Difficult days, gotta keep going

by G.S.    <george.salzman@umb.edu>, 21 September 2007

this page is at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/S2/2007-09-21.htm

      Yes, these are difficult days. Everywhere the forces of fascism seem to be in ascendency. Yet I know the world is full of good people who, like me, abhor the wanton destruction of so much that is wonderful about our species. How can it be, we must ask, that humanity has evolved a set of institutions that is ripping apart the very biosphere on which all life depends? And destroying hundreds of millions – even billions – of people’s lives. I think we must somehow manage to get together, to understand deeply enough what the trouble is, and to figure out what to do in order to turn history around. And then, above all, we must act! Because time is running out.
      I’ve been mentioning personal contacts that have been very valuable to me. Here are the beginnings of a few items, two in English and the third a translation of one of them into Spanish. They deserve to be read. All three of the websites, Counterpunch, The Electronic Intifada, and Rebélion are well worth keeping an eye on. Rebélion also has material in English, in particular the important work of James Petras <jpetras@binghamton.edu>


A letter to Janet about Sabra-Shatilla

by Franklin Lamb    <fplamb@gmail.com>

Dearest Janet,

It's a very beautiful fall day here in Beirut today. Twenty-five years ago this week since the massacre at the Palestinian refugee camps at Sabra-Shatilla. Bright blue sky and a fall breeze. It actually rained last night.  Enough to clean out some of the humidity and dust.  Fortunately not enough to make the usual rain created swamp of sewage and filth on Rue Sabra, or flood the grassless burial ground of the mass grave (the camp residents named it Martyrs Square, one of several so named memorials now in Lebanon) where you once told me that on Sunday September 19, 1982, you watched, sickened, as families and Red Crescent workers created a subterranean mountain of butchered and bullet-riddled victims from those 48 hours of slaughter. Some of the bodies had limbs and heads chopped off, some boys castrated, Christian crosses carved into some of the bodies.

As you later wrote to me in your perfect cursive:

"I saw dead  women in their houses with their skirts up to their waists and their legs spread; apart; dozens of; young men shot after being lined up against an ally wall; children with their throats slit, a pregnant woman with her stomach chopped open, her eyes still wide open, her blackened face silently screaming in horror; countless babies and toddlers who had been stabbed or ripped apart and who had been thrown into  garbage piles.” . . .


The Sabra and Shatila Massacre, 16-18 September 1982

For 40 hours in September 1982, members of the Israeli-allied Lebanese Phalangist militia raped, killed, and injured a large number of unarmed civilians, mostly children, women and elderly people inside the encircled and sealed Sabra and Shatila camps. The estimate of victims varies between 700 (the official Israeli figure) to 3,500.

On 6 June 1982, the Israeli army invaded in retaliation for the attempted assassination of Israeli Ambassador Shlomo Argov in London on 4 June. The Israeli secret services had that same day attributed the attempted assassination to a dissident Palestinian organization backed by the government of Iraq, which was at the time eager to deflect world attention from its recent setbacks in the Iran-Iraq war.[1] The Israeli operation, planned well in advance, was called "Operation Peace for Galilee."

Initially, the Israeli government had announced that its intention was to penetrate just 40km into Lebanese territory. The military command, however . . .


25 años de la masacre de Sabra y Chatila

traducido del inglés por Beatriz Morales Bastos

Durante 40 horas en septiembre de 1982 miembros de la Milicia Falangista libanesa*, aliados de Israel, violaron, mataron e hirieron a una gran cantidad de civiles desarmados, la mayoría de ellos niños, mujeres y ancianos, dentro de los rodeados y sellados campos de refugiados de Sabra y Chatila. El número de víctimas (la cifra oficial dada por Israel) se calcula entre 700 y 3.500.

El 6 de junio de 1982 el ejército israelí invadió Líbano como represalia por el intento de asesinato del embajador israelí Shlomo Argov en Londres el 4 de junio. Ese mismo día los servicios secretos israelíes habían atribuido el intento de asesinato a una organización disidente palestina respaldada por el gobierno iraquí, que en aquel momento estaba deseando desviar la atención del mundo de sus recientes reveses en la guerra irano-iraquí [1]. La operación israelí, planeada mucho tiempo antes, se llamó “Operación Paz para Galilea”.

En un principio el gobierno israelí había anunciado que su intención era penetrar sólo . . .

All comments and criticisms are welcome.  <george.salzman@umb.edu>

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