There is a war going on in the Middle East - the least we can do is stay well informed. Here are some messages we received recently and want to share with you: testimonies from the civilian front line, arab news updates and links for action and protest.

this page brings posts of July 20-21.
most recent posts are here

follow these links for previous posts:
July
19 / 18 / 17 / 16 / 15 / 11 / 8 / 6

From : Emily Jacir
Date : Friday 21 July 2006 20:41
Subject : Important MEDIA initiatives in Britain and the USA (Danny Glover...) + racist subtext of evacuation story

Please do not build the wheel from scratch every time we have to deal with these situations and the media.
Today I am promoting the following group.
http://www.imagine-life.org/about.html
They are the first non-profit organization exclusively utilizing major U.S. media outlets to educate and empower communities about underrepresented human rights violations.
They are already active and in place and need our support.
You want to tell mainstream America the truth about what's going on??
Then support them in any way that you can.
THANK YOU DANNY GLOVER!!!
See his statement on the site!

And out of Britain , please check out Arab Media Watch for objective British coverage of Arab Issues. (see Victor Kattan's plea at the end of this e-mail)
(yes yes the British media are no better than the Americans in their coverage of the situation....)
http://www.arabmediawatch.com

Also check out the Institute for Middle East Understanding
Institute for Middle East Understanding provides journalists with quick access to information about Palestine and the Palestinians, as well as expert sources, both in the United States and in Palestine.
www.imeu.net

And from Electronic Intifada, two stories:
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article5152.shtml
Western Media Fail to Tell the Real Story in Lebanon

AND

Jonathan Cooks analysis of the subtext of the evacuation story though an unpacking of the BBC coverage pasted below.

Also what about the evacuation of the other nationals in Lebanon ..... India has sent over 4 navy warships to evacuate their 12,000 nationals..., Turkey, 30,000 Sri Lankans, Dhaka has asked other countries to help as they have at least 10,000 Bangladeshis, also there are 30,000 Filipinos asking other countries to help get their people out.......

Salamaat
Emily Jacir

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article5106.shtml
The racist subtext of the evacuation story

Lebanon , Gaza and the West Bank .

On BBC World, for example, we have been following the progress of one 12-year-old British boy fleeing Beirut . When he observed that he was worried for the Lebanese family members he was leaving behind, reporter Clive Myrie noted his was a "very mature attitude".

If only the BBC was demonstrating such maturity.

I have to keep reminding myself that this is BBC World, not its domestic news service. You would hardly know it watching the coverage of the past couple of days.

On Tuesday, when at least 35 Lebanese were killed -- possibly many more as no one seems to know who is lying under the rubble or has been incinerated in their fleeing cars -- we had the BBC's Ben Brown in Beirut giving a blow-by-blow account of every facet of the evacuation of foreign nationals in general and British nationals in particular.

If anyone doubted the racism of our Western media, here it was proudly on display. The BBC apparently considers their Beirut reporter's first duty to find out what meals HMS Gloucester's chef will be preparing for the evacuees. Lebanese and Palestinian civilians die unnoticed by the Western media (though not by the Arab channels) while we learn of onboard sleeping arrangements on the ship bound for Cyprus .

Did we really need to hear a lengthy live speech from the commander of HMS Gloucester telling us how "delighted" he was to be in Beirut ? With the long minutes of rolling news to fill this might have been justified had the other minutes been stuffed with reports from the areas where civilians are dying by the dozen each day. But such reports are the mean filling in the thick sandwich of the main story of the evacuees.

In the 4pm GMT broadcast, I watched 45 mins of coverage, most of it dedicated to "live" footage of the British warship's arrival and the relieved faces of the Brits about to leave.

Even so, the BBC still managed to squeeze in other bits of reporting in the lulls in the drama of evacuation. At different points there was a interview from Tel Aviv with former Israeli cabinet minister Yossi Beilin and a live link-up between Ben Brown and Lyse Doucet in Haifa . She informed us of the "barrage" of 50 Katyushas that had landed on northern Israel that day, killing one man. Supportively, Ben Brown, added that there was "shock" at the death and destruction spread by Hizbullah's rockets and opined that what the Israeli army was "really after" was Hizbullah's long-range missiles.

