Donnerstag, 24. August 2006

Timothy Kassis’ War Diary

Dieses Kriegs-Tagebuch unseres Freundes Timmy, unseren Lesern bislang unter dem Pseudonym "George" bekannt, erschien vor einigen Tagen bereits in deutscher Sprache auf Spiegel-Online , wurde dort aber zensiert und um wichtige Passagen gekürzt. Wir haben uns daher entschlossen hier den Originaltext zu veröffentlichen.:

Monday 14 August 2006

Today at 8am Lebanese-Israeli time, all hostilities were supposed to end in accordance with Security Council resolution 1701. Just minutes before the deadline Israel was still expanding its military offensive in the South of Lebanon and continuing its air strikes on civilian cars, trucks and houses.

During the day I heard a couple of reports that two Hezbollah fighters were killed in the South by Israeli fire and Hezbollah couldn’t retaliate because they were following the resolution. Although Hizbollah also fired 10 rockets none of them actually crossed the Lebanese-Israeli border, not because they couldn’t but because they didn’t want to. They just wanted to remind Israel that they were still there and still capable of defending Lebanon. Other than that it was relatively quite during the morning so almost all of the refugees staying at our school left to their villages a bit south of ours.

A group of friends and I were organizing special activities for the refugee children in our school and nearby camps, in order to make them forget the horrible days they were going through and to hopefully help them grow to be peacemakers rather than avengers. Because no refugees were left we canceled our activities and just decided to hang around together and talk about things, things other than the war. It was such a relief to be able to talk about something and not hear bombs landing and rockets being fired into nearby villages.

Being a 21-year old Lebanese, I, like thousands of people from my generation, was more than willing to accept Israel’s occupation of Palestine and have a peace agreement with Israel realizing that there is no solution but to accept the fact that Israel is here and here to stay. I looked forward to living peacefully with my neighbor, to visiting Israel and having Israeli friends only an hour away. Older generations always tell us that peace with Israel is impossible and they used to describe the horrific stories carried out by the Israeli ‘Defense’ Force (IDF). We thought they were just over exaggerated. Now that I have witnessed the destruction and immoral offences the Israeli government is cable of, I cannot imagine how any generation can live side by side and peacefully with Israel.

Hizbollah claimed a rightful victory today after 33 days of Israeli aggression. People celebrated and distributed candy in the streets as a sign of happiness. People whose houses were destroyed, whose family members were killed were for the first time capable of being proud and felt that they had some dignity. Winning a war against the ‘unbeatable IDF’ was thought to be a near impossible mission for Arabs, but Hizbollah shocked everyone with it’s capabilities.

Although Hizbollah doesn’t have a fraction of the fire power of the IDF and none of the tanks, planes, submarines or boats, they do have a heart for their country and a genuine love for justice and real peace. Not peace imposed by the US or Israel. Arabs have come to know what kind of peace the US imposes. It is the same peace in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine (also known as the largest prison in history).

People of Israel. Young men and women of Israel, I want to be your friend. We, the Lebanese youth, want to be your friends. We cannot let this hatred continue forever. Why do you accept what your government does? Does violence ever bring peace?


Tuesday 15 August 2006

Today is the second day after the start of the implementation of resolution 1701. Thousands of people are going back to their house and villages. Some of them are not so lucky and have to go back to the school they were staying at because their home was destroyed.

My friends and I decided today to go to a near-by village called Jib Jannine. We heard the school still had a lot of refugees who had come from villages near the Lebanese-Israeli border. We took our usual coloring pencils, balls, balloons and other toys and headed to the school. The kids there were really excited to see us. It was a bit challenging to gather them, but once they saw us playing with a couple of kids the rest came on their own.

Talking to the children we heard some very sad stories. Some of them went to their villages only to come back to the school because their house was destroyed. Other families didn’t want to take their kids back because of the presence of thousands of cluster bombs that are still active throughout the South (cluster bombs are illegal weapons by the way, but who am I to condemn when even the UN doesn’t say anything!).


