Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Blogging from the battle zone

Via Warhistorian.org I have learned of two blog sites authored from the war zone, one in Haifa and the other from Lebanon.

The Haifa site is called, "Israel-Hezbollah War" and describes itself as, "A view of the current (July 2006) Israel-Hezbollah war from an Israeli living in Haifa (under Katyusha rocket attack)."

Its author, David Lisbona, writes of what his family does when air raid sirens sound. He even posted an MP3 file of what the sirens sound like.
I don't recommend doing it near someone anxious or someone who's been in a war - Irit's daughter (who lives in Tel Aviv) turned as white as a sheet when she heard it, even though I told her it was just me. Israelis have a lot of fear. ...

[T]he alarms do have one major downside - they are in themselves very scary. Imagine if you heard a certain , very definitive loud noise several times a day bearing the message "Look, mate, you may die in a minute or so if you don't take shelter". One elderly lady already died from cardiac arrest on her way to the shelter. It's not surprising that some people prefer denial. The residents of Kiryat Shmona , an Israeli town of 20,000 people only 10 km from the Lebanese border who have suffered the worst Katyusha shelling by far in the last 10 days have only had alarms since the last few days. Before that they had no warning -residents there are supposed to stay in shelters 24 hours a day. But you can go crazy having to sit around all day in a confined space and probably more and more people have been going out for a breather. The army used to say that they couldn't provide warnings for the short-range Katyushas (like those that hit Kiryat Shmona) but now they do, and the locals are hearing 20-30 alarms a day as well as the deafening explosions when the rockets hit the ground or a house and the incessant artillery barrages from Israeli guns. God knows what this is doing to their sanity.
The Lebanese site is called simply, "The Lebanese Bloggers," written by eight Lebanese. The site's most recent entry takes note of the proposal yesterday of the Lebanese government to send 15,000 national-army soldiers to southern Lebanon (I posted about it here). Writes Lebanese author Raja,
Most people though, missed the more important development that took place yesterday – one that was subtle, but nevertheless fundamental in importance.

The major news of the day, for me at least, was the Lebanese government’s actual act of proposing a solution, as opposed to the solution itself. As if to emphasize that point even more, foreign ministers from all over the region traveled to Beirut, despite the war, and held their conference in the Lebanese Serrail (House of the Lebanese Government). These ministers’ apparently exclusive role was to show support for the Lebanese government, and to support a Lebanese initiative to bring this conflict to an end.

The message was clear, and very much needed: the way out of this mess is through the Lebanese state. Only the Lebanese state can absorb the remnants of Hizballah's military wing and subordinate it. More importantly however, the Lebanese state can only do so if it is given the opportunity, and provided with the needed resources and moral support.

Time is not on its side though. Every extra day the conflict lasts, it loses its legitimacy as a result of its impotence, and its resources are stretched to the point where even its current humanitarian functions become untenable.

I hope those seeking a diplomatic solution in New York remember that reality as they try to arrive at an agreement: the only way out of this mess is the Lebanese state. There is no other choice.
Both these sites are worth spending time reading.


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