So we had the BBC in Haifa and Beirut speaking with one voice -- that of Israel .

Back in Beirut , Brown repeated with bafflement statements by the British ambassador that some British nationals preferred to stay put for the time being and would not be taking advantage of Israel 's "window". It occurred to neither of them that many of these British nationals have loved ones in Beirut and may not want to leave them in the coming desperate hours.

Ben Brown also told us that it was "understandable" that the British evacuees were "pretty scared" because they were not accustomed to this kind of bombing. Not like, he added, war correspondents such as himself or the people of Beirut , who had grown used to such assaults.

The outrageous racism implicit in this comment was clear the moment one paused to consider its possible meanings. Did Brown mean that the Lebanese do not mind being bombed? Did he mean that Lebanese children understand from birth that it is their fate to be attacked by Israel , that they get used to the explosions around them? Did he mean that their parents are less terrified than a British mother and father by the thought that their family might be obliterated at any moment? Or did he mean that Lebanon 's civilians will not be as traumatised by their experiences as other human beings would be?

This is the racist subtext of the foreign media's evacuations story. That once the foreigners have been moved to safety, we in the West can leave those who understand only the language violence -- the Israeli army and, apparently, the whole population of Lebanon -- to carry on with their unfinished business.

And we can be sure that this is exactly what will happen as soon as Israel 's "window" is shut. When the foreign powers no longer have even a small vested interest in the safety of Beirut , can we expect the coverage to improve? Don't hold your breath.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A plea for solidarity from Victor Kattan:


I am sure you are all watching the events unfolding in Lebanon which is teetering on the brink of destruction. Muslims and Christians of all sects are suffering from Israel 's relentless bombardment of that country. Perhaps many of you feel helpless, that you cannot do anything to stop it? Perhaps you have even signed petitions or forwarded to your friends and colleagues articles written by Robert Fisk and Guardian correspondents? Perhaps you even think the media is doing a good job …?

Well, I have to disappoint you. Everyday I monitor the British tabloids and I can tell you that the coverage is by far pro-Israel. Yes, pro-Israel. Even though hundreds of Lebanese of all faiths are dying in this conflict, it is being justified by many British tabloid editors and columnists, with the noticeable exception of the Daily Mirror which is bucking the trend and reporting the conflict admirably.  What really gets to me though are the letters from members of the public. Here we can all do more.

By a rough estimate I would say that the letters are 3- 1 in favour of what Israel is doing. People are saying things like the Arabs want to "push the Jews into the sea", Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran want to "destroy Israel ", that Israel 's response is "proportionate", that the Arabs hate Israel because it is a "democracy". Comments like this are likely to make your blood boil. But there is simply no reason why we cannot change this. We can all write decent, polite and factual letters to the press.

This is important because newspaper editors are always curious to know what the general public thinks of their stance on a particular issue. Now some of you may think why bother with the tabloids. The simply answer is this: outreach. For example, the Sun sells more copies than all of the broadsheets combined. It is not by accident that Tony Blair bends over backwards to accommodate that newspaper. It can shape public opinion. Some of you may say there is no point engaging with the Sun because it is pro-Israel. But we have to start somewhere. Already Arab Media Watch have made contact with the editors. We even persuaded them to send a correspondent to Beirut , which they have done (I even helped him get a taxi).

All I ask is that you join AMW. It is free. Our website is www.arabmediawatch.com , and a sample of our media interactions is at: http://www.arabmediawatch.com/amw/AboutUs/MediaInteractions/tabid/181/Default.aspx
Last year our website was hacked, so we lost a lot of members. In my opinion, we were hacked because we were having an impact. Our website is now more secure. But to make use of our features, such as action alerts, daily press reviews etc. you need to be a member. If you join, please remember to tick the appropriate boxes. We provide all the email addresses for individual journalists as well as the letters pages. If you really want to make an effective difference, this is a good way to do it.

Yesterday evening, Israel bombed Bourj al-Barajneh with 23 tons of explosive. No one mentioned that it is a Palestinian refugee camp. I was there exactly one year ago. It is sad and sickening to see this happen. Nobody is safe from Israel 's bombs. But the only way we can change things is by pressuring our politicians to do something – and the best way to do this is through the media.

