Walid's Wanderings

Reflections on life, good-and-evil, family, humanity, and anything else that occurs to me, usually when I travel. Right now I am on a 6-year trip through Lebanon, the homeland I had never really lived in before.

Friday, July 21, 2006


OK, emotionally we are all faring much better. The "humanitarian sea corridor" to Cyprus is open, and lots of people are coming into Lebanon for whatever reason, although 99% of the traffic is out. US consular officers have called and reassured us that their ships will continue to run until the last American who wants to leave has been shipped out, via Turkey or Cyprus, all the way to BWI. We in turn reassured them that we are happy to wait in our comfortable home until people in more dire straits have gone on before us. Fresh lemons have run out of the markets, but peaches and cherries are in season both here and in Cyprus.

Let me remind your listeners...

Has anyone noticed this "warning label", so to speak, that is flashed whenever an Israeli spokesman is about to duck a tough question by going back to a script? A script from a different war, more likely than not? The talking points sometimes feature an occasional shift in vocabulary, but "Let me remind your listeners" has proved immune to any attempts at originality by the script reader. Pay attention next time, let the trigger phrase bring before your own eyes the antidotes below to the talking points that predictably come next.
  • Let me remind your readers that... Hezballah is a "state within a state". Nope. That would be Fatah circa 1975. The Palestininas had their own strongholds, checkpoints, torture chambers, and petty dictators roaming around the streets in Lebanon doing anything they want. Israel came in in 1982 and took them out. Creating Hezballah in the process. Hezballah is a well-organized, well-hidden force that evolved through design, luck and natural selection to deter aggression against Lebanon from a foe previously reputed to see all, know all, and reach all. They are not seen when they do not wish to be seen, and they can vote and attract votes based on an ironclad and never before broken pledge never to raise arms against any Lebanese. I personally know people who were kidnapped and tortured by the PLO state-within-a-state in the 70s, and I was only 10 at the time, so I could not have known that many people. No one among the hundreds of people I have now come in touch with after five years of teaching in Lebanon has ever been subject to any exercise of state authority by Hezballah.

  • Let me remind your readers that... there is no other way to stop the missiles on Israel. Ummmm... you mean Hamas's missiles, right? Because Hezballah's missiles stop the moment Israel's air force stops pounding civilian targets in Lebanon. Hezballah made that promise and, incredibly, has always kept it and keeps it today. Even after all the devastation, the rhetoric of Hezballah is unchanged. The missiles are not in retaliation against past wrongs or an "understandable reaction" by a renegade soldier who lost his children in shelling a year ago. They are a straightforward pragmatic living-in-the-moment response by an absolutely obeyed military imperatie to answer an attack within a five minute to five hour window.
  • Let me remind your listeners that ... these people hide among their civilians, making it very hard for us to silence their fire without hitting civilians. Actually, it is against international humanitarian and criminal law to consistently hit civilian targets just because they look as if they might a camouflaged military targets. There must be a demonstrable military objective found among some reasonable proportion of the targets hit. I do not know what this "reasonable proportion" might be, and I leave it for a judge to decide when the time comes for reparations and other forms of accountability. Again, this is a talking point from an old war, actually from every "war" Israel has waged since the last time a regular army moved against it in 1973. Hezballah knows better than to "hide" behind human shields. Hiding means hiding, as in not being able to be found, and this is something they continue to do extremely well.
  • Let me remind your listeners that ... tyrrany and dictatorship.... Whoa. You mean Saddam? He's in jail. You mean Mubarak? He's on your side! Hezballah is unable, and one hopes unwilling, to alienate its voting populace by doing things like hiding in hospitals and evicting clergymen to stock arms in a church or mosque. Without support from all of Lebanon, Hezballah loses some of the most essential sources of its existence: legitimacy as a resistance force and admiration from the people it needs to recruit from. We do not have enough disaffected individuals in our prosperous and so far un-ravaged nation that a dictator can collect volunteers out of fear that the alternative would be worse. And of course in the present time Hezballah has nowhere near the resources of a Saddam or even an Arafat who could disguise military hits and broadcast to the world an augmented sense of innocent human suffering. This is the most candidly and uncensored-ly broadcast war in history (so far). We have at least ten cable news stations providing 24-hour coverage with their own correspondents, and dozens more reporting secondary news, not to mention wire services and radio call-ins and televised interviews with evacuees. Not one so far has seen a legitimate Hezballah military target among all the civilian buildings, busses, trucks, gas stations, food factories that Israel has air bombed. Unless you want to count the un-mobilized Lebanese army privates and sergeants killed sleeping in their barracks. I hope they managed to move into bunkers where they can survive until the ground war.
I hope that the above antidotes to Israel's feeble talking points will be of some help to those of you who feel compelled to demonstrate or to write your elected representatives. It would be most helpful if you can refrain from exaggeration and blanket condemnation of Israel. Focus on the now. A Cease-fire now is in Israel's best interest and a cease-fire next week or next month is probably what their leaders (or the Neo-cons, depending on whom you believe) will let them have, at which point the same points will be agreed upon. Why do we all have to wait that long? I normally do not buy the bleeding-heart pacifist view that all war is stupid, but prolonging the inevitable and crystal clear conclusion of this present conflict is folly folly folly. Sing it with me now: "Where oh where, have all the flowers gone..."

