Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Carnage at Cana

They say the entire Middle East is a sacred swathe of land. According to Bible -- Gospel of John – Cana is a place where Jesus Christ performed his first miracle. At a marriage ceremony, to which Christ was also invited, the family ran out of wine. Upon insistence Christ turned water into wine. Jesus' divine act saved the embarrassed hosts their day and perhaps firmly established the holiness of Christ for the first time. [Marriage at Cana: Source: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage_at_Cana]. More than 2000 years later, an Israeli laser guided bomb, in the same village of Cana, established another milepost – that of Israel’s unsurpassed crimes against humanity. Pity, there are no Prophets these days and God, by the way, is on an extended vacation.

Let us stop taking sides for a while. Imagine the plight of ordinary people caught in the middle of a vicious vortex. I felt terribly bad for the poor children – including infants -- as neighbors scrambled to pick their contused bodies from the mangled rubble of the four-story building, razed by an Israeli air strike last night. If there exists a devil, it must resemble a Zionist fighter jet, I am sure.

Southern Lebanon is the most dangerous spot on earth right now. An aggressive, unstoppable, US-sponsored Israel is on rampage in the area. Like one of those mad Spanish bulls. It hits anything that moves. Anything that slithers. Anything on two legs. Six-month old babies in their mothers’ laps. Elderly women on wheel chairs. The people killed overnight at Cana could not afford to leave their old village. They all crouched together on the ground floor of the building, hoping they would be safe. They are all dead!

New York Times reports that the two extended families staying in the house that the Israeli missile struck — the Shalhoubs and the Hashims — had discussed leaving several times over the past two weeks. But they were poor — most worked in tobacco or construction — and the families were big and many of their members weak, with a 95-year-old, two relatives in wheelchairs and dozens of children. A taxi north, around $1,000, was unaffordable. Little did the poor folks know that a sinister Israeli bomb was going to gobble them up, very soon.

The strike was a precision-guided bomb dropped from the air, the same kind of bomb that destroyed a UN position in Khiyam last week, killing four UN observers. Writing on an olive green fragment of the munition which caused the explosion read: GUIDED BOMB BSU 37/B. A precision guided missile, mind you. In more advanced terminology, that means -- the bomb is programmed what to strike and where. If Israeli extends an apology now, taking the world public opinion for a ride, we can safely consider it a farce. [Laser Guided bomb: Source: The Guardian, London. www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,1833884,00.html].

Mistakes happen once. Israel has a history of such blood-thirst. A 1996 Israeli artillery bombardment that hit a U.N. base in Cana killed more than 100 Lebanese who had taken refuge from fighting. That attack sparked an international outcry. Ten years later, the attacks didn’t come as a surprise. The same outcry? Ironically, in the context of America's war on terror, anyone claiming to be engaged in the fight against terror gets carte blanche to do as they please. We can see who is the culprit here. Can't we?

Not surprisingly, Israel was at pains to explain that -- one -- it asked the people to leave southern Lebanon and two -- there were rockets fired from near this building that was hit. The answers, I reckon, aren’t too difficult.

The road leading to the north has gotten a regular pounding by Israel, rendering it hugely unsafe. Ambulances and Red Cross cars have been taken down by the Israeli air force. The Guardian comments, Israelis blame mainly Hizbollah for using civilians as human shields. But a UN report noted many inconsistencies in the Israeli account and said it was "unlikely" the deaths were the result of technical errors (on part of Israel). It has infact been part of the Israeli propaganda factory to come ready with excuses much before it commits any of its heinous acts.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities, Voltaire, the great Frenchman once quipped.

Mrs. Hala Shalhoub, who miraculously survived the strike in Cana but lost two of her daughters, ages 1 and 5, has been moaning and rocking slightly in her hospital bed. “I want to see my children,” she said slowly. “I want to hold them.” No one attempts to console the poor mom. Let her cry, a sobbing relative says. She has after all – lost her whole world.
[Source: NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/31/world/middleeast/31scene.html]

Hope hate transforms into love. Isreali bombs into tiny ducklings.
We desperately need another miracle. Jesus!

Sameer Bhat

16 comments:

hana, Jordan said...

If this is not a war crime or a crime against humanity, then what is it? Israel has been committing numerous war crimes, crimes against humanity repeatedly for so many decades.

One may also justifiably call what Israel has been doing as genocide, ethnic cleansing, “racial” and “religious” purification. They commit these crimes without shame, and in front of our eyes. Our “humanity” and “morality” must be long dead, and our sense of justice and fairness must have long left us, if we have not been able to stop this degradation, dehumanization, and slaughter of the innocent by a cruel, brute force that respects nothing.

NickGREY said...

Sameer,

What about the Hizbollah? Should Israel just ignore rocket attacks, risking its own civilians, and bow to Hizbollah's blatant tactic of using its own Lebanese population as a human shield.

Nick

Jane, London said...

Mr Sameer

Thank you for another beautiful, insightful and thought provoking piece.

Israel's behavior is sickening beyond belief. They can make distinctions between deliberately killing civilians and what they're doing all they want.

Jane, London

Arahay Rashaad, beirut, Lebanon said...