I would be extremely grateful if you could forward this email to your lists. The more people who join us, the bigger impact we can have on shaping and changing attitudes and prejudices. Now is not a time for bickering about strategies, politics and who started what. This is a time for solidarity.

With sincere regards,

Victor Kattan
Director, Arab Media Watch

_______________________________________________________________________

From : Emily Jacir
Date : Friday 21 July 2006 16:53
Subject : a letter from Israeli filmmakers to Palestinian and Lebanese filmmakers

a letter to Palestinian and Lebanese filmmakers to coincide with the opening of the Arab Film Biennial in Paris July 22nd


(French follows)


We, the undersigned Israeli filmmakers, greet the Arab filmmakers who have gathered in Paris for the Arab Film Biennial. Through you, we wish to convey a message of camaraderie and solidarity with our Lebanese and Palestinian colleagues who are currently besieged and bombarded by our country's army.

We unequivocally oppose the brutality and cruelty of Israeli policy, which has reached new heights in recent weeks. Nothing justifies the continued occupation, closure, and oppression in Palestine . Nothing justifies the bombing of civilians and the destruction of infrastructures in Lebanon and Gaza .

Allow us to tell you that your films, which we try to see and circulate among us, are extremely important in our eyes. They enable us to know and understand you better. Thanks to these films, the men, women, and children who suffer in Gaza , Beirut , and everywhere else our army exercises its violence - have names and faces. We would like to thank you and encourage you to keep on filming, despite the difficulties.

For our part, we will continue to express through our films, with our raised voices, and in our personal actions our vehement opposition to the occupation, and we will continue to express our desire for freedom, justice, and equality among all the peoples of the region.


Nurith Aviv / Ilil Alexander / Adi Arbel  / Yael Bartana / Philippe Bellaiche / Simone Bitton / Michale Boganim / Amit Breuer / Shai Carmeli-Pollack / Sami S. Chetrit / Danae Elon / Anat Even / Jack Faber / Avner Fainguelernt / Ari Folman / Gali Gold / BZ Goldberg / Sharon Hamou / Amir Harel / Avraham Heffner / Rachel Leah Jones / Dalia Karpel / Avi Kleinberger / Elonor Kowarsky / Edna Kowarsky / Philippa Kowarsky / Ram Loevi  / Avi Mograbi / Jud Neeman / David Ofek / Iris Rubin / Abraham Segal / Nurith Shareth  / Julie Shlez / Eyal Sivan / Yael Shavit / Eran Torbiner / Osnat Trabelsi / Daniel Waxman / Keren Yedaya



Nous, cineastes israéliens , saluons tous les cineastes arabes réunis à Paris pour la Biennale du cinema arabe . A travers vous, nous voulons envoyer un message d'amitié et de solidarité à nos collegues Libanais et Palestiniens qui sont actuellement assiégés et bombardés par l'armée de notre pays.
Nous nous opposons categoriquement à la brutalité et à la cruauté de la politique israélienne, qui a atteint de nouveaux sommets au cours des dernières semaines.  Rien ne peut justifier la poursuite de l'occupation , de l'enfermement et de la repression en Palestine. Rien ne peut justifier le bombardement de populations civiles et la destruction d'infrastuctures au Liban et dans la bande de Gaza.

Permettez nous de vous dire que vos films, que nous nous efforcons de voir et de faire circuler autour de nous, sont tres importants à nos yeux. Ils nous aident à vous connaître et à vous comprendre. Grace à ces films,  les hommes, les femmes et les enfants  qui souffrent à Gaza, à Beyrouth, et partout où notre armée déploie sa violence, ont pour nous des noms et des visages.  Nous voulons vous en remercier, et vous encourager à continuer de filmer, malgré toutes les difficultés .

Quant à nous, nous nous engageons à continuer d'exprimer, par nos films, nos prises de paroles et nos actions personelles,  notre opposition catégorique à l'occupation et notre désir de liberté, de justice et d'égalité pour tous les peuples de la région.

