Wednesday, August 02, 2006

bye bye beirut

just got home.. was driving like crazy... word on the street is that Israel is threatening to hit Beirut now... i feel so helpless... i called Maya, she said that if she dies today that i could keep her dvds that i'm borrowing... i told her the same.

i called my husband and told him to come home right away. if i die, i want to be in his arms...

... my little brother is here with me. he is 20 years old. he is making some tea now. he believes it is going to be ok. we are supposed to be discussing a plan he has to make t-shirts with slogans on them to raise money for the relief shelter he is volunteering at.

this could be my last entry.. maybe...

i have thought of that every time i put up an entry... but today, i am writing it with real fear in my heart.

the violence continues... the hating continues...

how can we stop this? please help to stop this.

i am only 30 years old. i have not had children. i want children. i want to live. i want to grow old with my husband... i want my children to play with my friends children... simple things, i want.

i want to breathe good air again. i want to wake up without my stomach in a knot. i want to stop coughing and vomiting. i want to continue to believe in humanity.

my head is spinning from anxiety.

i will not accept death. it is not my time. there is still so much in life to experience... i want to smile.. and laugh... simple things, i want.

i will not say goodbye... i refuse to say goodbye.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there a phone # I can call you

I live in scandinavia with kind people

we love you

please do not panic

is there bomb shelters?

any question i write sounds silly to me and i feel terrible for you

we have already demonstrated in your support and have boycott Israel

2:50 PM  
Blogger nmj said...

hello zena, a tiny step forward, protests in scotland have ensured that no more flights carrying bombs from usa to israel will be allowed to refuel at civilian airports in uk, now they must go through military airports ... of course, we do not want the bombs coming though uk at all, but our government is not listening ... i apologise so much for that... we in the uk are horrified at what is happening to lebanon ... be safe, i will keep lighting candles for you!

2:57 PM  
Blogger Ali said...

Be strong! You are not alone in Beirut and you never will be. We are all in this together. If Beirut is to be bombed it would be limited to Dahyieh. I live in Jnah and I promise you there is nothing to worry about. Your children will grow up in a better Lebanon...

3:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i live in Italy, and i swear lot of people here love Lebanon and Lebanese. Please calm down, try not to loose the Hope and don't forget in your life you'll have still many reasons to be happy: one of these is called rainbow and usually it comes after a rainy day.

Hold you and lebanese,

3:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zena - please believe, like your brother, you are going to be OK.

The fear of death is soul crushing and horrible, I remember feeling it on 9/11 and in the days after 9/11 - although what you're experiencing is vastly different I think I understand a little bit.

Just remember there is a future for you when all this is over. You will be OK. You will live. You will see your children grow up. Hold on to those things. I believe that you will be OK. We all do. Hold on to the confidence of those who love you when you can't find that confidence yourself.

- J.
New York City

4:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You will not die. Believe in this, please. Have faith in life and darkness won't touch you.


4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Zena,
I live in Italy not so far from libanon .. but people like me thinking this criminals has to be stopped feel in great majority helpless and everithing goes on like usual not realising ... today is libanon tomorrow only God knows ....
I feel so sorry for you all try and keep up with all your strength and faith

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zena, please be strong habibti, you will not die! They said they are considering bombing Beirut again, and I just saw something in the news about them needing a day or two to decide on this. they will not be insane, random raids, I'm sure they have specific targets. If you're afraid and you can move to the mountains for a few days, please do so, you don't have to endure this. In the mean time, please keep your faith strong and let's pray they decide not to do this, let's pray for a miracle.

5:39 PM  
Blogger Angel said...

Continue to be strong - around the world we are praying for this terrible devastation to stop.

Around the world we are reaching out to you in our thoughts and hugging you.

5:45 PM  
Blogger nazzal said...

you are strong & smart , you will get through .
this nightmare will pass
believe in that

and i believe i'll see you one day , soon inshallah .
and i wish that i'll obtain one of your art pcs :) that speaks about your experiances of those days .

wish you peace and god bless .

5:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the day of peace is coming. you will be there to see it. you will raise your children in a safe world. you will cuddle your grand children with love. this i believe and you must, too. as in all walks of life it is up to us to take control of our destiny. so take it back and determine to LIVE!
the day is coming when Peace will rule.
the day is coming when sanity will take charge.
the day is coming when LOVE will surround the world.
be stong and patient it will all come to pass.
Greg from Canda

5:54 PM  
Blogger albanian atlantis said...

It ain't over untill it's over.
If you loose hope then you are really dead even if you keep walking.
Keep the faith ,soon everything will end and you will be free again.
A new Middle East will born and as any birth it will be painfull but soon it will end.
Belive me.
Just keep yourself save as much as posible and do not stop dreaming and planing about your future.

6:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Chantal

axis of hatred: Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Ehud Olmert, and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni are insane and desperately killing to keep the occupied land,
that is the problem

6:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zena ... dear sister in Beirut ... indeed, I feel with you, your family, your people!!!!! What a shame people attack people!What a desaster that there is nothing and no-one what/who can stop that... I can feel your fear and I unterstand all your thoughts and feelings....
And me ... I - only - can give you symbolic help ...Zena, feel taken in "protecting" and "saving" arms... I want to make you little bit quieter ... stay and keep strong ... that´s so very much important to come thru there ... I hope and wish sooooo much to you!!!!!!
Hope to find some lines written by you tomorrow again!!!
Greetings to your husband, your brother, your parents!
I embrace you!
Me ... a German female...

6:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Zena,

My heart is with you!

6:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A little melodramatic, NO?


7:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Zena with loving thoughts...I am a Jewish American and have compassion for you and all who are suffering. I read these words from the Yehuda Berg from the Kabbalah Center and thought it might help:

"No one gets it. No one gets it.

My mother and teacher Karen Berg revealed the true secret for securing a lasting and genuine peace in the Middle East. Only when an Israeli mother cries out in pain over the suffering and deaths of Arab children, and an Arab mother cries out in pain over the suffering and deaths of Israeli children, will there be true peace.

Kabbalists are not pro-Israel, pro-Zionist, pro-Arab. Kabbalists are pro-humanity, pro-human soul, pro-God's children. This includes Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Atheists and all people who populate this planet.

Until we learn to cry tears for others only, nothing will change.

The teachings and tools of Kabbalah help us eradicate and destroy the self-centered aspect of our being that only allows us to cry for ourselves, both individually and as a particular people of specific faith. When we remove that destructive selfish part, we will have the ability to cry over the pain of our individual neighbors and other nations. With everyone concerned for one another, the hatred and conflict will cease. Paradise will be ours forever.

But no one gets it. The result? Wars and bloodshed for 2000 years.

Sometimes we win battles. Sometimes we lose battles. In both cases, the blood keeps flowing and the tears keep shedding. The idea is to win the war. And the only war is the war on one's own ego and self-interest.

Please pass this around instead of anything that only serves the interest of one people. Not because of morals. Or ethics. But because that approach has failed for 2000 years.

We are working very hard to get Zohars into Lebanon and Syria, with some success, but by no means have we done enough. If you or anyone you know is in Lebanon or Syria and would like a Zohar, or if you or someone you know can help us bring Zohars into these areas so desperate for these tools for change, please email me. With this Light we will triumph in the war against darkness"

7:26 PM  
Blogger Buthaina Alothman said...

Zena, I'm writing you while talking on the phone with my other Lebanese friends in Beirut. Yes, I heard the news earlier in the day but please remember that you are not alone. The entire world is supporting you; and I'm going to add a link to your blog on my web page, so that peace loving people anywhere learn more about the disaster caused by Isreal. Please don't panci, just pray; and inshallah things will be all right soon...