Wednesday 16 August 2006

I didn’t really listen to any news today. In the morning, I was preparing for a weekly bible study my friends and I have which I am supposed to lead this Friday. The study is on Ruth 3 and how Ruth found a wonderful loving man called Boaz. It was a great encouragement for me to read this chapter as it reminds me that there are still righteous people in Israel. People who love and care for the well-being of others.

In the afternoon, my dad and I decided to visit the Southern Suburb in Beirut to see the destruction caused. I took my camera with me to take photos in order to show my children and possibly my grand children the kind of destruction war can cause.

When you first enter the area you immediately realize the extremely strong smell of gun powder, which explained why so many people were wearing surgical masks. Wherever you turn you see broken glass and doors and every once in a while you see a building completely destroyed. As we moved closer and closer to the middle of the suburb whole areas were destroyed. We passed a part were I think more than seven buildings next to each other were left in total ruin. Restaurants, living apartments, stores… nothing was spared. My sister asked whether Israel finished its rockets so that is why they didn’t destroy the few buildings still left unharmed, we couldn’t but just stare in wonder at the innocent questions a 7-year old can ask.

On our way to Beirut, I also took some photos of the largest bridge in Lebanon. It was rendered completely unusable. Half of it had fallen into the valley and the other half was just full of car-wide ditches. What’s really ironic is that a second road just parallel to it was not touched by Israel. They destroyed our bridge with an excuse that Hizbullah would use it to get supplies, but what about the road beside it? Is this really the case or do they just want to teach the Lebanese population a lesson? To destroy everything we worked hard to build.


Thursday 17 August 2006

Having woken up at 9am today I had a very relaxing night of sleep. Usually when I wake up I go directly to watch the news on TV, but today, I didn’t as not a lot seems to be happening the last couple of days.

Lunch was extra special. It was the first time I eat a proper home-cooked meal in almost three weeks as my mom was in Syria at her sisters where it was much safer for her and my little 7 year-old sister. In addition to a good meal I also heard some good news. Israel decided to lift its air blockade on Lebanon (at last realizing that it was illegal in the first place!). At 1pm Lebanon time the first civilian airplane was able to land in Beirut International Airport (or after Rafiq Harriri’s assassination it became named Rafiq Harriri International Airport). The sea blockade is still in effect; my hope is that they will lift it within the next few days. Fuel, food and medicines are running out in Lebanon. We urgently need to do what the Lebanese are good at doing; that is we need to start importing again.

Just before writing this entry into my diary, I was watching some news on TV. I saw the head of the Palestinian parliament locked up in chains at his feet. His hand chains were removed because he was appearing on camera. It was an unbelievable scene. How can anyone be so immoral and disrespectful as to not just imprison but lock the head of parliament of a country! Just unbelievable. Where is the west now and its calls for democracy?

The Bush administration has proven itself to be such an excellent, let me say, hypocrite. Calling for peace and democracy yet at the same time carrying out multiple wars all over the place. Saying nothing when a democratically chosen head of parliament is locked up in chains in Israel. I guess when it comes to Israel, there are no such things as human rights, democracy or even the proper meaning of the word peace. Israel is just above all International law and God’s laws.

For the last couple of days I have been actively promoting the ‘Draft Al Gore’ movement. They are a bunch of Americans who want Al Gore to run for president again in order to fix all the mess Pres Bush got the US into. I really wish he runs and wins for the benefit of world peace. He seems to be such an intelligent and moral person.


Friday 18 August 2006

Last night was a nightmare for me. During this time of year mosquitoes are all over the place and if you don’t have anti-mosquito mats it is a disaster. Unfortunately, my mosquito repeller is electrically powered and last night we didn’t have any electricity. No electricity, means no repeller, which in turn means no sleep!

Electricity is becoming very scarce now-a-days as the sea blockade continues on Lebanon. You never realize the importance of having electrical power until you lose it for 16 hours a day! No TV, no computers, no lights to read…. Nothing. You just sit there and talk with your family or stare at the tree in front of your house.

