Extermination 17 September 2007Posted by marisacat in Beirut, California / Pacific Coast, Israel/AIPAC, WAR!.
photograph from El Semanal, a 2002 memorial publication for the massacre at the Sabra and Chatila camps, inside Lebanon.
I remember how the news broke, at least the news of it that I read… from a Norwegian film crew… tipped off. They waited and watched the Christian Phalange militiamen enter the camp..
It’s a very beautiful fall day here in Beirut today. Twenty-five years ago this week since the massacre at the Palestinian refugee camps at Sabra-Shatilla. Bright blue sky and a fall breeze. It actually rained last night. Enough to clean out some of the humidity and dust. Fortunately not enough to make the usual rain created swamp of sewage and filth on Rue Sabra, or flood the grassless burial ground of the mass grave (the camp residents named it Martyrs Square, one of several so named memorials now in Lebanon) where you once told me that on Sunday September 19, 1982, you watched, sickened, as families and Red Crescent workers created a subterranean mountain of butchered and bullet-riddled victims from those 48 hours of slaughter. Some of the bodies had limbs and heads chopped off, some boys castrated, Christian crosses carved into some of the bodies.
I have left out the worst of the remembrance of the killing. It is in the article, a poignant letter to the woman mentioned above, who watched that day… when the fury of the killing was over.
Since you went away, the main facts of the massacre remain the same as your research uncovered in the months that followed. At that time your findings were the most detailed and accurate as to what occurred and who was responsible.
The old 7-storey Kuwaiti Embassy from where Sharon, Eytan, Yaron, Elie Hobeika, Fradi Frem and others maintained radio contact and monitored the 48 hours of carnage with a clear view into the camps was torn down years ago. A new one has been built and they are still constructing a mosque on its grounds.
I am sorry to report that today in Lebanon, the families of the victims of the massacre daily sink deeper into the abyss. No where on earth do the Palestinians live in such filth and squalor. ‘Worse than Gaza!” a journalist recently in Palestine exclaims.
A 2005 Lebanese law that was to open up access to some of the 77 professions the Palestinians have been barred from in Lebanon had no effect. Their social, economic, political, and legal status continues to worsen.
Just a little more, to bring it forward..
Remember that fellow you once screamed at and called a butcher outside of Phalange HQ in East Beirut, Joseph Haddad? At the time he denied everything as he looked you straight in the eye and made the sign of the cross. Well, he did finally confess 22 years later, around the time of his youngest daughter’s confirmation in his local parish. Your suspicions were indeed correct. His unit, the second to enter the camp, had been supplied with cocaine, hashish and alcohol to increase their courage. He and others gave their stories to Der Spiegel and various documentary film makers.
Many of the killers now freely admit that they conducted a three-day orgy of rape and slaughter that left hundreds, as many as 3,500 they claim, possibly more, of innocent civilians dead in what is considered the bloodiest single incident of the Arab-Israeli conflict and a crime for which Israel will be condemned for eternity.
Your friend, Um Ahmad, still lives in the same house where she lost her husband, four sons and a daughter when Joseph, a thick-set militiaman carrying an assault rifle bundled everyone into one room of their hovel and opened fire. She still explains like it was yesterday, how the condoned slaughter unfolded, recalling each of her four sons by name, Nizar, Shadi, Farid and Nidal. I asked Joseph if he wanted to sit with Um Ahmad and seek forgiveness and possible redemption since has now become a lay cleric in his Parish. He declined but sent his condolences with flowers.
It never goes away, as it is still happening:
Do you remember Janet, how we used to walk down Rue Sabra from Gaza Hospital to Akka Hospital during the 75-day Israeli siege in ’82, as you used to say “to see my people”? Gaza Hospital is gone now. Occupied and stripped by the Syrian-backed Amal militia during the Camp Wars of ’85-87. Its remaining rooms are now packed with refugees.
One old lady who ended up there recited how it’s her 4th home since being forced from Palestine in 1948. She survived the Phalangist attack on and destruction of Tel a Zaatar camp in 1976 fled from the Fatah al Islam Salafists in Nahr al Bared Camp in May of this year and wore out her welcome at the teeming and overwhelmed Bedawi camp near Tripoli last month.
