Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Black Saturday

Are Lebanese on the verge of committing Anti-Syrian pogroms?

(Note: The local news didn’t cover most of these stories and the government is’t coming foreward with news on what it is doing to liberate the over 40 Lebanese soldiers held by the Syrian insurgents)

Abu Gaby’s life (a pseudonym) hasn’t been the same since Saturday evening.

He’s not sleeping properly. He’s changed his daily routine – no longer using taxis after dark; “taking precautions,” as he puts it, “that I never thought about before.”

His work as a filmmaker has ground to a halt. “I’m unable to focus on anything,” he says. “I’m thinking only about how I can stay safe in this situation.”

Alex Rowell published this September 10, 2014 (Myra Abdallah contributed reporting).

Anti-Syrian pogroms point to darker future in Lebanon

With refugees now fearing for their lives, Lebanon is edging closer to breakdown

As NOW’s Rayan Majed reported Tuesday, Abu Gaby was one of dozens of Syrian refugees physically assaulted across Lebanon Saturday after news broke of the execution (slain and head detached) of a second Lebanese Army captive by Islamic State (ISIS) militants.

Hearing his Syrian accent in a shared Beirut taxi, a passenger beside him asked him his name. He replied with a fake Armenian one, hoping it would spare him.

Brandishing a knife, the passenger then grabbed him by the collar and shook him, saying, “I’m letting you go [only] because you’re Armenian.”

Under the circumstances, Abu Gaby was fortunate: many Syrians suffered far worse in the ethno-sectarian pogroms that ensued from Beirut to the south coast to the eastern Beqaa Valley.

Pictures soon surfaced of Syrian refugees and laborers lying on the streets being kicked and beaten by mobs.

In one case, residents in Baalbek tied up two men and left them as human roadblocks facing the traffic at the town’s entrance.

Meanwhile, gunmen set up flying checkpoints on several Beqaa roads, checking motorists’ IDs and detaining Sunni Muslim passengers, leading one columnist to dub it another “Black Saturday,” in reference to an infamous 1975 massacre of motorists at militia checkpoints based on sectarian identity, (and perpetrated by Christian Phalangists and of current Samir Ja3ja3 Lebanese Front).

Notices appeared on walls in numerous neighborhoods demanding the departure of all Syrians within hours, with one in Beirut’s Zoqaq al-Blat threatening those not complying with “slaughter or torture until death.”

Tents in makeshift refugee camps were torched, prompting hundreds of families in Shiite-majority areas of the Beqaa to pack up their tents and flee to Sunni regions.

A sign of how frightened those doubly-displaced Syrian refugees are is the lengths they’ve gone to conceal themselves. I

n Al-Rahma Camp, the largest Syrian refugee settlement in the central Beqaa’s Bar Elias, a representative of the charity running the camp told NOW Tuesday there were no new arrivals as a result of Saturday’s attacks.

“I heard they went to Jeb Jenin,” he said. A half-hour drive later, a camp official in Jeb Jenin assured NOW they weren’t there, either.

“I have no information on their whereabouts,” he said, echoing what the UNHCR, the Ministry of Social Affairs, the municipalities of three major refugee-hosting towns in the Beqaa, and Human Rights Watch had all said as well. “You have to understand, they’re terrified,” said Nabil al-Halabi, a lawyer and activist who runs a local human rights NGO, LIFE, working with Syrian refugees.

“They’re not willing to work with the authorities. They’re not even telling us where they are.”

 

Indeed, with reports Wednesday that the Lebanese Army itself has begun dismantling camps in the southern Tyre region, refugees’ distrust of Lebanese state institutions may yet grow more pronounced.

“I never thought this could happen to me in Lebanon,” Abu Gaby told NOW of his Saturday evening experience. “I had the same feeling as when I was arrested by Syrian intelligence in Damascus. In Lebanon, I now have the same level of fear and worry as I had in Syria.”

Should these events lead to further and long-lasting deterioration in relations between Syrian refugees and their Lebanese hosts, there could be grave social and political repercussions, analysts told NOW.

“What happened on Saturday is a first sign potentially heralding the breakdown of Lebanese society,” said Hussam Itani, columnist at Al-Hayat newspaper. “It’s very dangerous. We’re in a situation of total disconnection between the government, civil society, and all the middle grounds that could unite the Lebanese people.”

The underlying cause of this crisis, argued Itani, was repeated sectarian and political incitement against Syrian refugees by Lebanese political parties.

“These incidents were not spontaneous. They are the result of 3-and-a-half years of a discourse opposing the Syrian uprising and the Syrian people’s right to decide their fate, and categorizing the Syrian people as supporters of the Islamic State and opponents of the so-called ‘resistance.’ This created a tense atmosphere that only needed one reason to explode.”

An especial concern for the longer run is the potential future militarization of some Syrian refugees, emulating the history of Lebanon’s Palestinian refugees in the 1970s.

To be sure, 80% of Syrian refugees in Lebanon are women and children. But the worse the situation becomes, the greater is the chance of a fringe minority developing a desire to take up arms, says Itani.

“This is an important question that very few are thinking of,” he told NOW. “If things get worse, the refugees’ reaction could turn dangerous, and it could turn uncontrollable. The lack of organization of the refugees makes them vulnerable to political manipulation.”

“They might today be occupied with their daily life problems, but this doesn’t mean they might not one day join the political battlefield and defend their interests.”