Nurith Aviv / Ilil Alexander / Adi Arbel  / Yael Bartana / Philippe Bellaiche / Simone Bitton / Michale Boganim / Amit Breuer / Shai Carmeli-Pollack / Sami S. Chetrit / Danae Elon / Anat Even / Jack Faber / Avner Fainguelernt / Ari Folman / Gali Gold / BZ Goldberg / Sharon Hamou / Amir Harel / Avraham Heffner / Rachel Leah Jones / Dalia Karpel / Avi Kleinberger / Elonor Kowarsky / Edna Kowarsky / Philippa Kowarsky / Ram Loevi  / Avi Mograbi / Jud Neeman / David Ofek / Iris Rubin / Abraham Segal / Nurith Shareth  / Julie Shlez / Eyal Sivan / Yael Shavit / Eran Torbiner / Osnat Trabelsi / Daniel Waxman / Keren Yedaya
__________________________________________________________________

From  : nidal.amer (through jan ackenhausen)
Date  : Friday 21 July 2006 1:52
Subject  : urgence liban

http://urgence-liban.blogspot.com/

------------------------------

Nous avons urgemment besoin de vos DONS pour aider les victimes au Liban. Comment AGIR ?
Via un don au CICR (Comité International de la Croix Rouge ) qui soutient la Croix rouge libanaise. Vous pouvez faire ces dons via leur site internet et choisir le programme LIBAN , vous pouvez même dédier ce don à la mémoire ou en l'honneur d'une personne.
Un don de 20 Euro permet déjà de donner les premiers soins à un blessé de guerre pris en charge dans un poste de secours ( Plus d'exemples et images )

Voici le lien : http://www.cicr.org/web/fre/sitefre0.nsf/iwpList2/Help_the_ICRC?OpenDocument .

LE CICR a envoyé un 1 er convoi de nourriture et matériel médical ce 18/07/2006. Ils viennent en outre de demander à débloquer une aide de 10 millions de fr suisses.
Vous pouvez aussi envoyer des dons à :
-the LEBANESE RED CROSS, working on extreme rescue and evacuation operations in isolated villages all over Lebanon .
-the GREEN LINE association, working in coordination with 26 NGOs to provide relief to 6,400 displaced in 26 schools
-the FARAH EL AATA (joy of giving) association, reliefing displaced in more than 20 schools and setting up an infrastucture to provide more than 1,000 meals per day.

1) LEBANESE RED CROSS

phone: 140
  account holder: LEBANESE RED CROSS
bank: AUDI BANK
  branch: BAB IDRISS
Account number: 841500
SWIFT: AUDBLBBX

2) GREEN LINE ASSOCIATION

phone: (+961) 1 746 215
mobile: (+961) 3 581 729, (+961) 3 908 307
  -- For transfer in Lebanon :
Account Holder: Green Line Association
Account number: 61890 03
Bank Name: Bank of Kuwait and Arab world
Swift Code: BKAWLBBE
  -- For international transfer:
(in US Dollars)
To the order of the Bank of New York for the account of
The Bank of Kuwait and the Arab World
Swift code: BKAWLBBE
Account #: 61890 03
Beneficiary Green Line Association
  (in Euro)
To the order of Bank Audi Saradar Paris for the account of
The Bank of Kuwait and the Arab World
Swift code: BKAWLBBE
Account #: 61890 03
Beneficiary Green Line Association
The local bank removed all charges on international transfer to both accounts, i.e. people will only lose a charge from the corresponding/international bank but not from Bank of Kuwait and the Arab World, which hosts the accounts.

3) FARAh EL AATA (OFFRE JOIE)

mobile: (+961) 3 719 579
address:
nazaret school and sagesse school
clemenceau street
beirut
account holder: FARAH EL AATA (OFFRE JOIE)
account number: 586 816
bank: AUDI BANK
SWIFT: AUDBLBBX

____________________________________________________________________

From : Marianne YOUNES
Date : Thursday 20 July 2006 19:28
Subject : liban sud

Bonjour,

Au sud du Liban notamment à Debl, Rmeich, Ain Ebel et El Kaouzah, il y a encore des personnes qui sont restés bloquer dans les villages depuis le début du conflit. Ils n'ont ni médicaments, ni eau, ni électricté et ils sont en train de mourir de faim. Les aides n'arrivent pas car Israel bombarde tous les convois humanitaires sans exception ni distinction. Ils ont besoin de notre aide. Ne restons pas silencieux face à cette tragédie. Mobilisons-nous pour les aider.

