Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Be Aware

I read yesterday an interesting article in the Washington Post about Civil war it was written by Doug Tunnell. The article explains what a civil war is and how it starts. So the author mentioned the civil war in Lebanon and he wrote: "There are as many varying accounts as to where, when and why the Lebanese civil war began as there are survivors of it.

Some insist that fifteen years of violence started with an argument between a Palestinian and a Maronite Christian over a pinball machine in a sidewalk café.

Others cite the massacre of a busload of Palestinians coming home from work through a Maronite neighborhood in east Beirut.

To this day there are those who argue that Lebanon's war was not a civil war at all but rather an international conflict played out by proxy in the streets of a fragile, religiously diverse Arab state.

If the Lebanese model holds, we may still see some prolonged periods of relative calm in Iraq. But as another veteran of Beirut, New York Times correspondent John Kifner wrote not long ago, civil wars have a particular "rhythm." That rhythm makes them very different from other kinds of war, and even more difficult comprehend:

A provocation -- like the bombing of Samarra's Shiite mosque on February 22 -- is followed by an outburst of sectarian killing. Stunned by its own brutality, the populace withdraws for a time into a period of self-examination, denial and shocked disbelief. Politicians seek to break the gridlock with renewed urgency. But the respite offers provocateurs and militiamen time to regroup and rearm. They further infiltrate the police, the military and the security services. In the absence of strong central authority, neighborhoods take the law into their own hands and brace for the next attack. The violence spirals upward. Each reprisal is even more horrendous than the last.

All these steps have been described in reports from Iraq in the last month, including a proclivity for denial.

Apparently unwilling to accept the fact of a near total collapse of social order, many Lebanese chose to call their conflict "the troubles," instead of war, for years after it began.
There seems to be no universally accepted definition of a civil war. But then, civil war is in no way universal. It is brutally specific, horribly individual.
Don't look for armored columns breaking through the berm. A civil war doesn't start on a battlefield. It starts in hearts and minds".

I think that Lebanese should be aware of this reality, civil war "starts in hearts and minds". So be careful and don’t let this political “masquerade” we are watching to influence you and affect your mind and soul. And be aware of the jokes repeated without noticing its effect on our feelings. And most of all we should be careful of what we are saying in front of our children because we don't need a new generation of sectarianism in Lebanon.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Yesterday my niece (8 years old) took me aside and asked me with fear in her eyes and in a very serious tone: “Do you think that there will be a war in Lebanon?” I asked: Why do you think that?” She answered: “Because everybody is speaking about war. I just hope that March will end I will be sure then that there will be no war.” I asked: “what does March have to do with it?” She said: “Because then the national dialogue will end and the leaders will reach an agreement but if they don’t reach an agreement there will be war and we will lose everything.”


What do you think about that!!!

I was surprised. I had never expected such a dialogue between me and my niece. I always thought that the first time we would have a serious conversation it would be about a boy she likes at school or about religious stuff she doesn’t understand. But this was a surprise. I was so embarrassed because I didn’t know what to tell her. What can I say? I thought if I tell her that she is right and that a new civil war could emerge recently she will be devastated because the only reason she is asking is that she wants me to reassure her that nothing bad will happen. And if I say that nothing will happen I could be lying to her.

So I answered: “You know you shouldn’t be worrying about these things because in politics things change everyday. And if the worst thing happened there will be a war but don’t worry about it. Because when I was born there was a war in Lebanon and as you see nothing happened the war ended and we are living normally now.”

What do you think about this answer, I’m not so proud of it but I couldn’t find in that moment anything else to say.

But what if war starts something bad happened to her or to her family.

I’m not a pessimist person but looking at a worried 8 years old child that must be living with no fears makes me drop out all the hope I had inside.

So I address You “Lebanese Politicians”: Are you aware of the consequences of your mockery and childplay? Are You aware that children are panicking and parents are not sleeping at night worrying for their families? And that we are having nightmares each night remembering the civil war’s nights when we were children praying that our father could go and return safely from work.

Just remember what we endured and what your children would endure if war starts again. And get along!!!