Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Where do I stand?

An Excellent Piece
Rania Masri writing from Beirut, Live from Lebanon, 6 June 2007

"......I also reject the collective punishment of the Palestinian refugees in Nahr al-Bared. The besiegement, the bombings, the destruction of homes, and the new-refugee status for the majority of the Nahr al-Bared residents. (Many of the "residents" in the Nahr al-Bared Refugee camp have been refugees several times over -- first from Haifa, then from Tel al-Zaatar, then al-Damour, and then Nahr al-Bared, and now to Beddawi. Some of the families (hundreds, to be specific) who fled from Nahr al-Bared fled to the Ein al-Helwe camp in southern Lebanon, where they, in turn, fled again a few days ago.)

I reject the doublespeak of the politicians who say that "Palestinians are our brothers," while they restrict access of aid to the besieged camp. They say that the "Palestinians are our brothers" (and many of them who make this statement they themselves had conducted massacres of Palestinians in Lebanon) and "ask" Palestinians to leave their homes while not opening up Lebanese homes, Lebanese schools, or Lebanese churches and mosques to them. (If I ask you to leave your home and claim you as my brother, the least I can do is share with you my home.) When we remember -- as we should -- that Palestinian refugees of Ein al-Helwe camp opened their camp to the Lebanese fleeing from Israeli bombardment in July 2006, that these Palestinians shared their limited food supply with the Lebanese, then the fact that the Lebanese have not even responded in kind should be all the more shameful.

I reject the physical harassment that a number of Palestinians have endured by both the Lebanese Army and the Internal Security Forces......

I reject the ease at which too many Lebanese have dismissed the loss of Palestinian life. I reject the ease at which too many Lebanese reject the human suffering of Palestinians by simply placing all blame on the failures of the Palestinian leadership itself. I reject the philosophy of too many Lebanese that individuals who are non-citizens in Lebanon should not expect to receive the same rights (civil and human rights) as citizens in Lebanon. (For my US readers, does this philosophy sound familiar?) And I reject what this means: an abdication of a sense of individual humanity.

I reject that a political settlement was not more seriously sought. I reject that the Lebanese politicians placed the Lebanese Army in the sole position to "deal" with the crisis -- and thus they have pushed the Lebanese Army itself into a lose-lose situation. I reject that the politicians who funded this militia known as Fateh al-Islam are now the ones claiming the moral high ground......"

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