Under the Bombs – Sous les Bombes

under_the_bombs.jpgThanks to Michael B. for the heads-up about this remarkable upcoming Lebanese film centred around the Israeli attack last year, Under the Bombs/ Sous Les Bombes.

Franco-Lebanese Director Philippe Aractingi filmed during the actual conflict, commencing shooting only ten days into the 34 day war that claimed well over a thousand Lebanese lives–most of them civilians; that displaced around a million residents — about a quarter of the population; and in which the Israeli regime savagely destroyed so much of Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure. Israeli casualties were a sixth of Lebanon’s and mostly combatants.

Remarkably, he hired only two film actors, Nada Abou Farhat and Georges Khabbaz. The rest of the cast — refugees, demonstrators, civilians, NGO officials, soldiers and journalists — all play their own role.

Keep a look-out for it at your local independent cinema. The movie website features a bi-lingual summary of the film script authors, actors, film stills, and more. For now, here is the movie trailer followed by a short snippet with the Director.

Under the bombs Trailer| La bande-annonce du film libanais Sous les bombes du realisateur Philippe Aractingi (1 min 46 s)

لشريط الدعائي ل تحت القصف اخر افلام المخرج اللبناني فيليب عرقتنج

Thanks to Reclaiming space

Survivors of the Summer War – 27 Jul 07

Excellent documentary by Al Jazeera on the situation in Lebanon one year after the conflict.

URGENT: Aid to Nahr al Bared

05.28.2007 |

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

A growing humanitarian crisis is occurring in North Lebanon at the Palestinian Camp, Nahr Al Bared Camp. Heavy fighting began on Sunday 20 May, with shelling on the camp itself beginning on Tuesday, May 22. According to statistics by UNRWA, the UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees in the Near East, approximately 31,000 registered Palestinians live in the camp, although actual statistics, including the unregistered persons are closer to around 35,000.

When the fighting began many civilians remained still in the camps, caught in the cross-fire, and evacuated during a ceasefire and has continued with only sporadic gunfire afterwards. While exact figures are still unknown at this point the number, approximately 25% of the refugees are seeking refuge in UNRWA schools. The majority of families–approximately 75% have sought refuge with other families in the nearby Badawi Palestinian Camp in the North of Lebanon and increasingly refugees are streaming into Palestinian camps in Beirut–Shatila, Mar Elias, and Bourj al Barajneh.

Many civilians were injured and have chronic illnesses and hospitals as well as clinics are running low on medical supplies, as well as there are limited basic necessities for all the IDPs as they fled their camp with just the clothes on their back. The situation is extremely critical and requires additional aid and supplies to prevent a further increase to the already growing humanitarian crisis. Aside from international organizations, such as UNRWA, civil society organizations and grassroots groups–such as professors and students from the American University of Beirut, and the Committee of the Festival of the Right of Return, began immediate operations to gather supplies and take care of IDPs and support hospitals caring for the wounded.

Immediate funds are required to buy the supplies needed for the IDPs. We have adopted 50 families, whom the Nahr al Bared Relief Campaign is taking care of, by purchasing items inside the refugee camps to supply the refugees with the supplies they need (medicine, diapers, kitchen materials, clothing, and hygiene kits). While donations of clothing and other items are welcome, we feel it is important to collect cash donations as the economy of the Badawi refugee camp is already suffering because the NGOs inside the camp are bringing all their aid in from outside. Thus, we are supplying people inside Badawi, Bourj al Barajneh and Shatila camps with goods from their own community.

The Naher Al Bared Relief Campaign is working with Palestinian and grassroots organizations who are on the ground in the camps where people have fled: Badawi, Shatila, Bourj al Barajneh. We are seeking funds to assist us in our relief efforts. We are working as a grassroots organization because 80% of the relief from NGOs, including the Red Cross/Crescent and the UN, are only giving aid to refugees in the UNRWA schools, thus only reaching 25% of the population and no NGOs are on the ground in the camps in Shatila and Bourj al Barajneh as of yet. Thus far we have given food aid, medicine, hygiene kits, diapers, and baby formula to Nahr al Bared refugees who are internally displaced in four refugee camps in Lebanon. We have adopted 50 families in Shatila whom we will care for, in cooperation with Palestinian NGOs and political parties inside the camp, and we are seeking to raise $1500 per day to take care of these families. There are many more in need, and we will include more families depending on our fundraising; please consider giving us anywhere from $100 to $1000 to help support our efforts.

For more information about our project please visit:
http://nahrelbareddonations.blogspot.com/

To donate funds here are the details:

Donation Account Details For tax-deductible donations to the Nahr el Bared Relief Campaign please use the following account:

AUB Office of Development

https://rtf.aub.edu.lb/

Please make sure to specify that your donation is going to the Nahr el Bared refugees.

To contact us:

Rami Zurayk: Professor at the American University of Beirut Mobile: +961.3.733.227 rzurayk@aub.edu.lb

Rania Masri: Professor at the University of Balamand Mobile: +961.3.135.279 rania.masri@balamand.edu.lb

Marcy Newman: Professor at the American University of Beirut Mobile: +961.3.977.812 marcynewman@gmail.com

Source: Norman Finkelstein

When the Israelis do this, we scream at the injustice, but when the Lebanese army does it we applaud them.

 “In the first three days of the recent events involving the Lebanese army and Fateh el-Islam in the Nahr el-Bared camp, the Lebanese army committed what would amount to war crimes in a similar fashion to that of the Israeli army in Gaza and in Lebanon last summer, firing on a civilian population indiscriminately. When the Israelis do this, we scream at the injustice, but when the Lebanese army does it we applaud them. These are double standards.” Electronic Lebanon: Cheering to the beat of the Palestinians’ misery

Displaced children from Nahr al-Bared camp staying at an UNRWA school in Badawi camp. (Image courtesy of Marcy Newman)

What can I say? The fighting wasn’t against Fateh al-Islam. The fighting was against our homes. Our homes were destroyed. If you were to go inside the camp, and see the camp for yourself, you would say the same. No homes [are] left.

Electronic Lebanon: “They may accept us for a day or two but for how long?”

Beirut: before and after the July War

IDF commander: we fired more than 1 million cluster bombs

By Meron Rappaport

Ha’aretz Last update – 14:20 12 September 2006

“What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in cluster bombs,” the head of an IDF rocket unit in Lebanon said regarding the use of cluster bombs and phosphorous shells during the war.

Quoting his battalion commander, the rocket unit head stated that the IDF fired around 1,800 cluster bombs, containing over 1.2 million cluster bomblets.

In addition, soldiers in IDF artillery units testified that the army used phosphorous shells during the war, widely forbidden by international law. According to their claims, the vast majority of said explosive ordinance was fired in the final 10 days of the war.

MLRS is a track or tire carried mobile rocket launching platform, capable of firing a very high volume of mostly unguided munitions. The basic rocket fired by the platform is unguided and imprecise, with a range of about 32 kilometers. The rockets are designed to burst into sub-munitions at a planned altitude in order to blanket enemy army and personnel on the ground with smaller explosive rounds.

The use of such weaponry is controversial mainly due to its inaccuracy and ability to wreak great havoc against indeterminate targets over large areas of territory, with a margin of error of as much as 1,200 meters from the intended target to the area hit.

The cluster rounds which don’t detonate on impact, believed by the United Nations to be around 40% of those fired by the IDF in Lebanon, remain on the ground as unexploded munitions, effectively littering the landscape with thousands of land mines which will continue to claim victims long after the war has ended.

Because of their high level of failure to detonate, it is believed that there are around 500,000 unexploded munitions on the ground in Lebanon. To date 12 Lebanese civilians have been killed by these mines since the end of the war.

According to the commander, in order to compensate for the inaccuracy of the rockets and the inability to strike individual targets precisely, units would “flood” the battlefield with munitions, accounting for the littered and explosive landscape of post-war Lebanon.

