Wednesday, September 03, 2008

From Beirut to Bosnia - PART 1


This Month of September marks the 26th anniversary of the massacre that happened in the camps of Sabra and Shatila, I am posting these Blog in three parts with two parts from two different blogs at a time.

One blog is from Palestinian Facts with information and the second is The from Beirut to Bosnia Documentaries by Robert Fisk.

What happened at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in 1982? Part1


On September 16, 1982 the Lebanese Christian Phalangist militia entered the Beruit refugee camps called Sabra and Shatila. Their mission was authorized by the Israeli IDF, under the command of Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, that held the territory around Beruit at that point in time as a result of the June 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. The Phalangists were looking for PLO fighters who, it was feared, had avoided evacuation from Beruit by hiding among the refugees. There were estimates of perhaps 200 armed men in the camps working out of the countless bunkers built by the PLO over the years, and stocked with generous reserves of ammunition.

The Phalangists, whose Maronite Christian president, Bachir Gemayel, had just been assassinated on September 14, entered the camps on the afternoon of the 16th and carried out a 62-hour rampage of rape and murder until Saturday morning, September 18th. They were motivated by revenge for the Gemayel killing and also for the years of brutality Lebanese suffered at the hands of Palestinians during the PLO occupation of Lebanon. [Later information revealed that Gemayel was assassinated by the Syrians, who opposed his alliance with the Israelis, and not by the PLO].

When Israeli soldiers were alerted to the massacre and ordered the Phalangists out, they found hundreds dead, including as many as 35 women and children. The rest were men: Palestinians, Lebanese, Pakistanis, Iranians, Syrians and Algerians. This was a small toll when compared to the tens of thousand who had died in the years of civil war and fighting with the PLO in Lebanon, but these deaths kindled crys of outrage in Israel, and internationally outside the Middle East. Curiously, there was little protest at the time in the Arab world, although "Sabra-Shatila" has now become a mantra of the Palestinian Arabs as a code word for their allegations of Israeli brutality. Most protests were (and are) directed at the Israelis, not the the Phalangists, who perpetrated the crime.

Estimates of the number killed range from 460 according to the Lebanese police, to 700-800 calculated by Israeli intelligence. Palestinians claim 3,000 to 3,500 dead and call the action "genocide".


From Beirut to Bosnia - PART 1 - The Martyr's Smile - by Robert Fisk

Why have so many Muslims come to hate the West? In this controversial three-part series filmed in Lebanon, Gaza, Israel, Egypt, and Bosnia, Robert Fisk—award-winning Middle East and Balkans correspondent for the London Independent—reports on Muslim unrest as ideology, religion, history, and geography come into conflict. This Films for the Humanities production focuses its capable eye on Lebanon's guerilla war that aims to liberate southern Lebanon from Israeli control. The scope of this tragic conflict is brought into sharp focus in this documentary through the use of extensive interviews with participants from the Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad movements, views of civilian casualties caused by Israeli air attacks, and photographic evidence of the ongoing destruction of life and property in the region. The viewer should be advised that this video contains some disturbing scenes of this conflict.«