Friday, August 11, 2006
"They Should've Just Left...."
If you are paying attention to what's happening in the Middle East right now then you have undoubtably heard every possible opinion on the Israel-Lebanon story. But here's a new one and I can't believe I heard it. Two weekends ago Israeli forces launched an attack on a Lebanese village, killing 56 civilians (mostly defensless women and children). The Israeli government justified such an abhorrent act by saying that flyers were dropped hours before the attack was launched, and the people were warned as to what was coming. That may be tue but it by no mean justifies what took place.
I got into an argument with a friend of mine who likened the Lebanese victims of this attack to the victims of Hurricane Katrina last year. She said that she didn't understand the mindset of these Lebanese villagers, that they are unwilling to leave their homes and basically stopped short of saying that it was their fault for not leaving their homes. I personally was disgusted by this mode of thinking. First off you can't compare a deliberate act of war to a natural disaster. Secondly, my friend totally takes for granted that when you are impoverished and beleagured it is difficult to just leave your home in such chaotic circumstances. It is difficult for a number of reasons: 1) you don't have the means to leave: If you are a poor Black family of 6 on wellfare in New Orleans you can't just pack up all of your Louis Vuiton bags in your SUV and go and stay in a hotel for a week. You probably don't have a car, you don't have money to be on the run for an indeterminant amount of time, and you don't have the resources to take care of your family's health and wellbeing without any support structure. 2) Where are you supposed to go? You and your family are not a nomadic tribe. If you have nowhere to go and nowhere to stay, why would you risk all the uncertainty only to become more vulnerable 3)All you have is your house and separation anxiety sets in and you may have trouble letting go and leaving.
The same goes to these Lebanese villagers: how were they supposed to get out? where were they supposed to go? who was gonna help them get out? No amount of flyers could answer these questions.
With Katrina, the US government was complicit because they knew that the storm was coming and they should have sent the national guard in to assist people with the evacuation. They should have ensured that people had the means to get out safely and take care of their families.
The Lebanese government has a responsibility to denounce Hezbollah, but the Israeli side must also realize that if they are fighting the war on terrorism, this is an unconventional war. They can't use conventional war tactics to fight an unconventional threat. Indiscriminant carpet bombings of a country is only killing innocent civilians. If they want to 'break Hezbollah' they should employ counterintelligence programs and halt their reactionary military response, because that is only provoking Hezbollah to respond with their own attack.
edit: And yeah the people in New Orleans who did evacuate and go to the Superdome and the Convention Centre as they were told were not better off. So yeah: 'They should've just left. Right?'