It was very quite today (although there were some jet fighters passing by every once in a while over our area). Two members of the German parliament visited us in the afternoon. They seemed to understand the situation in the Middle East very well, which really made me feel a lot better knowing that some in the German parliament know the truth.

At night we had an interesting Bible study in which we talked about husband and wife relationships and how God views that based on Ruth 3. After the study we usually have a small social in which we eat and talk. Fortunately, no one today said anything about any war related issue. It was as if nothing had/or is happening.

A couple of minutes ago I heard on the news that Israel launched a couple of air strikes in the north of the Bekaa valley. I really hope that it is not true. If it is true then Israel has broken resolution 1701 (as usual) and no one will condemn it. If Hizbollah retaliates for the airstrikes then we are in deep trouble, because according to the US lead resolution, Hizbolluh doesn’t have the right to defend itself! I always get a headache when I talk about the UN and US, especially after this war on Lebanon. There is so much injustice going on.

What really annoys my friends and I is all the lies the governments feed their people, whether in the US or Israel. Every time the people of the US oppose Pres Bush’s policy, he reminds them of the 9/11 attack and automatically labels anyone who doesn’t agree with his policy as a terrorist. He tricks the American people into thinking that they are fighting terrorists…

Tonight looks like a very bad night also. No electricity after 12, so I better have something to eat and kill the mosquitoes in my room before then.


Saturday 19 August 2006

Today I woke up early in order to listen to the news to see if the Israeli air strikes, which I heard about just before going to bed last night, were actually true. As expected, they were. It turned out that Israel attempted a raid in a village near the city of Baalbeck in an attempt to kidnap one of Hizbollah’s leaders called Mohammad Yazbik. The air strikes were used to help the Israeli soldiers escape from the scene. The failed attempt resulted in three Lebanese resistance fighters being killed and one Israeli general.

For lunch we had some family friends over. We all ate and celebrated my parents 23rd wedding anniversary. As usual, Lebanese lunch takes so long! It took us almost three hours to have lunch and then some cake, not to mention all the preparation that went on before the guests arrived!

In Lebanon, grade 9 students undergo official government exams at the end of the year the results of which are released sometime in the middle of July. This year they weren’t released in July due to war circumstances. I was sitting with one of my friends today and he got a phone call from his younger sister telling him that she had passed and had excellent grades. Grade 9 students were so relieved today to know their results. Even if they failed they still were happy because after waiting such a long time they got them!

In the evening, we had a small gathering with some friends. We discussed the war briefly and what each of us expected will happen. Some of them seemed optimistic but the rest were pessimistic especially after the Israeli raid early today, which violated resolution 1701 and greatly shook the peace process.


Sunday 20 August 2006

In the morning I went to church. I couldn’t really concentrate on the sermon because it was so hot and humid today.

For lunch today we also had guests, but this time it didn’t take so long because we were sitting outside and suddenly it began to rain! For people who don’t know the Middle East climate; the Middle East never sees rain in summer. Especially not in August! It was as if Earth was crying over what happened to Lebanon! This time I could take the car because it appears that the fuel supply is becoming normal again after it was not allowed to enter Lebanon for one month during the war due to the Israeli siege on my country.

In the afternoon I went with a couple of friends to visit our grade 9 friend who had passed with exceptional marks. It is an Arabic custom to visit people when they pass a major exam. So her mother treated us to some refreshing watermelon, juice and sweets.

At night I just sat around with some friends near our house. We talked a bit about the current situation and what might happen this week, especially after the Israeli defense minister said today that Israel is preparing for a second round of fights with Hizbollah.

As this is the last entry in my diary I would really like to wish everyone peace. All I can say is that we Lebanese, whether Christian or Muslim, want peace. We want to live in a peaceful country, feeling secure and confident that we will not be attacked any minute. Israel also wants the same. Let us work together for a peaceful Middle East keeping in mind that peace can never be reached by violence!


Timothy Kassis, An Lebanese-Syrian Evangelical Christian living in the West Bekaa, Lebanon

1 Kommentar:

Timmy Kassis hat gesagt…

Thanks guys for posting the original diary.