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Cry for Lebanon, while Portland Sits and Stares

Hezbollah unquestionably is the world's toughest guerrilla army in this sweltering summer of 2006, sure to become a lot hotter before the fall's cooling Mediterranean breezes again course through the ruined cedars of Baalbek, Tyre, Beirut and the Bekaa Valley.
Little Outrage in Portland while Lebanon Burns
Little Outrage in Portland while Lebanon Burns
The Israeli invasion of Lebanon, recognized worldwide by repeated IDF attacks on civilian targets, is an appalling war crime. There is absolutely no justification for air strikes on and artillery shelling of population centers, apartment buildings, homes, and even passenger vehicles. These hellish attacks are nothing but horrific examples of collective punishment, pure and simple.

That's why it's so heartening -- that's right, heartening -- to see Hezbollah stand up to the IDF and give back a little mayhem in return. It's been three weeks since the madness began, yet Hezbollah is fighting Israel toe-to-toe and so far holding its own. Hezbollah unquestionably is the world's toughest guerrilla army in this sweltering summer of 2006, sure to become a lot hotter before the fall's cooling Mediterranean breezes again course through the ruined cedars of Baalbek, Tyre, Beirut and the Bekaa Valley.

For all those people ready to claim Israel as victim, responding to continued terrorist attacks and provocations, let's be clear about something. As a result of Israeli actions, Lebanon now has 1 million refugees, at least 1,000 dead and many times that number injured. The nation's economy is shattered and its infrastructure - roads, bridges, water and electrical systems - lay in ruins. By comparison, fewer than 75 Israelis have been killed and the folks in Tel Aviv are still sipping coffee in sidewalk cafes.

Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, has made a terrific blunder. His attacks on Lebanon have strengthened Hezbollah both militarily and politically. Unless Israel decides to attempt an occupation of everything south of Beirut, which remains a possibility, it has already lost this fight. Tel Aviv has no support for its actions outside of its own population and the fanatic right wing in America, which incredibly views this awful conflict as a precursor to the Second Coming. And polls already show that support starting to falter. Olmert's wild overreaction to those first border altercations will prove to be his government's unraveling.

Every day Hezbollah holds out, every day those pitiful rockets rain down on land Israel has occupied since 1948, every day the IDF remains tied down with no endgame in sight continues to expose a weakened state that cannot indefinitely support a protracted offensive action financially, militarily or politically.

Equally appalling is the clear and outright support George W. Bush, standard bearer of the US right wing, has offered Israel in this criminal action. He and Secretary of State Rice are especially flagrant in their open support to drive on Israel's invasion and foolhardy efforts at destroying the military capabilities of Hezbollah. Israel's continued violent oppression of Gaza and the democratically elected Hamas government of Palestine also qualifies as out and out war crimes.

For now, the US-backed Israeli invasion has overshadowed the unending quagmire of the American occupation in Iraq. For this, Bush undoubtedly is grateful to Israel. Just imagine that.

But for all the horrors of the past few weeks, one of the most depressing aspects has been the lack of local and vocal support for an immediate cease-fire. For a city whose progressive community once proudly claimed the title of "Little Beirut," Portland has scandalously failed to turn out decent numbers who are willing to publicly decry the Israeli war machine.

For a city that has regularly turned out tens of thousands of anti-war protesters in recent years, the People's Republic of Portland could barely muster 1,000 demonstrators at last Sunday's pro-peace rally in Pioneer Square. For a city, and by extension the nation, cowed by pro-Israeli propaganda, that lack of visible outrage is another awful crime.


(Text/photo by Lawrence J. Maushard, a 46-year-old author and journalist in SE Portland. His travels abroad include the Middle East, most recently to the Islamic Republic of Iran.)

homepage: homepage: http://www.maushard.net

thank you 04.Aug.2006 21:38

for stating the reality

of the lack of much visible outrage against the Israeli Death Machine, especially putting to point Portland's old self-proclaimed title of Little Beirut

I am trying to recall the last time a bomb was laid upon Portland during a protest, or armored tanks firing live rounds visited the city. Has the Hawthorne Bridge been blown to bits by the Police State?

Check out the photos from this pdx indymedia archive of Aug 22, 02 subtitled:
photographs of the a22 bush protest in "little beirut," portland
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2002/09/21673.shtml

then compare those photos to the conditions the Lebanese people have faced for over three weeks, the mass murders and the devastation to infrastructure that will not be quickly or easily replaced.

To have ever termed Portland as "little beirut" is a mockery to the real life struggles the Lebanese people endured in years past and present.

Totally agree with Lawrence that the lack of visible outrage IS YET ANOTHER CRIME.

Time for American Jews to Renounce Zionism 04.Aug.2006 22:23

Zionism is Nazism

For years I have tiptoed around the subject of Israel when discussing politics with American Jews, some of them friends, often quite "progressive", educated, etc. But I have found a latent support of Israel -- out of deference to family, out of simple nostalgia, the mythology spun in Uris' Exodus.

But Israel regime is morally bankrupt war criminals... certainly no better than arch war criminals Bush, Cheney, and Rummy.

Loose your fear of social propriety to anyone who defends bombing small Lebonese villages.

Mother Israel 04.Aug.2006 22:48

Monique

Hello I just wanted to say that I am Jewish and that I don't support what Mother Israel is doing. Who could support death and destruction under any circumstance none the less the bull shit that we are fed by the mainstream media everyday. Thank you

Unfortunate error 04.Aug.2006 23:08

JC

The right wing zealots support Zionism. So do our so called "friends" in Washington, the majority of Democrat office holders.

Hitler was an instrument of Zionism. Too bad most people can't understand that.

Some very helpful links:
 http://www.jewsagainstzionism.com/
www.nkusa.org

awful hyperbole 05.Aug.2006 02:44

give us a break

"Another awful crime"? That not enough people showed up for your pet event? When's the last time you saw "tens of thousands" of protesters at an anti-war rally? "Years" ago, that's right. People have figured out that policy makers in Washington don't even know where Oregon is and these protests have been accomplishing jack shit. That's not "an awful crime," that's learning from experience. Try it sometime.

Hezballah rocks 05.Aug.2006 05:24

LS

Hezballah rocks! Israel was making those stupid claims that they need 10 days to destroy Hezballah, yeah right. There have been more Israeli military deaths than Hezballah deaths. They have destroyed over 10 tanks, shot down apache helicopters and hit a warship. YES!

Olmert and Israel -- evil fascists and incredibly stupid. 06.Aug.2006 12:25

xoxoxoxoxoxo

Hezbollah killed about 14 Israeli soldiers today, while the fascist IDF killed another 8-10 civilians.

Olmert and Israel are both evil fascists and incredibly stupid. They have already lost.

Hezbollah is the legitamite representative of the Shiites in Lebanon. They are not afraid, and they will not surrender.

Good luck with that invasion, Israel. You're gonna need it.