To make certain the re-telling has not a drop of cool water nor breath of air:
Janet Lee Stevens was born in 1951 and died on April 18, 1983, at the age of 32, at the instant of the explosion which destroyed the American Embassy in Beirut. Twenty minutes before the blast, Janet had arrived at the Embassy to meet with US A.I.D. official Bill McIntyre because she wanted to advocate for more aid to the Shia of South Lebanon and for the Palestinians at Sabra, Shatilla, and Burg al Burajneh camps, stemming from Israel’s 1982 invasion and the September 15-18 massacre. As they sat at a table in the cafeteria, where she had planned to ask why the US government has never even lodged a protest following the Israeli invasion or the Massacre, a van stolen from the Embassy the previous June arrived and parked just in front of the Embassy. Almost directly in front of the cafeteria. It contained 2,000 pounds of explosives. It was detonated by remote control and tons of concrete pancaked on top of Janet and Bill, killing 63 and wounding 120.
While I was at Counterpunch I noticed a good piece on the recent events at UC at Irvine… it’s always good to remember that Joe Lieberman is very much a leader in the 21st century, post 9/11 Democratic party. Here is a very pointed snip:
This is the latest chapter in the post September 11 attack on academic freedom under the guise of protecting security. Two weeks after 9/11, former White House spokeman Ari Fleischer cautioned Americans “they need to watch what they say, watch what they do.” The American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a group founded by Lynne Cheney and Senator Joe Lieberman, accused universities of being the weak link in the war on terror; it included the names of 117 “un-American” professors, students and staff members. A few months later, a blacklisting Internet cite called Campus Watch was launched. It publishes dossiers on scholars who criticize U.S. Middle East policy and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Earlier this year, the Bruin Alumni Association at UCLA offered students $100 to tape left-wing professors.
Really, I have nothing in common with these people. Any of them.
While we are on the fundies, of all stripes, Tom Dispatch has a post up, interview with James Carroll of the Boston Globe, he is also the son of the founding director of the DIA… here is something to gag on your Breakfast of Champions over:
Carroll: Yes, what happened there was striking. Take just this example: A couple of years ago, Mel Gibson’s film, The Passion of the Christ rendered in profoundly fundamentalist ways, most terribly, the death of Jesus as caused by “the Jews,” not the Romans. In that movie, Pilate is a good guy; the Jewish high priest the villain. Gibson justified this by saying it was how the Gospels tell the story, which is literally true. A fundamentalist reading of the Gospel story ignores what we know from history and from scientific inquiry and analysis of the Gospels. It wasn’t “the Jews” who murdered Jesus, it was the Romans, pure and simple.
And then that film was featured at the United States Air Force Academy. Its commanders made it clear that every one of the cadets, over 4,000 of them, was supposed to see that movie. Repeatedly over a week, every time cadets went into H. H. Arnold mess hall, they found fliers on their dinner plates announcing that this movie was being shown. I saw posters that said: “See the Passion of the Christ” and “This is an official Air Force Academy event, do not remove this poster.”
As a result of that film, there was an outbreak of pressure, practically coercion, by born-again evangelical Christians aimed at non-Christian cadets and, in a special way, at Jews. This went on for months and when the whistle was blown by a Jewish cadet and his father, the Air Force denied it, tried to cover it up. Yale University sent a team from the Yale Divinity School to investigate. They issued a devastating report. The commander at the academy was finally removed; the Air Force was forced to acknowledge that there was a problem. [I cannot believe much, if anything, changed --- Mcat]
In the Pentagon today, there is active proselytizing by Christian groups that is allowed by the chain of command. When your superior expects you to show up at his prayer breakfast, you may not feel free to say no. It’s not at all clear what will happen to your career. He writes your efficiency report. And the next thing you know, you have, in the culture of the Pentagon, more and more active religious outreach.
Imagine, then, a military motivated by an explicit Christian, missionizing impulse at the worst possible moment in our history, because we’re confronting an enemy — and yes, we do have an enemy: fringe, fascist, nihilist extremists coming out of the Islamic world — who define the conflict entirely in religious terms. They, too, want to see this as a new “crusade.” That’s the language that Osama bin Laden uses. For the United States of America at this moment to allow its military to begin to wear the badges of a religious movement is a disaster!
Don’t have to imagine it, we have it... Honestly, i am more worried about the enemy within than without.