Nous cherchons un moyen pour créer une association afin de les aider et d'acheminer des denrées alimentaires. Signez la pétiton:

http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/southlebanon

Merci

Cordialement,

Marianne YOUNES

_____________________________________________________________________

From : nat muller
Date : Thursday 20 July 2006 17:53
Subject : Out of Beirut: Exit Stamp July 17 2006

net gepost op: http://siegeoflebanon.blogspot.com/

feel free to circulate.

nat

--
Out of Beirut : Exit Stamp July 17 2006

My Lebanese exit stamp reads July 17th; it was supposed to read August 4th. It wasn't till the next day, Tuesday July 18th that I arrived with the second flight of the Dutch evacuation convoy via Aleppo at the military airbase in Eindhoven . My friends and family were relieved to see me "out of Beirut ", and escaping the violence.  The flurry of smses with these 3 simple words "are you out?" keep coming in till today, July 20th. It is strange how an exit can take on different connotations, what is deemed a lucky escape in one context, is an artistic export product in another:  "Out of Beirut " is the name of an exhibition recently held at the museum of Modern Art in Oxford .  I had made a mental note to ask my artist friends in Beirut to borrow the catalogue from them.  There was no time. Nor was there time to say goodbye to friends; it all happened so quickly.

I had only registered with the Dutch embassy on Friday July 14th; noone was picking up the phone so J. and I decided to go there.  Very few people there, just one obviously distressed Dutchman of Lebanese origin.  "I haven't been back since 26 years, and now this", he tells me.  The lady at the counter copies my passport and asks me for phone numbers.  She reassures me that now we have only reached "Phase I", and that no evacuation plans are being made.  She advises me to stay in Beirut , and not attempt to go to Syria by myself, since the embassy cannot vouch for my safety.  Fine, I wasn't thinking of leaving to Syria , despite the many phone calls of Swiss friends urging me to join them just across the border in Tartus.

In the meanwhile the situation keeps escalating, and bombs keep pounding infrastructure, the South, and the Dahiyeh; the casualties mount.  We move from Qasqas to a friend's place in Achrafieh. By now electricity is on and off.  We see the first refugees wandering around bewildered in the streets of well-to do Achrafieh. Whenever electricity is on, we are glued to the TV.  I joke that the only new Arabic word I learned this time around is "khabar ajil" (breaking news).  One wonders when news stops being news, how long it will take the world this time to turn its head away with bored media saturation; how many more atrocities have to be committed before something can be viewed as "news". There's a paralysing silence on the
part of the international community, especially the EU: no official or strong condemnation of the disproportionate use of force, absolutely nothing.

I am in the middle of an interview with Belgian national radio Sunday night, fulminating at how biased the media coverage is, when an sms of the Dutch embassy shows up on my phone: "Evacuation at 5.30 am at the Dutch embassy; bring money, passport, food, one piece of luggage." I panic: to stay/to go; how can I say goodbye to my friends?  I only have hours.  In the middle of my panic someone from Foreign Affairs in The Hague calls me. His voice is so calm and friendly, as if he rehearsed the words and tone to perfection. He inquires whether I had received the sms, whether I was fine and had any additional questions.  "Is the crossing to Syria safe", I ask him.  It takes him a few - obviously very composed moments of silence
to answer me. " Well, we cannot guarantee that." "So the only thing safeguarding us, are a few flags attached to the buses?" "Well, yes, but don't worry.  Do you have any further questions, Ma'am?"

July 17th, 5.30am. J. and I make it to the Dutch embassy.  The scene is surprisingly orderly. This has certainly changed over the past few days, as more and more foreign nationals are trying get out of the country. While queuing up to register I meet my friend Raed, an artist and musician, but now free-lancing as a cameraman for foreign TV stations. I break down in sobs; he tries to calm me down.to no avail.  "We will meet again soon, Nat, in Amsterdam or in Beirut , inshallah." I wish I could believe him. Later on, I chide myself for crying: I don't have a right to tears, with people's lives being torn apart, their houses and businesses destroyed, their loved ones gone. Where on earth do I get the arrogance to weep? My goodbye to J. is very short.  "See you soon", he says as he kisses me. I feel a pang; time has become suspended.  Who knows when "soon" will be.  We were supposed to leave together on August 4th for a holiday in Holland , now my travel companions are about 250 other Dutch nationals, many of them carrying dual citizenship.

We only manage to leave around 7.45 a .m. The coordinators had decided last minute that probably it would be a better idea to attach the Dutch flags on the roofs of the busses, rather than have them in front.  Well yes, the roof is definitely a better idea for aerial vision than the windscreen. The whole flag operation takes about an hour. The irony of it all: only a week before had we smiled upon the Lebanese passion for football during the World Cup, and the exuberant flag parade in the city of favourite teams ( Italy , Brazil , Germany , you name it). We had joked how easy and playful the bearing of a flag was: if your team loses, then you just pick another.  How exclusive and devoid of choice the bearing of a flag has become now: it can mean your ticket out, and your only guarantee of safety, or it means you cannot get out and are fully exposed to the spoils of war.

We slowly make our way out of Beirut , passing familiar places. Many people weep; it's heart-breaking. Once in the bus, I start hearing stories. One Dutch woman, fluent in Arabic, had come to the embassy with absolutely nothing. just the clothes she was wearing.  She had fled her house in Dahiyeh with her kids, not knowing whether it was still standing. Another family had been living in Lebanon for over 5 years; doing relief work in the Palestinian camps.  The decision to leave was extremely hard, but they just didn't want their kids to go through the trauma. And then of course the Lebanese-Dutch, who leave family and friends behind. But there are also a bunch of back-packers and tourists who are pragmatically sober and unaffected about it: they aren't leaving anyone behind. My neighbour turns out to be something of a distant colleague; he's an art professor teaching at the art academy in Enschede where I did a few guest lectures. He just left his Lebanese girlfriend behind; they only managed to have one day together before she moved out of the Southern suburbs, to the safety of mountains. The trip takes ages, in Tripoli we see the bombed out police station or army HQ, I cannot remember. At the border we hear Tripoli was bombed again, moments after we passed it. We get held up 5 hours at the border, which seems nothing in comparison with the 9 hours of the Italians, the previous day.  I see refugees pushing wheelbarrows filled with suitcases over the border; people just clutching flimsy plastic bags, with no possessions whatsoever. The line of busses and cars keeps getting longer and longer, the Lebanese as the Syrian officials have no way of coping with this.  How can bureaucracy matter in times like these?  At the Dutch embassy in Beirut they had distributed copies of the exit forms to us. The Lebanese officials didn't accept the copies; they wanted us to fill in the proper forms. More delay and agitation in the heat of the midday sun.  Then the Syrians make a fuss about the transit visa. I become exasperated: it was better in Beirut . We finally make it to Aleppo around 8.30pm.  More bureaucracy, this time Dutch.  They flew in an evacuation team.  The boys of the Dutch "Koninklijke Marechaussee" (the Royal Constabulary) look fresh and cleanly-shaven.  We on the other hand, are exhausted, hungry and dirty.  At 3.30am, I am finally allowed to board the second plane to the military base of Eindhoven .  The first plane took the elderly, families with small children and pregnant women.  The Dutch have chartered a Turkish charter with a Turkish crew, since it was impossible to get a Dutch carrier on such sort notice due to the holiday season.  The hostesses are made up and dressed impeccably; they smell of expensive French perfume.  It seems so absurd to me.  They beam benevolent smiles upon us as we scramble for seats. 4,5 hours later we land in Eindhoven . "Ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to Eindhoven .  Thank you for flying Freebird Airlines; we wish you a pleasant stay." The protocols of decorum seem absolutely grotesque when thinking about what's happening in Lebanon. Everything seems trivial and meaningless, and even words have  become reduced to rubble.