8:22 PM  
Blogger sajetta said...

I hope, Zena, that at least you can feel that we are close to you.
Stay strong.

8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have to have faith that everything will be alright. Without hope, there is nothing anyway. I'm hoping and wishing the best for you and the people of Lebaon each and every day.

8:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The world is with you. You will make it. You will tell your children about this one day, and they will give you a big hug. And we will all teach our children about peace, about Lebanon, and about peace.
-an American

9:36 PM  
Blogger jim bailey said...

You and yours must stay strong for the Lebanese people are in the right and someday, God willing, you will have peace and happiness.
I live in Mexico and would so like to hear from you.

9:42 PM  
Blogger jarvenpa said...

May you live to have strong children, and may they grow up in a peaceful world.
My thoughts are with you. I wish thoughts could shield you from bombs and pain.

10:01 PM  
Blogger Woody said...

No need to panic. We have been through tougher times. War will end soon and Lebanon will prosper again.

10:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just found your blog. I'm glad your okay, I know this must really be hard on you. My parents are in Aabadiyeh in the mountains - I talk to them a lot. Salah's parents are up in Sofar, holed up the same. My parents refused to leave.

Let me know if I can do anything from here. I'll be in DC next week and will def see Claudia, Carmen, and Talal.

Love to you,

11:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am the angel of death, and I am coming for you...

11:58 PM  
Blogger hopeful beirut said...

hey z!
remember graffitti + laughs + beer
if you need to say goodbye, say it to negative emotions + hateful people.
if you have fuel to spare, come visit me.. i promise a night of entertainment + attempted cooking.
love you, jou

12:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Zena, We're praying for u. God willing an end to this tragedy will be soon. Suleman CT. USA

12:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am from india. i came to know a lot about your beatiful country.
plz dont panic. everything will be fine one day...plz Sister, be safe as much as possible...i will pray to God.
- AB

12:58 AM  
Blogger cristina said...

I was shocked by what you've written today...don't desperate! We're all with you and if there is a God she will help us. :-)


1:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Zena,
I'm very impressed and shaken by your entries.

You have the ability to build small bridges - bridges between people, between worlds. Without these bridges, there is no guilt. So please, please, please: keep on building.

I'm sure you never wanted to find out yourself, but you might be surprised how much your body and soul can stand. Take care of you. There is another time for healing.

1:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to the "Anonymous said...

I am the angel of death, "

I am sure you are, but go and f**k yourself and leave her alone.

I have your IP asdress a**hole
You are only showing what kind of a freek you are, get life

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Human Rights Watch:

This report documents serious violations of international humanitarian law (the laws of war) by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in Lebanon between July 12 and July 27, 2006, as well as the July 30 attack in Qana. During this period, the IDF killed an estimated 400 people, the vast majority of them civilians, and that number climbed to over 500 by the time this report went to print. The Israeli government claims it is taking all possible measures to minimize civilian harm, but the cases documented here reveal a systematic failure by the IDF to distinguish between combatants and civilians.

Since the start of the conflict, Israeli forces have consistently launched artillery and air attacks with limited or dubious military gain but excessive civilian cost. In dozens of attacks, Israeli forces struck an area with no apparent military target. In some cases, the timing and intensity of the attack, the absence of a military target, as well as return strikes on rescuers, suggest that Israeli forces deliberately targeted civilians.

The Israeli government claims that it targets only Hezbollah, and that fighters from the group are using civilians as human shields, thereby placing them at risk. Human Rights Watch found no cases in which Hezbollah deliberately used civilians as shields to protect them from retaliatory IDF attack. Hezbollah occasionally did store weapons in or near civilian homes and fighters placed rocket launchers within populated areas or near U.N. observers, which are serious violations of the laws of war because they violate the duty to take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian casualties. However, those cases do not justify the IDF’s extensive use of indiscriminate force which has cost so many civilian lives. In none of the cases of civilian deaths documented in this report is there evidence to suggest that Hezbollah forces or weapons were in or near the area that the IDF targeted during or just prior to the attack.