The muse is afoot

I do not write poetry until something moves me, and it can take hours or it can take weeks for the finished product to emerge. Here is a rare insight into the creative process. I'm thinking:
Macavity Macavity
There's no one like Macavity
There's never been a cat of such deceitfulness and suavity;
He's broken every human law
He breaks the law of gravity
And when they reach the scene of crime
Macavity's not there!

So Bill the cat is shot
and Garfield dragged to jail
And Heathcliff and Sylvester
Made homeless as they flail

Jinxy, Tom, and Jerry
And Pixie, Dixie too
Are all legi'mit targets:
They look like you-know-who.

I hear that Mickey Mouse now
And maybe Yogi Bear
Are lined against the wall because
Macavity's not there!


  • At 25/7/06 10:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You say:
    "Hezballah's missiles stop the moment Israel's air force stops pounding civilian targets in Lebanon. Hezballah made that promise and, incredibly, has always kept it and keeps it today."

    This is a LIE. "Hezbullshit" was shooting missles at Israel's civilian sites for 6 MONTHS before they STARTED A WAR AND INVADED Israel and killed soldiers, taking 2 hostages (who still haven't been accessbile to Red Cross or Red Crescent yet as required by international law). They are the agressors in this scenario, and must accept the blame for the war. They could have ended this sooner by returning the 2 soldiers they took. They didn't, and furthermore demanded to be involved with another nation by demanding the release of "Palestines" also, unrelated to their supposed cause. They are also responsible for civilian casualties on both sides, Israel's by their targeting civilian sites instead of obvious military sites nearby, and Lebanon's by hiding their missles and such in civilian sites and homes.

    I feel bad for the Lebanese and hope they come out okay, but the truth is even if Israel is being overtly agressive, he zabourah started it all, and refuses to end it by returning the soldiers they took.

  • At 26/7/06 3:12 AM, Blogger Walid said…

    This response is typical of American zealots in receipt of talking points from their local Israeli consulate. Anyone in Israel would know that the rocket attacks before this incident were coming from Hamas, mostly in the south of Israel, not Hazballah. As for the other points, I've covered them already.

    One more salient fact, as anyone listenign to UN officials on CNN knows, is that most "violations of sovreignty" recorded over the past five years by the UN forces, which are costing the taxpayers of the world several million per year just so this can be on record, are from Israeli air incursions into Lebanon's airspace.

    Other than that, welcome to the blog :). Try to keep obscenities out of it, even if they are in broken Arabic.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home