Bomb Number Five, Salaam
from Raida Hatoum -
I've lost count of the Days. And the Bombs. And the Dead
Beirut, first weekend of August
The Israeli war of genocide, destruction and siege is now on Day 24, but for myself I lost count ...as if this is how I lived all my life. Only when the numbers of those who are killed day after day are mentioned in the media I realize that I was paralyzed or numbed... and I realize that the war has eaten up another day of people’s lives.
Beirut in smoke
Till yesterday 955 were killed: 30% of them are children.
More than 3200 were injured: 40% of them are children.
The numbers of the displaced people - refugees - has reached a million.
Those 955 we refer to now as "numbers" and as "death toll"...they were people like you and me, each one of them had a name, a family, a home, siblings, partner, friends... each one of them had dreams and plans for the future. This is War: it sweeps away your face, your name, your dreams, your rationality, it kills your soul if it doesn't kill you for real.
In war there are no real survivors, no real winner and looser, the only real thing is death, violence, more death and more violence, poverty, displacement. And social, economic, psychological and physical tragedy.
Among the 3200 injured, tens of them are burnt children, women and men. Most of them are the only survivors of their families who were killed in massacres which there is no way Israel can claim to be mistakes. Please see their faces in the photos I send you.
I was watching the Israeli army officials of the so called Israeli "Defence" Forces (IDF) explaining their "operation" in Lebanon. They show images taken by their war planes: video images of cars, homes, and mini vans before, during and after they bomb. They claim that there were Hezbollah rockets in those cars, homes and minivans ... but how come there are women, children and men are being killed in those targets? These are murders in cold blood, they are massacres, crimes against humanity. They dare to say that Hezbollah fighters are using civilians to hide among them... while the Israeli army is kidnapping children and women and men and tying them to the fronts of tanks using them as human shields in the West Bank and Gaza - no?
When thinking about those who were killed and those who are still alive but enduring unbearable physical and emotional pain, I crack down.
I like to think that I am fine, despite this catastrophic situation. I cannot but be strong and rational, I don't want to fall into the trap of depression or trauma, I try not to. But I admit that I am completely tired emotionally and physically, I am scared, and I am in pain.
Some times I notice that I have been frowning all day and night, I hope I got the correct word: it is when you bring your eyebrows and eyes closer to each other when you are worried or confused and stressed. Whatever the word is now I have wrinkle - a deep one -between my eyes...
I was not able to go to my work today as we had to endure a hell of night yesterday and this morning, as you must have learned from the media.
Couldn't sleep at all although I tried to count through the bombings until I'd fall asleep, like I tell my nieces and nephew: first bomb falls and I count "one", second bomb falls and the children say in one voice "two", when we reached bomb number five I was already in tears because I feel so helpless with those children, what can I do for them? Why should they be in this situation counting bombs till they fall asleep instead of counting sheep jumping over the fence... I know that when they were counting the bombs, in their minds they were also imagining the bombs falling over homes and shelters full of people, and I wondered are they now imagining children of their own age being hit, screaming, being turned into corpses when the bombs fall over their homes, or on top of them in cars and shelters?
I am not responding to the emails I receive. I try to respond but I am drained, have no more words, no more comments, no more focus, nothing is left to be said, and all of us here are just waiting with less expectations, waiting till our murderer gets enough blood and destruction, waiting until the Israeli soldiers get tired, until Bush and Condy get bored with this genocide and decide to move to another war sponsored and facilitated by the Empire...
Some days I feel shy to write about us here because I cannot but think about the Iraqis and the Palestinians. It is amazing but, yes, in such times I am enduring I come to feel more of the pain and fear of others who have been suffering for years... and I feel shame that what is happening in Lebanon is perhaps taking attention away from what is still ongoing in Iraq, West Bank and Gaza...
Sometimes I fall in the trap of guilt, I start to think that this war and its outcome is because we who call ourselves anti-war activists, anti-imperialist activists, etc. were not effective enough, that we didn't work hard enough to stop the war crimes against the Iraqis and Palestinians, we didn't manage to make the US pay for the crimes it conducted around the world, we didn't manage to make Israel pay for the crimes that it conducted in Lebanon and West Bank and Gaza because we didn't raise awareness enough and we didn't tell enough people - or is it that the world is moving down to the darkness?
What a madness. Is no one able to stop this war? When I hear about the demos around the world protesting the Israeli aggression I cannot but remember the endless demos I participated in before the war on Iraq, during the war on Iraq, after the occupation of Iraq, during the war crimes that are still being conducted in Iraq, in West Bank and Gaza.... We march, we return home but the war is never stopped. And the occupation is still a painful fact and the conflict breeds into another conflict...
USA: what an administration, what a foreign policy, what a hell of a Government and foreign policy! How ignorant they are, how racist, greedy, criminal - what do they expect will be the outcome of all their support and active participation in and the leading of crimes all around the planet?
We are waiting for the American citizens to pressure their Government to stop the Israeli genocide of the people of Lebanon. Can they not affect their policy makers? How come then we consider the USA a democratic state? Ah, ok, this is democracy and they want to impose it on us now...
On my bedroom door there is a poster with peace and love symbol that says:
"'War, what is it good for? Absolutely Nothing. '
- Bruce Springsteen, Nationality = American.
Stop the War, Say it Loud."
More by Raida Hatoum:
Daddy, why did Israel do this to us: http://english-cyprus.indymedia.org/newswire/display/183/index.php
Day 8, While the world is turning its back and closing it eyes: