Last year, around this time, Israel was waging what it later dubbed as “Second Lebanon War” against Lebanon. So last week, most Lebanese bloggers wrote about this war. The posts were about their recollections, reflections, analysis, etc, focusing on the 33 days of summer 2006 in Lebanon. The posts reflect the diverse opinions and perspectives regarding this conflict. This summary attempts to give a sample of as wide a variety of points of view as possible. Anyway, more bloggers can be reached through links on the blogs quoted below or in previous (or later) summaries of the Lebanese blogosphere. Here we go:
Beirut Spring recalls how the war began as his family was preparing for his engagement party. He mentions how the party went on as planned on July 13, the second day of the war. In his post, which contains many links to posts during the war, he states his position at the time of the war:
We will support Hezbollah for now. We will unite behind them as long as we’re under attack. We will not criticize them publicly. They are welcome in our houses and in our cities. This is a time for unity, not squabbling.
[but after it’s all over]
We will make it clear to the world that Hezbollah is not speaking for all the Lebanese. We will make it well known that we will no longer accept unilateral decisions pertaining to war and peace
For Jamal, there was more to that war than met the eye. He sees it as one battle in a long war that has and is taking place in the region. A war which he doesn't seem to see an eminent end to:
The war did not start on July 12, 2006. I have memories of war stashed away right next to the memory of my first electronic Spelling game that my parents got me to accelerate my learning of the alphabet in the pre-kindergarten years of the pre-Atari era. The war started in the year 12 b.h.n. (before Hassan Nasrallah) and it hasn’t ended yet. The July, Lebanon’s Second, or Sixth labels are just chapter titles to distinguish the 33 days of open military warfare as opposed to the covert military ops that preceded and continued after that period.
The problem is that Israel in its current version is not compatible with peace. Maybe version 2.0 will have that option programmed into it but until then it’ll be war.
Abu Kais wrote about the physical and psychological torture that both sides of the conflict inflicted on the people of both countries:
Arab satellite networks are bombarding their viewers with documentaries on the “July war” between Hizbullah and Israel, which started on July 12, 2006. Emile Lahoud and Fouad Siniora both gave speeches on the occasion. The speeches were diametrically opposite. I won't bother quoting. Having covered that war extensively on this blog, I have not forgotten the psychological torture Nasrallah and Israel subjected us to. Torture that, naturally, pales in comparison to that lived by victims on both sides. Yes, both sides. This blogger believes in “moral equivalence shit”.
Sophia wrote in detail about her trip to Lebanon just before the war, what she saw and felt while visiting villages and town across Lebanon and how the 2006 war changed the mood into a state of despair that has not left her since:
In 12 days, we drove Lebanon from north to south, from Bcharré to Qana and the southern border, taking all the small roads and totalling some 6000 kms in a country of 200kms long and 80 kms, at most, large. I arrived to my village unannounced. I walked to my grand'parents’. The door was open, as in most village houses. My aunt came to the door and asked who we were. I said: I am your niece. We embraced while my husband and children were behind crying. I visited our empty house in the village, gathered some old pictures, talked with neighbours and old friends, took a walk to the olive orchards, trecked deep in the Qadisha valley, drove among crazy Lebanese drivers, bathed in the sea near Tyre, sampled baklavas at major Lebanese pastry stores in Tripoli and Saida, ate Falafel in Saida's souk, slept on the sound of the nearby prayer of the muezzin near Saida's souk, walked one day in the ugly Beyrouth downtown ultrarenovated as to erase the memory of any past or future wars.
The visit was like a therapy for me. But when I returned I start to be obsessed with the security situation in Lebanon, not being able to pass a day without looking at the news from there. And as the news from there were becoming more and more alarming, culminating in the 2006 Israeli agression on the country, I started to despair and I am still in this mood.
One would expect that lessons were learned by both sides of the conflict. In a lengthy analysis, MFL writes about the lessons learned by the Lebanese and the Israelis from the July. He introduces his analysis by stating that:
The July War probably will always be remembered as what Kofi Anan, when he was UN General Secretary, “the war where children died more than the combatants”. This of course was from the Lebanese side, whereby 1/3 of over 1200 martyrs were children. Till this very day, civilians are wounded or killed from cluster bombs left from the racist Zionist nation: Israel. Best archive regarding the details of the July War, situation of the refugees, attrocities of the Israelis, media war, and everything else is the official Samidoun Website.
What has happened in Lebanon since the cease-fire was declared? This is what Liliane listed in one of her posts. She talks about the sad state of affairs in Lebanon during the past year after the war was waged.
Arab Media raises the issue that, in Lebanese politics and conflicts, things are not simply black or white, as Western or American politicians sometimes imply. He uses as an example “Haifa Wehbe, Lebanon's super sexy pop starlet” to prove his point:
She is a Shiite from South Lebanon, an area that has been subjected to repeated Israeli incursions, massacres and poundings since 1948. Look at these photos [linked to in the post] and ask yourself whether she looks like an “extremist”.
Now read this article [link in post], and ask yourself why does this extreme sextress
(not extremist) support Nasrallah and the resistance?
The reason is because ordinary and sexy people around the world (not just extremists) believe that if somebody attacks you in your own homeland, as the Israelis did beginning with the Hula massacre in 1948, and subsequent incursions and attacks in 1968, 1978, 1981, 1982, 1985, 1992, 1993, 1996 and 2006, you have the right to defend yourself against aggression. It's also interesting to note that Hizbullah as a resistance movement did not come into formal existence until 1985, in the middle of Israel's 22-year-long occupation of South Lebanon (1978-2000).
Finally, MacDara recalls his experience as he and other foreign nationals were evacuated from Lebanon:
Its a year since MacDara was woken at 5.30 in the morning by two loud explosions, The Israeli’s had just bombed the Port which was five minutes from MacDara’s Apartment. The Alarm that had been set for Six as it was evacuation day was not needed and with the bags all ready packed it meant we had plenty of time to enjoy a last coffee on our Balcony and think about what we were leaving behind. We did know at the time if we would be back and we were feeling slightly guilty for leaving friends but there was never really any thought of staying.
MacDara ends his post by saying:
Once is enough and hopefully an evacuation will not be needed again.