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Posts Tagged ‘Testimonials of a civil war in Lebanon

Testimonials of a civil war in Lebanon: How East Saida fared?

The issue of the daily Al Balad, April 24, 2005

Salem is the son of an army soldier, and his family relocated to various regions of Lebanon during his father assignments. Thus, Salem acquired many local dialects and could converse easily with people wherever he was.

Salem’s father is from a Christian village in East Sidon and his mother is from the Chouf region. It was a rather large family of six brothers and two sisters and will expand greatly later on.

Between the years 1975-77, nothing happened in their hometown. The Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 upset the stability of the community by creating new militias that resisted Israel incursion, and encouraging other militias to take advantage and moving in to regions they had no foot hold; that was also the case with the Chouf region.

In the case of villages in East Saida, many of Christian majority, the Israeli forces allowed the “Lebanese forces” to enter in these villages.  Atrocities were committed.  As Israel troops vacated Saida, counter-offensives  dislodged the “Lebanese forces” and forced the Christian communities to seek refuge in East Beirut.

The family had to move to the shantytown of Ruwisat Jdidi in East Beirut and thus, began the vicissitudes of Salem as a fighting member of the “Lebanese Forces”:  Salem needed to earn a living to help his extended family.  He fought many battles; once, when defending the television station LBC, on Junieh Highway at the time, against other Christian factions that wanted that piece of the pie he was wounded, hospitalized for four months.  After eight months of recuperation he rejoined the militia.

Salem was confined into several barracks of Don Bosco, an old missionary school, in the region of Byblos and the monastery of Mar Chalita in Gosta.  Life in the barracks was comfortable with plenty of excellent food.

The family relocated again to Ftuh Kesurwan and Salem had difficulty with the mentality of the people there because they had not much respect for ladies as in his original region.

Salem is forty years now and lost track of his war time companions as if Earth has swallowed them all.  Many have emigrated and those who remained are trying to scratch a living with menial jobs.

He does not know if anyone secured a job with the government as they were promised.  Salem borrowed money and bought a truck to haul all kind of stuffs for a living.

Testimonials of a civil war in Lebanon:  How the city of Khiam fared?

Another town that suffered greatly in this war is the city of Khiam, a mixed town of Christians and Moslems.  Khiam is well renowned for the prison in South East Lebanon where the Israeli forces and their Lebanese allies tortured the Lebanese citizens, not to their liking or resisting their occupation.

In 1977, the Israeli tanks were stationed in Marjeyun and Klaiaa facing Khiam. The tanks entered the village without any resistance and shelled it all night long.

Yussef Ghezawi fled eastward toward the Arkoub region where the Palestinian Resistance had its bases.  The Palestinian Fedayyin did not shoot at the Israeli tanks during their maneuver toward Khiam, but waited until the Israeli took the town to fire a few rounds.

Yussef and his friend walked 100 kilometers: They fed from fruit trees on the way until they reached town of Mashghara. They resumed their trip to Nabatyeh and to West Beirut.

Ghezawi once sneaked in, back to his hometown of Khiam, to visit his family and never attempted that dangerous trip again.

Yussuf family left Khiam before the major Israeli invasion of that area in 1978 , which ended with mass slaughter in Khiam and many other towns. His elder sister died leaving 5 children.  His strong and well built grand mother did not survive her grief for being forced away from her hometown.

Yussef graduated from the teachers’ academy in 1978 and eventually was assigned a teaching job in Beirut.

The inhabitants of Khiam took refuge in the Bekaa, East and West Beirut, according to their religions and many ended up in Australia, Europe and Latin America.

Yusseh and his family moved in to Shiyyah, on the demarcation line and lived in an empty and crumbling building. The buildings had no doors, but enlarged holes were opened to enter and exit from one building to the next. Once, Yussef witnessed a military truck burning and no one daring to rescue the surviving persons because of the snipers.

Yussef was pursuing his studies in drawing and photography in the Lebanese university when Israel reached the suburbs of Beirut.  Israel occupying troops encircled the Capital Beirut and entered it after heavy shelling and air raids. When Yussef returned to his place, he found the building on the ground, totally destroyed, as well as all his drawings and art library.

When Israel allowed the people to return to Khiam, the town was completely transformed. All the trees were cut down and the town looked like a ghost town, the iron from the windows were  stolen and wild grass invading every empty space.

Jubran Suleiman was a fighter from South Lebanon. He joined the “Amal” militia and fought against the Communists and then against the “Lebanese Forces” as they attempted to enter the Southern suburbs of West Beirut in Dahieh, a stronghold of the Shiaa refugees from South Lebanon and members of Amal and Hezbollah militias.

When the Israeli forces entered the region of Hayy Sellum, Jubran acted as an idiot so that he was left free of detention. He then participated in resistance attacks against the Israeli invaders and was imprisoned with six others. He was set free with two of his inmates with the help of a Lebanese guard whom the Israeli killed later for this cooperation.

In the town of Arabsaleem, an officer of the Lahd renegade Lebanese army (allied to Israel forces) asked Jubran if he belonged to the “Amal” militia and then told him: ”Moussa Sader (the cleric founder of Amal) has all my respect”.

On arriving at a military “Amal” center, Jubran immediately submitted his car for a check in order to make sure it was not connected to a detonating charge by the Israelis.

Note: Taken from the issue of the daily Al Balad, April 23, 2005 


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