When his reserve duty came to a close, the commander in question sent a letter to Defense Minister Amir Peretz outlining the use of cluster munitions, a letter which has remained unanswered.

‘Excessive injury and unnecessary suffering’

It has come to light that IDF soldiers fired phosphorous rounds in order to cause fires in Lebanon. An artillery commander has admitted to seeing trucks loaded with phosphorous rounds on their way to artillery crews in the north of Israel.

A direct hit from a phosphorous shell typically causes severe burns and a slow, painful death.

International law forbids the use of weapons that cause “excessive injury and unnecessary suffering”, and many experts are of the opinion that phosphorous rounds fall directly in that category.

The International Red Cross has determined that international law forbids the use of phosphorous and other types of flammable rounds against personnel, both civilian and military.

IDF: No violation of international law

In response, the IDF Spokesman’s Office stated that “International law does not include a sweeping prohibition of the use of cluster bombs. The convention on conventional weaponry does not declare a prohibition on [phosphorous weapons], rather, on principles regulating the use of such weapons.

“For understandable operational reasons, the IDF does not respond to [accounts of] details of weaponry in its possession.

“The IDF makes use only of methods and weaponry which are permissible under international law. Artillery fire in general, including MLRS fire, were used in response solely to firing on the state of Israel.”

The Defense Minister’s office said it had not received messages regarding cluster bomb fire.

http://peoplesgeography.wordpress.com/2006/09/13/some-admission-of-culpability-but-denial-still-reigns/

Israel blockade on Lebanon prevents oil spill clean-up

Posted by peoplesgeography on September 5th, 2006

by Salim Yassine Mon Sep 4, 12:49 PM ET

BEIRUT (AFP) – The Israeli blockade on Lebanon is preventing the widescale intervention needed to clean a massive oil slick caused by the Jewish state’s bombardment of a power station, Greenpeace has said.

“You have to be able to overfly Lebanese waters to pinpoint surface slicks and fuel oil deposits deeper down, as well as intervention by skimmers (cleaning boats) — and that is not possible while the blockade continues,” Greenpeace Lebanon’s spokesman Omar al-Naim told AFP Monday.”The use of pumps is also necessary, which means being able to operate freely on the surface of the sea, which is impossible because of the blockade,” Naim said.

“The more time that passes, the more the slicks are dispersed by the wind and the currents,” he added.

Naim said that unless the slicks are dealt with while they are still at sea, “the coastline will inevitably be soiled again, even if it has already been cleaned up”.

Syrian officials said on Sunday that a new oil slick had reached its shores after initial pollution at the end of July, caused by Israeli air strikes in the middle of the month against the Jiyeh power station 30 kilometres (19 miles) south of Beirut.

Two attacks by Israeli warplanes hit fuel oil storage tanks at the coastal generating station, spilling up to 15,000 tonnes of fuel into the Mediterranean and fouling three quarters of Lebanon’s 200-kilometre (124-mile) coast.

The air assaults came after Israel launched its blistering 34-day offensive on July 12 against Lebanese Shiite fighters from Hezbollah, and subsequent fires at Jiyeh burned for nearly two weeks.

The latest slick washed up on Syrian shores between the Lebanese frontier and Tartus, 260 km (161 miles) northwest of Damascus, Hassan Murjan, the head of environment services in Tartus, told AFP on Sunday.

“As long as the Lebanese coastline has not been cleaned there will be a risk for Syria,” Murjan said. “We’re waiting for the clean-up in Lebanon so we can get started again.”

According to Rick Steiner, an American expert sent to the region by the World Conservation Union at the request of the Lebanese non-governmental group Greenline, “the longer pollution lasts, the more dangerous it becomes”.

At a meeting last month in the Greek port of Pireaus, organised by the UN Environment Programme, a dozen countries promised logistical aid to battle the oil spill, considered the worst environmental catastrophe ever to befall Lebanon.

Greenpeace Mediterranean said that cleaning the massive spill could take up to a year.