Here’s the follow–up to my previous post on the return of prisoners. Although there are some bloggers who criticized the release of Samir Kuntar (like those linked to in the previous post), many others reflected the jubilant atmosphere in Lebanon as a result of the return of the five live Prisoners of War as well as the sense of victory felt because Israel finally handed over the bodies of 197 militants, most of which have been kept since the 1970s.
Following are some more blog links and quotes:
Kadmous posted a drawing in which the father tells the son as they move towards a map of Lebanon with a cross and a crescent depicting the unity of various religious groups in the country: “Come, my son, let's walk, we have ahead of us a victorious Arab country.” His own caption says:
“Words sometimes fail to tell the thoughts, and tears of joy are faster in the expression, after all we have seen.”
The Tajaddod Youth blog posted in Arabic the declaration of the secretary general of the Democratic Renewal Movement (Tajaddod Movement) Antoine Hadad, in which he considered that the return of the prisoners as a proud moment for Lebanon and a bright spot in the lives of the Lebanese.
Meanwhile, For a Better Lebanon expressed anger and disappointment at the president, the ministers and the political leaders because they welcomed Samir Kuntar.
Tears for Lebanon also considered that Hezbollah emerged as the main beneficiary from the swap of prisoners between Hezbollah and Israel.
The Lebanese Inner Circle, who considered the swap as a great leap for Lebanon, reminded us of the Lebanese detained in Syrian prisons:
This is an immense leap for Lebanon, as Lebanese from all sects and political camps lauded Hezbollah’s achievement in the swap deal, making Lebanon the only country to regain all its detainees from Israel. This blog should note, there still remain Lebanese detained in the most harsh Syrian jails.
Green Resistance spoke of her feelings while taking part in the welcoming of the returning PoWs:
we awaited this day – and many of us did not believe it would ever come to fruition. even until this morning, when the Israelis wanted to conduct additional DNA testing of the two bodies they had received, some of us thought that the Israelis would then backtrack and not release Samir Kuntar. for hours, we awaited their arrival at Naqoura. The moment they were released and liberated on Lebanese soil, a few friends and I jumped in our car and drove (a bit lost) to el Dahyieh to celebrate.
Bob spoke of his feelings when he saw the political leaders line up to welcome Samir Kuntar:
As most of the Lebanese politicians lined up to salute the returned prisoners, my humanity cringed… like it did when innocent children were killed in Qana, the South and even in Israel.
Angry Arab criticized the western media for giving more coverage to the 2 dead Israeli soldiers and forgetting the 197 dead Lebanese and Arabs who were returned to Lebanon:
The two dead Israeli soldiers have received more coverage than those 197 dead Arab bodies. Hell, dead Israeli soldiers receive more coverage than all the Arab living. Such are the racist standards of the White Man.
Independence 05 does not consider Samir Kuntar a hero but writes that what happened was a point gained by Hezbollah:
I have to say that I do not regard Samir Kuntar as a hero. I know saying something like this is regarded by certain Lebanese people as unpatriotic or un-Lebanese, but may I remind you that we are still in a democratic country here,… whether I agree with what they did or not is not the point here, but we have to admit, as a war action, that was a point going to Hezbollah. Hezbollah 1- 0 Israel.
Jnoubieh describes the atmosphere of jubilation and celebration that accompanied the freed prisoners and the personal presence of Nasrallah in the welcoming ceremony:
Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah refused but take part in person with hundreds of thousands of people who gathered at the Raya playground in Beirut’s southern suburb to mark the release of Samir Kintar, Maher Kourani, Khodor Zaidan, Mohammed Srour and Hussein Suleiman, who were released Wednesday in the framework of Operation Al-Redwan. […] Political, diplomatic and religious figures attended the ceremony as Lebanese and Hezbollah flags were flying sending cool breezes amidst a very hot weather. Fireworks lighted the sky of Beirut’s southern suburb; the region that was devastated during the 2006 Israeli aggression against Lebanon.
More reflections and opinions, from more Lebanese blogs, about the swap and about Samir Kuntar in the next post, so check back.