Israel's attack in Qana on Sunday not only shredded the bodies of at least 54 civilians, mostly children - it also tore open the wounds of the recent past. The atrocity immediately conjured images of another massacre committed in the same village a little over 10 years ago, on April 18, 1996, when during "Operation Grapes of Wrath" the Israelis slaughtered 106 civilians who had taken refuge at a United Nations compound.

Although that massacre, which is commemorated in Lebanon every year, went unpunished, the Lebanese have long vowed that they will never forget it.

Thanks, sam for articulating our rage. Thank you.

Arahay R
Beirut,Lebanon

Gary, Egypt said...

hello,

My name is Gary. I am with Red Cross in Egypt.

The idea that Hezbollah uses civilians as human shields is a myth being propagated by Israeli supporters. It's time this lie was nailed.

1. Interviewed survivors are all saying that Hezbollah rockets are fired out in the country away from populated areas. None of the TV footage shown in the aftermath of an Israeli bombing has identified any rocket launcher remains or dead Hezbollah soldiers.

2. The only Israeli supplied film I've seen of the bombing of a rocket launcher showed the flash and lauch of the rockets and then the target being hit by a bomb or missile. The rocket laucher appeared to be in undergrowth and there were no buildings in the picture.

3. Conclusive proof. It doesn't make sense for Hezbollah to hide either rocket launchers or their men among civilians. Israel regards civilian deaths resulting from an attack on a legitimate target as an unfortunate consequence of war.

If Hezbollah were to hide either their men or equipment among civilians it would simply invite an attack that would inevitably kill civilians as well. The purpose of a human shield is to deter the enemy, but Israel is not deterred by the prospect of civilian deaths.

Gary, on Egypt border

Laeila, Melbourne,Australia said...

Sameer

I got the drift of your write-up. Mostly you have got your facts right but you are harsh on Isreal.

Hezbollah is not fighting by the rules. The rules are, basically, that you have to fight openly, wear uniforms, carry weapons openly, etc. You can hide physically but not pretend to be civilians; if you do pretend to be a civilian, you forfeit all protection. If you chose to fight from an inhabited place, you and you alone are responsible for the ensuing civilian casulaties.

gauri_2@htcity.com said...

An excellent, intelligent write-up.

Gauri

Steven Binge said...

CNN said this morning that Isreali video showing rockets being fired from QANA is in fact years old.Why do they not show the recent footage if they did nothing wrong.

BBC World also reported that they was no evidence to suggest that Hizbollah were deliberately firing from civillian areas.Of course this is not a war crime or an atrocity because it was not carried out by Arabs. The US decides what is an atrocity and you can rest assured this will be a small mistake.I am a peace at any price man myself as I would never like the blood of innocent children in my hands.

jeaheane, Ottawa said...

Sam
I hope you agree with me that war is always hideous. It's also wasteful, destructive, ruthless, murderous, brutal, cruel and abominable.

jeaheane, Ottawa

Prof Hannan Giravi said...

Dear Sameer,

I am glad you can write so well. It is always good to have honest guys writing with such insight.
I am a professor of political science at the cairo university in Egypt.

By tomorrow the Israeli-friendly American media will have “solid evidence” that the missile that killed the 54 civilians was “made in Iran”. That will complete the circuitous defense of blatant Israeli war crimes and divert attention to the “real enemy” Iran.

There’s nothing new in this “blame the victim” strategy. Olmert’s response was basically the same when he noted, “All the residents of Qana were warned and told to leave…(But) the village and its surrounding areas were a source for launching hundreds of rockets by Hezbollah”. Hence, Israel claims the “inalienable” right to kill civilians as it sees fit.

Israeli Justice Minister, Haim Ramon (investigated now for sexual harassment as Moshe Katsav, what a bunch of crooks, perverts and psychopaths) stated the matter even more eloquently when he said, “Everyone in southern Lebanon is a terrorist and connected to Hezbollah.”

Isn't that a pity, samer.
God bless

Prof Hanaan Giravi
Cairo Univ

Tatyyib, Hyderaabd said...

The catastrophic results of Bush's foreign policy will be seen, nay suffered, for years and decades to come. And his Secretary of State is the living proof that a PhD does not make you smarter or much less of a war criminal. And there will come a time, I hope, when Americans will also realize that Israeli terrorism is exactly the same as that of Al-Qa`idah.

Bharat, New Delhi said...

An excellent write up, to say the least.

Bharat

Karen, Stssgard. said...

sam,
The situation in Lebanon is utterly sickening and confirms once again that persons who belong in asylums are now in
charge of western policy. Nero fiddled while Rome burned: Condoleeza Rice played the piano while parts of Beirut burned and innocent children and civilians were killed by Israeli bombs.

There are crazy extremists and hatemongers in both Israel and Lebanonon but Israeli reaction to two soliders being kidnapped is quite insane and smacks of Nazi tactics. They of all people ought to have learned from history. What this war is doing is turning more and more people against Israel.

karen

Lucerno, Averio, Portugal said...

Israel is not a viable state, it would not exist for more than a month if not supported by the US taxpayers' dollars. Who pays the piper calls the tune and all Israel's actions have the approval of the US It is in fact treated as the 51st State of the Union.

Robert Suilden said...

Israel has the right to defend itself

Ishrat Qadri, Hyd'bad said...

Robert:

I hope you pass this beautiful piece of wisdom onto your child whom I am sure will be very proud of you. Right to defend, at what cost?