By consistently failing to distinguish between combatants and civilians, Israel has violated one of the most fundamental tenets of the laws of war: the duty to carry out attacks on only military targets. The pattern of attacks during the Israeli offensive in Lebanon suggests that the failures cannot be explained or dismissed as mere accidents; the extent of the pattern and the seriousness of the consequences indicate the commission of war crimes.

This report is based on extensive on-the-ground research in Lebanon. Since the start of hostilities, Human Rights Watch has interviewed victims and witnesses of attacks in one-on-one settings, conducted on-site inspections (when security allowed), and collected information from hospitals, humanitarian groups, and government agencies. Human Rights Watch also conducted research in Israel, inspecting the IDF’s use of weapons and discussing the conduct of forces with IDF officials. The research was extensive, but given the ongoing war and the scope of the bombings, Human Rights Watch does not claim that the findings are comprehensive; further investigation is required to document the war’s complete impact on civilians and to assess the full scope of the IDF’s compliance with and disregard for international humanitarian law.

While not the focus of this report, Human Rights Watch has separately and simultaneously documented violations of international humanitarian law by Hezbollah, including a pattern of attacks that amount to war crimes. Between July 12, when Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers and killed eight, and July 27, the group launched a reported 1,300 rockets into predominantly civilian areas in Israel, killing 18 civilians and wounding more than 300. Without guidance systems for accurate targeting, the rockets are inherently indiscriminate when directed toward civilian areas, especially cities, and thus are serious violations of the requirement of international humanitarian law that attackers distinguish at all times between combatants and civilians. Some of these rockets, Human Rights Watch found, are packed with thousands of metal ball-bearings, which spray more than 100 meters from the blast and compound the harm to civilians.

This report analyzes a selection of Israeli air and artillery attacks that together claimed at least 153 civilian lives, or over a third of the reported Lebanese deaths in the conflict’s first two weeks. Of the 153 civilian deaths documented in this report by name, sixty-three of the victims were children under the age of eighteen, and thirty-seven of them were under ten. Israeli air strikes also killed many dual nationals who were vacationing in Lebanon when the fighting began, including Brazilian, Canadian, German, Kuwaiti, and U.S. citizens. The full death toll is certainly higher because medical and recovery teams have been unable to retrieve many bodies due to ongoing fighting and the dire security situation in south Lebanon.

The report breaks civilian deaths into two categories: attacks on civilian homes and attacks on civilian vehicles. In both categories, victims and witnesses interviewed independently and repeatedly said that neither Hezbollah fighters nor Hezbollah weapons were present in the area during or just before the Israeli attack took place. While some individuals, out of fear or sympathy, may have been unwilling to speak about Hezbollah’s military activity, others were quite open about it. In totality, the consistency, detail, and credibility of testimony from a broad array of witnesses who did not speak to each other leave no doubt about the validity of the patterns described in this report. In many cases, witness testimony was corroborated by reports from international journalists and aid workers. During site visits conducted in Qana, Srifa, and Tyre, Human Rights Watch saw no evidence that there had been Hezbollah military activity around the areas targeted by the IDF during or just prior to the attack: no spent ammunition, abandoned weapons or military equipment, trenches, or dead or wounded fighters. Moreover, even if Hezbollah had been in a populated area at the time of an attack, Israel would still be legally obliged to take all feasible precautions to avoid or minimize civilian casualties resulting from its targeting of military objects or personnel. In the cases documented in this report, however, the IDF consistently tolerated a high level of civilian casualties for questionable military gain.

In one case, an Israeli air strike on July 13 destroyed the home of a cleric known to have sympathy for Hezbollah but who was not known to have taken any active part in hostilities. Even if the IDF considered him a legitimate target (and Human Rights Watch has no evidence that he was), the strike killed him, his wife, their ten children, and the family’s Sri Lankan maid.

