for articles in
Dahr Jamail is an independent
journalist stationed in Iraq. Mr. Jamail submits his work to
various publications around the world, and also has a web site at http://dahrjamailiraq.com
Dahr Jamail is currently on assignment in
Lebanon bleeds and the humanitarian crisis there deepens among the craters left
by Israeli bombs, those who can have fled-mostly to Syria.
long ago at the northern border of Lebanon, streams of people, wary with the
aimless stare generated by living in terror for days on end, shuffled across
wheelbarrows full of what belongings they managed to get out, they had come from
all parts of Lebanon; from the northern coastal city of Tripoli, down the coast
a short ways to Batroun and the once beautiful city of Byblos where I once
shared tea with my cousins in Lebanon-who we have yet to hear a word from since
Israel's war of aggression against the Lebanese began.
were, of course, from Beirut. The rest, including cars with luggage strapped
atop them, came from the ravaged lands of southern Lebanon-the cities of Sidon,
Tyre, Marjeyun and so many villages closer to the southern border.
140,000 refugees from Lebanon have now crossed through border posts into Syria.
As the UN impotently urges a cease fire from war-mongering Israel, backed by
their greatest enabling ally, the veto-wielding US, two of their personnel in
Tyre were killed by an Israeli air strike.
[Israelis] are taking it out on the people who are not Hezbollah," an American
man told me while fleeing with his mother. They had been vacationing in Beirut
with family members there. "This is a catastrophe, their bombs are falling
everywhere," the 25 year-old social studies teacher added while wiping sweat
from his forehead inside the sweltering border crossing, "They are destroying
all of Lebanon!"
the death toll in Lebanon now well over 350, over one third of them are
children, who would have taken part in creating the future of
interviewing several refugees, my interpreter Abu Talat and I made our way to a
taxi to head further north up the coast of Syria. Our taxi driver, Abdo
al-Hamre, a 32 year-old farmer told us he'd been driving refugees from the
border for days.
crying every day now for the Lebanese," he said strongly, "All of them are
crying in my car as I drive. This is really too much to bear."
stops everything. War kills a country-whether it be those dropping the bombs, or
those being shredded by them. Countries who wage war, like Israel now in
Lebanon, or the US in Iraq and Afghanistan, make the choice to sell their
soul…perhaps a payment nearly as great as those whose lives are extinguished by
the aggression waged against them.
stops everything. School, food deliveries, public transportation, picnics,
dancing, kite flying, laughing with loved ones, everything is stopped as the
struggle to remain alive becomes paramount.
that point, nothing else matters. Only to remain alive. Humans are reduced to
the level of basic survival, for there is no room for anything else.
today we were at the Red Crescent headquarters in Damascas interviewing
refugees. An old man, holding his head in his hands, had just arrived after
fleeing his village in southern Lebanon.
began to talk and I asked him if the Israeli plan of bombing the Lebanese in
order to force them to pressure Hezbollah out of the south of their country was
working. Was it turning the Lebanese against Hezbollah?
promptly stood up, forcing me to step back.
Lebanese are now with Hezbollah than ever before," he yelled while pointing to
the sky as his eyes widened in fury, "God damned the Israelis for destroying
Lebanon! They will never destroy our spirit! The resistance is an idea, and you
can never kill off an idea!"
mad with rage. And why shouldn't he have been?
this man, who should be perhaps tending a field, playing with his grandchildren,
sharing meals with his wife as the sun set, was raging at a journalist in
Damascas because everything he knew is now smoldering rubble.
stops life. War stops everything.
Jamail. This essay is herein reprinted with the author's
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Posted August 05,
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