Note: Lebanon political system is at a standstill for over 3 months. No president to the republic has been selected and the parliament is no longer legitimate since it has extended its tenure for 2 years and expecting to re-extend its stay without election the coming month. Only the army with scarce weapons and ammunition and Hezbollah can keep security for a while.

“The murderer as he talks” by Nasri Sayegh (Part 2, January 2, 2009)

 

Note:  The official title is “Thus Spoken a Killer“.  Since I stopped believing in prophets I decided to speak like commoners

There is no consensus of who and how the civil war was initiated in Lebanon. 

All that we know is that on April 13, 1975, a bus load of civilian Palestinians was ambushed and the passengers killed by the Christian Maronite Phalange militia. 

In the previous part we described “Black Saturday” where hundreds of Moslem workers and civilians were slaughtered in the area of Beirut maritime port. 

The Moslems reciprocated in West Beirut and set up barricades. The Christians driving through were summoned to step out of cars and a bullet lodged in their heads.  A Moslem youth of 16 had received the body of his older brother in a sac and his zeal at the barricades was indomitable.  He recounts that one driver begged him to spare his life on account that he has children; the youth spared the life of the driver; but then the driver started to run in a zig-zag fashion which upset the youth for the lack of faith and decided to shoot him.

           

The Phalangists decided to eradicate the area of Karantina, by the port, where the poorest of the poor (constituted of Kurds, Shiaa and many ethnic groups) lived precariously.  The phalanges shelled the location and then advanced behind bulldozers wearing huge crosses and the picture of the Virgin Marie. They massacred by the hundreds every inhabitant there.  And after the slaughter, Champagne was poured “a volonte” for celebration.

           

The Palestinians responded by invading the town of Damour in 1976, a coastal town, and exterminated 43 Christians and drank from the skulls of the vandalized cemetery.

           

In 1982, the Druze feudal lord, Kamal Jumblatt was assassinated. 

Within hours, the Druze “wolves” grabbed knives, axes, and any weapon they had and massacred over 300 Christians co-existing with them in the Chouf district. The Christians of all sects vacated that region. The motto was “Kamal Jumblatt death was worth that amount of sacrificial victims”

           

When Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 and entered the Capital Beirut, Israel allowed the Christian forces, lead by the infamous Samir Jagea, to return to Chouf.  Israel casually watched the counter-revenge of murders and humiliations inflicted on the Druze inhabitants. 

Then, Israel retreated from the Chouf within months and the Druze, lead by the son Walid Jumblatt, massacred the Christians regardless of political affiliations, gender or age. 

Since 1992, the Lebanese governments invested billions of dollars in an account called “The Relocation Box” and managed by the same monster of warlord Walid Jumblatt. 

Only 12% of the Christian refugees returned to Chouf and Walid Jumblatt has been using these funds as his private “War Chest” and strengthening his feudal base in Chouf and Aley.

           

When Bashir Gemayel, leader of the Maronite Lebanese Forces, was assassinated in September 1983, it was the turn of these Maronite Christians to raise the motto “Bashir death is worth over 2,000 Palestinian deaths in the camps of Sabra and Shatila” (managed, controlled, and facilitated by the Israeli forces of Sharon that totally encircled the camps). 

It would be great to read the book of Robert Fisk for details on this mass massacre that lasted two nights and three days and was covered up by the Israeli forces.

In 1986, the infamous and criminal Samir Jagea executed hundreds of Lebanese Forces prisoners who paid allegiance to another Lebanese Forces leader Elie Hobeika. (Hobeika is the same one who lead the massacre of Sabra and Shatila and who later negotiated with Syria to end the civil war, which Jagea didn’t appreciate at all; Hobeika is the same one who agreed to take the witness stand in Belgium which decided Sharon to assassinate Hobeika three years ago).

Regina Sneifer, a very remorseful leader, wrote a book about the atrocities committed by the Maronite Lebanese Forces. She said that she convinced many fighters of Elie Hobeika to surrender on account that she will intercede to Jagea; she was terribly mistaken and many of her dear friends were executed in prison. Jagea told her “If Hobeika won we would be prisoners and executed”.

(Why the 17-year civil war in Lebanon happened?

My contention is that President Sadat of Egypt was negotiating with Kissinger a peace treaty with Israel, which took effect in 1977, and Syria was against these unilateral negotiations. 

Since Lebanon was practically controlled by Hafez Assad of Syria, Lebanon had to be destabilized. 

The Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and many of the leaders of Fateh (PLO main faction) were relying mainly on the political and military support of Egypt. Actually, Arafat is known to have been an “agent” to Gamal Abul Nasser.  Arafat worked out the Lebanese civil war to weaken the Syrian influence because Arafat wanted a wider latitude of freedom in decisions.

Arafat was in visit to Egypt when the civil war broke. It was very easy to expand the civil war among 18 self-autonomous religious sects in Lebanon.  Later on, Arafat shamelessly declared from the Palestinian West Bank city of Ramallah that he used to be the “de-facto and omnipresent leader of all Lebanon”. 

As Sharon convinced Begin to invade Lebanon in order to weaken the Syrian military and political presence in Lebanon, he resumed the preemptive 1982 war to push forward and enter Beirut and the Palestinian “resistance forces” were expelled from Lebanon in 1982.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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