On July 16, an Israeli airplane fired on a civilian home in the village of Aitaroun, killing eleven members of the al-Akhrass family, among them seven Canadian-Lebanese dual nationals who were vacationing in the village when the war began. Human Rights Watch independently interviewed three villagers who vigorously denied that the family had any connection to Hezbollah. Among the victims were children aged one, three, five, and seven.

Others civilians came under attack in their cars as they attempted to flee the fighting in the South. This report alone documents twenty-seven civilian deaths that resulted from such attacks. The number is surely higher, but at the time the report went to press, ongoing Israeli attacks on the roads made it impossible to retrieve all the bodies.

Starting around July 15, the IDF issued warnings to residents of southern villages to leave, followed by a general warning for all civilians south of the Litani River, which mostly runs about 25 kilometers north of the Israel-Lebanon border, to evacuate immediately. Tens of thousands of Lebanese fled their homes to the city of Tyre (itself south of the Litani and thus within the zone Israel ordered evacuated) or further north to Beirut, many waving white flags. As they left, Israeli forces fired on dozens of vehicles with warplanes and artillery.

Two Israeli air strikes are known to have hit humanitarian aid vehicles. On July 18 the IDF hit a convoy of the Red Crescent Society of the United Arab Emirates, destroying a vehicle with medicines, vegetable oil, sugar and rice, and killing the driver. On July 23, Israeli forces hit two clearly marked Red Cross ambulances in the village of Qana.

As of August 1, tens of thousands of civilians remained in villages south of the Litani River, despite the warnings to leave. Some chose to stay, but the vast majority, Human Rights Watch found, was unable to flee due to destroyed roads, a lack of gasoline, high taxi fares, sick relatives, or ongoing Israeli attacks. Many of the civilians who remained were elderly, sick, or poor.

Israel has justified its attacks on roads by citing the need to clear the transport routes of Hezbollah fighters moving arms. Again, none of the evidence gathered by Human Rights Watch, independent media sources, or Israeli official statements indicate that any of the attacks on vehicles documented in this report resulted in Hezbollah casualties or the destruction of weapons. Rather, the attacks killed and wounded civilians who were fleeing their homes, as the IDF had advised them to do.

In addition to strikes from airplanes, helicopters, and traditional artillery, Israel has used artillery-fired cluster munitions against populated areas, causing civilian casualties. One such attack on the village of Blida on July 19 killed a sixty-year-old woman and wounded at least twelve civilians, including seven children. The wide dispersal pattern of cluster munitions and the high dud rate (ranging from 2 to 14 percent, depending on the type of cluster munition) make the weapons exceedingly dangerous for civilians and, when used in populated areas, a violation of international humanitarian law.

Statements from Israeli government officials and military leaders suggest that, at the very least, the IDF has blurred the distinction between civilian and combatant, and is willing to strike at targets it considers even vaguely connected to the latter. At worst, it considers all people in the area of hostilities open to attack.

On July 17, for example, after IDF strikes on Beirut, the commander of the Israeli Air Force, Eliezer Shkedi, said, “in the center of Beirut there is an area which only terrorists enter into.”1 The next day, the IDF deputy chief of staff, Moshe Kaplinski, when talking about the IDF’s destruction of Beirut’s Dahia neighborhood, said, “the hits were devastating, and this area, which was a Hezbollah symbol, became deserted rubble.”2

On July 27, Israeli Justice Minister Haim Ramon said that the Israeli air force should flatten villages before ground troops move in to prevent casualties among Israeli soldiers fighting Hezbollah. Israel had given civilians ample time to leave southern Lebanon, he claimed, and therefore anyone remaining should be considered a supporter of Hezbollah. “All those now in south Lebanon are terrorists who are related in some way to Hezbollah,” he said.3

International humanitarian law requires effective advance warnings to the civilian population prior to an attack, when conditions permit. But those warnings do not way relieve Israel from its obligation at all times to distinguish between combatants and civilians and to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians from harm. In other words, issuing warnings in no way entitles the Israeli military to treat those civilians who remain in southern Lebanon as combatants who are fair game for attack.