Nat Muller

__________________________________________________________________

From : jan ackenhausen
Date : Thursday 20 July 2006 15:01
Subject : Lebanon Relief Funds


Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I am forwarding a fundraising call by grass roots organization that is aiding in refugee relief throughout Beirut . Our government, sadly, is incapable of dealing with the pressure and the humanitarian crisis is deepening. As such, organization have formed throughout Lebanon to fill the void, and they, in concert with government services, already established NGOs and civil society groups, are working day and night to ease the situation. Your donation will go towards purchasing food, medicines, baby formula, and sanitary supplies, among many other needed essentials such as mattresses and tents. Your donation will help us continue to work with these refugees, particularly as gas prices rise and it becomes more difficult logistically, and dangerous practically, to navigate the city and its environs.

There are now 500,000 displaced people throughout the country, about 12% of the entire population of Lebanon . This number is rising. Furthermore, because of Israel 's bombing of most roads, highways, tunnels and bridges that link the country together, Lebanon is now divided into numerous cantons that are in turn segregated from each other. It is difficult to reach the hardest hit areas with humanitarian and medical relief because the roads either no longer exist or are not safe.  Many people are now trapped in their villages and cities, as food and medical supplies run low. Those who still can leave are, and many –particularly the displaced from Beirut 's southern suburbs- are seeking refuge in the city.

For those who reside abroad (outside of Lebanon )-you can contribute to the listed bank account or to an account that is based in the United States .  Wire transfers from abroad, particularly from non-Arab states, are taking a very long time to clear in Lebanon , whose banking sector is moving extremely slowly. Meanwhile, the situation worsens by the hour. If you live abroad and wish to contribute, please contact me, Maya Mikdashi, at mtm2116@columbia.edu , for the appropriate information. Your donation will be made to a US based account that we can then withdraw from immediately in Lebanon . If you choose this option, we are asking people to pool together with friends, family and colleagues and then send the donation in one transfer.

Begin forwarded Message:

http://sanayehreliefcenter.blogspot.com/

The Israeli offensive against Lebanon is an act of aggression against the collective Lebanese civilian population. The IDF claims to be attacking an "infrastructure of terror", but the attacks on bridges, roads, airports and ships are cutting the country into pieces, threatening to create a disastrous situation by impeding the transportation of food and medicines, and terrorizing everyone. Besides the hundreds killed and injured, thousands of people are fleeing the country, and thousands of people are fleeing from the areas where the bombing is heaviest into central Beirut . Even here in the "safe" parts of the city we can hear the bombs throughout the day and night, and electrical and water supplies are tenuous.

Political and civil society groups on the ground are organizing to help people deal with the effects of the invasion, but there is only so much we can do on our own. We are calling on our brothers and sisters in the rest of the world to do two things to help us. First we call on you to protest at Israeli embassies and consulates, as we hear some groups are already doing. We also ask you to send us information about any such protests you carry out.

Second, we are asking you to help us with our work with displaced people here in Beirut . The group we are part of, the Relief Center - Spears, is working in 32 displacement centers in the central areas of Beirut, which were housing more than 7,000 people as of the night of July 17th (we don't know how many thousands more are in other areas). People are sleeping 10 or 15 to a room without enough mattresses, and they are only receiving food and water irregularly from the government. There is a shortage of medical and sanitary supplies. Many of the displaced are children and the elderly.

We urgently need money to buy supplies  to help the internally displaced population here. We ask everyone who can to send donations, however small, the Relief Center – Spears by bank transfer. Please contact your bank to find out how to do this.

c/o Bassem Chit:
- Bank Name: Société Générale de Banque au Liban –
Hamra Branch
- Swift Code: SGLILBBX
- Client Name: Bassem Chit
- Account Number: 007004362092875014 or
007004367092875014

These are difficult days for everyone in Lebanon , but we are confident that with your support we can overcome this situation as we have others before.

For more information, please contact: +961 3 647
605, +961 3 670
783, sanayeh.center@gmail.com

http://sanayehreliefcenter.blogspot.com/
http://lebanonupdates.blogspot.com/

 

follow these links for previous posts:
July
19 / 18 / 17 / 16 / 15 / 11 / 8 / 6

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