Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sabra/Chatila 1982 By Ghassan Kadi Sept 2011

Sabra/Chatila 1982

September 16, 2011
By Ghassan Kadi
It was as if seven years of Lebanese Civil War were not enough.
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As the Arab “brothers” were busy following the 1982 World Cup, trying hard to find time on their media to give some coverage about what was going on in Beirut and South Lebanon, Lebanon stood alone taking the brunt of the savage and barbaric brutality of the Israelis.
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The skies of Beirut were littered with F15 and F16 fighter jets flying in the safety of their high positions, outside the anti-aircraft fire range, cowardly and mercilessly pillaging and ravaging Lebanon with its Lebanese and Palestinian inhabitants under the guise of protecting Israel and under the blessing of the United States of America.
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As the PLO fighters left Lebanon under a deal brokered by the US, the safety of the defenceless Palestinian citizens left behind in the refugee camps was meant to be in the hands of the Israeli army, under the command of the then Defence Minister, none but Ariel Sharon.
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Israel was not meant to enter West Beirut, but despite its promises, it did. The Lebanese militia (Al Murabitoon) single-handedly stood up against the invaders who had to suffer severe losses before they finally took control of the city. All that time, Israeli soldiers and officers were treated like celebrities in Phalangist-controlled east Beirut. Sharon even held press conferences there.
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No, we will not forget.
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Any pundit would know that a Palestinian massacre was inevitable. It was a question of time, and the defenceless Palestinian women and children were too soft a target and irresistible game for the blood-thirsty Phalangist and the Israeli predators.
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Then the Phalanges got their 9/11 if borrowing a term from the future is permissible. The President-elect Bashir Gemayel, the ex commander in chief of the Lebanese Forces, the military arm of the Phalanges got killed.
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The Palestinian blood is now forfeit.
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The whole world woke up to the horror of that day. Twenty nine years later, the words Sabra and Chatila remain to mean horror even to those who are least savvy about international politics.
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For twenty nine years I have not been able to talk or write about it, because on that day I lost something that I was never able to get back again; not a parent or a child, not a friend, not a distant relative, not even someone I remotely knew. What I lost that day was my faith in human innocence. Any one can kill I thought, and any one can glee seeing innocent blood on his hands.
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Triggered by my wife asking me yesterday about how I felt that day, and a small message exchange I had today with a FB brother, I was finally able to put words to that morbid feeling.
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Did I smell any stench? I often get asked. I honestly cannot remember for on that day there was a much bigger stench than the stench of decaying bodies. On that day, humanity was reduced to nothing. Morals, dignity, honour, shame all disappeared and vanished. Arab brothers and Arab brotherhood were distant non-caring spectators, the UN did not flinch a whisker, the whole world seemed to collapse and shrink in a display of shameless indifference. Even sky fell down. There was no heaven and no earth, they both stooped to the disgusting doldrums of hell, the clouds crawled in the gutters instead of soaring up above, and the blue dome was reduce to a flat grey sheet of rubble.
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Never forget and never forgive.

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