In addition to recommendations to the Israeli government and Hezbollah that they respect international humanitarian law, Human Rights Watch calls on the U.S. government immediately to suspend transfer of all arms that have been documented or credibly alleged to have been used in violation of international humanitarian law in Lebanon, as well as funding or support for such materiel, pending an end to the violations. Human Rights Watch calls upon the Iranian and Syrian governments to do the same with regards to military assistance to Hezbollah.

This report does not address Israeli attacks on Lebanon’s infrastructure or Beirut’s southern suburbs, which is the subject of ongoing Human Rights Watch research. It also does not address Hezbollah’s indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israel, which have been reported on and denounced separately and continues to be the subject of ongoing Human Rights Watch investigations. In addition, Human Rights Watch continues to investigate allegations that Hezbollah is shielding its military personnel and materiel by locating them in civilian homes or areas, and it is deeply concerned by Hezbollah’s placement of certain troops and materiel near civilians, which endangers them and violates the duty to take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian casualties. Human Rights Watch uses the occasion of this report to reiterate Hezbollah’s legal duty never to deliberately use civilians to shield military objects and never to needlessly endanger civilians by conducting military operations, maintaining troops, or storing weapons in their vicinity.

The armed conflict between Israel and Hezbollah is governed by international treaties, as well as the rules of customary international humanitarian law. Article 3 Common to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 sets forth minimum standards for all parties to a conflict between a state party such as Israel and a non-state party such as Hezbollah. Israel has also asserted that it considers itself to be responding to the actions of the sovereign state of Lebanon, not just to those of Hezbollah. Any hostilities between Israeli forces and the forces of Lebanon would fall within the full Geneva Conventions to which both Lebanon and Israel are parties. In either case, the rules governing bombing, shelling, and rocket attacks are effectively the same.


[1] Amir Buchbut and Itamar Inbari, “IDF: Hezbollah Did Not Intercept an Israeli Aircraft,” available in Hebrew at, as of July 28, 2006.

[2] Hanan Greenberg, “Three Reserve Battalions Called Up," available in Hebrew at,7340,L-3277527,00.html, as of July 28, 2006.

[3] BBC News Online, “Israel says world backs offensive” July 27, 2006

9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zena, what ever one says, what ever one fell, what ever courage one has, to see the face of a child just close her eyes and know, she has just seen her last sunrise and for sure her last sunset, has no words to courage a father let alone a mother. with eyes close and a smile of the lifeless child, shows even at death, we happy to be Lebanese and will always happy to be one. It is painfull to see how much distruction and death to such a paradise, for kids that just want to live.If you are white, black, yellow or colourless we all deserve to live. For politicians, it is not for them to live, but for them to have the barrel of the gun to raise their polls. For the last sunset of a child, for the last smile of a child, we will make other children smile and keep smiling even when we see the last sunset in their eyes..Death comes unfairly to those who died and we call it "defense or protect". For 3 prisoners or 2 soldiers, that in normal we can talk among enemies for, instead we let children see a sunset they never ask for and the world watch. The world use words as politicians are good for, while watching more children set for their last sunset. Pitty not a child of those politicians who make rules see the sunset with not another sunrise, but only the poor and kids that beg for another sunrise just accept their final sunset. In faith Zena, I am sure your children to come will see paradise with never an ending sunset...

6:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear Zena,
please see the page linked bellow, it is made for you, it's from Flickr photographs. We are more than 3,000 people all around the world, against this war! and I hope you'll join us in this.


11:46 AM  
Blogger Keri said...

My best wishes for Lebanon from New Zealand.

11:51 PM  

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