“I don’t agree with their principles or their politics, but this war is making me think positively about Hizbullah“.
by Karma Ekmekji
Sent by Dorothy Naor
July 28, 2006
I remember it clearly. It was the 11th day of the bombings. I hadn’t been able to think straight for days. Maybe it’s because we hardly get any sleep; you can’t sleep when you’re this scared. Or maybe it’s from the explosions (the ringing in your ears does funny things to your mind).
When the explosions stop, the Israelis find another way to keep us awake. Many of us have had weird phone calls in the early hours. The call comes and a strangely convincing voice speaks in fluent Arabic: “We ask the Lebanese people not to support Hizbullah, those terrorists who threaten Lebanon …We want to help the Lebanese people.” It always signs off, “the state of Israel”.
Sure, this disturbed me, but do you know what got me the most? It was the timing. We have the same time zone as the Israelis. For God’s sake if you’re going to do it, call us during decent hours.
I sat on the roof, tired out. Every few hours, the whole building shakes. It wasn’t the Israeli ritual of breaking the sound barrier with their planes low over our heads: this time it was bombing. Suddenly it seemed simple. There was one voice inside my head, and it said: “Just leave us alone.”
A week ago, I had been enraged: how dare Hizbullah declare war on behalf of the Lebanese people. We’re used to war here, and my immediate concerns came first. Couldn’t they choose a better time? They ruined the summer and my vacation. Who the hell do they think they are? Just get on with it and disarm them, at whatever price. Let’s then have peace with Israel and get on
with our lives.
During my college years at the American University of Beirut, I was in the privileged position of speaking my mind. I never agreed with Hizbullah having arms after the Israeli withdrawal in 2000, and believed that it would hinder any chance of Middle East peace. But my thinking has changed so much over the past two weeks. I’m not one of those “Muslim extremists” everyone worries about. Yet I’ve started to think positively about Hizbullah. I don’t agree with their principles, or politics. But in all my life there has never been an Arab leader who stood up against Israel. Now Hizbullah is accomplishing what for the last quarter of a century, no Arab leader dared dream of. And for that, they are starting to gain my respect.
Israel has bombed our airports, ports, bridges, houses, churches, mosques, schools, communication antennas, and UN watchtowers. The Israelis have killed more than 500 civilians. Do they think I could really cheer for them and turn against Hizbullah now?
For me, it is a lose-lose situation anyway. If Israel “wins” this war, and the whole world rejoices in disarming Hizbullah, we may have 10 to 15 years of peace. But new Nasrallas will be born every minute and a new resistance army will be trained to fight Israel again; if Hizbullah “wins” this war, it will be the most powerful entity in Lebanon. It will run the country. We will become a pseudo-Islamic republic, and I will be on the next plane out of here.
Israel and its US backers think that with constant bombing they will pressure the Lebanese government to disarm Hizbullah. The Israelis think that if they hold our country in a vice-like grip, our leaders will cave in; that when we run out of food and when we’re trapped in our homes – or what’s left of them – we will blame it on Hizbullah. They claim that this war is to disarm Hizbullah. Get real: the Lebanese government has no power over
They have laid siege to my country, but they have achieved nothing after two weeks of bombing with their so-mighty army.
Make no mistake: Lebanon is in a full fledged war. But the Lebanese people do not deserve this war. Lebanon’s soil does not deserve to become yet another battlefield to settle other nations’ problems.
As I write this, I receive another news alert on my mobile: “Hizbullah declared seconds ago that the Israeli army withdrawal is taking place from Maroun el Rass, and Massoud Hill [two border villages]”. I smile.