equalizer, but we know that saying wasn't meant for the Middle East...Or for any war...because it seems that my enemy's life is always cheap..and mine is always sacred...A dead Israeli civilian will probably not be mourned in Lebanon...A Palestinian child's life is worth a fine of 12 to 25 Pounds Sterling for the Israeli soldier who aimed, shot and killed him...A Lebanese woman cowering in her shelled village while missiles play Russian roulette with her house is not quite as tragic as the Israelis in bomb shelters...and an Israeli saying he is afraid to go out for fear of being killed in the street is ridiculed by Palestinians who say thay are living in constant fear for their own lives...what savage irony, that we have constructed minefields and barbed wire even around the words we use to describe similar events...
One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter goes one idiotic saying..and one man's dead child is another man's collateral damage..etc...etc...But what does this mangling of meaning really provide us with besides new ways to keep from giving a damn about each other?
I have forgotten how to laugh, these past two weeks, and have been feeling guilty that I didn't forget earlier...when Gaza was blasted and when Iraqi bodies piled up by the hundreds every day..and when Darfur wept and wailed and when people on a train in Mumbai ceased to exist and when we killed our oceans and our sky and our earth and when...and when...and when...
How many things do we have to screw up before we decide to do the right thing?
'Enough' is the word being splashed all across the Lebanese television channels..aren't they right? Isn't it time? Or was Yehuda Amichai right when he said:
אני, שהבאתי גוויות מן הגבעות,
יודע לספר שהעולם ריק מרחמים
"I, who have brought the corpses down from the hills,
Know to tell you that the world is empty of mercy."
This is the song in my head today.