From Jenin and Gaza, in Palestine, to Falluja, Haditha, and Ishaqi, in Iraq, to Beirut and Qana, in Lebanon
London -- August 1, 2006 12:15 PM
Come and see ....
Early on Sunday, the southern Lebanese town of Qana was revisited by the bombers of only-democracy-in-the-Middle-East. Israel. The first visit took place in April 1996, when it was the site of an Israeli bombing of a UN base that killed more than 100 civilians and injured another 100 sheltering there during Israel's Grapes of Wrath offensive, which was also aimed at destroying Hizbullah.
Little has changed: the Israeli bombers, the barbarian act of systematic destruction, the killing of civilians. Eyewitnesses said the shelling on Sunday was so intense that no one could move. The strike flattened several sites on top of sleeping residents. Elderly, women and children were among those killed in the raid. Sources in the Lebanese Red Cross said as many as 50 or 60 had lost their lives. Only three people survived.
Live on al-Jazeera TV, we saw how the courageous Lebanese rescue workers managed to pull out from the rubble the bodies of 27 children. We saw a man carrying a four-year-old girl wearing a sleeveless dress with tiny flowers. Her face, her bare arms and legs were covered with dust. What was her name, I wondered.
We saw the children's faces, one after the other. They were covered in dust; their eyes were wide open with horror, with fright.
They all looked alike. How the victims of gruesome atrocities look alike! From Jenin and Gaza, in Palestine, to Falluja, Haditha, and Ishaqi, in Iraq, to Beirut and Qana, in Lebanon.
I thought of the lines from Pablo Neruda:
- And the blood of children ran through the streets
- Without fuss, like children's blood.
Once bright-eyed children now covered in dust and blood: how alike they all look. The injustice has also been one: the silence of the UN and the international community, and of the killing machine that is the US-Israeli alliance, backed by the British government. This injustice has been our daily bread for decades in Palestine; for over three years in Iraq; for 20 days in Lebanon.
How can the people of Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon face this injustice, aggression and occupation except with resistance? What else can you do when the occupier is equated with the occupied, the torturer with the tortured, and the killer can get away with massacres by blaming the crime on the victims?
And you'll ask: why doesn't his poetry
- Speak of dreams and leaves
- And the great volcanoes of his native land.
- Come and see the blood in the streets.
- Come and see
- The blood in the streets.
- Come and see the blood
- In the streets!