Dear LCCC viewer
and reader: Below is an example of a mislead journalist and a blatant
Hezbollah forged and fabricated media evil tactic. Meanwhile the responses
emailed to the journalist and his apology proves too that truth is stronger than
lies and it is worth writing always to the media and addressing issues with
facts and courage
Canvassing South Lebanon for ways to help
The following article is an email from a group of international activists who are in Lebanon to show solidarity and assist in the rebuilding.
By Paul Larudee -Arabic American News
Beirut - Large areas of Siddiqine, Bint Jbeil and many other villages and towns are completely devastated. We spoke to one driver whose car was piled high with foam mattresses. He said he was from the local village but couldn't figure out where his house had been. I filled my camera with frame after frame of destruction, but soon realized the futility of it all, and limited myself to shots that had a unique and often ironic twist to them, such as the suggestion box framed with destruction in a recently beautiful new school where our team member Maryam had taught. I asked her a few questions while the camera was running, but the references to details of life before the invasion brought tears to her eyes where there had only been surprise. Why hit the schools?
Huge craters cut many of the roads and pulverized some areas of the towns. At least half the houses were uninhabitable, but many did not exist at all. There was talk of a special type of bomb or artillery shell that made a strange crater that was deep but not wide. Were these "bunker busters?" I took some pictures of unexploded ordnance on the ground, including a huge shell with the number 500 on it and some Hebrew writing. I'm hoping Huwaida will be able to translate it. Thankfully, I found no signs of cluster bombs, but brought back some shrapnel that is as heavy as lead but not as soft. Is it depleted uranium? I hope to find out. That is associated with "bunker busters," and it's my understanding that while the shrapnel is not particularly dangerous to handle, it turns to dust and burns when it strikes hardened steel, creating a cancerous long term environmental disaster. I hope my worst fears are unfounded.
In the village of Aita al-Shaab we found a family sifting by hand through the remains of their house. They found what they were looking for, the bodies of the grandparents, several weeks old and not all in one piece. They were no longer human beings, but rather masses of putrid, rotting flesh falling off the bones, leaving an unmistakable stench that was only partially mitigated by some coverings that the family had placed to try to preserve a shred of dignity.
In her grief, the daughter of the elderly couple launched into an indictment of George Bush and the U.S. relationship with Israel, which I was fortunate enough to capture on film:
"Let the people of America see our children. Let all Americans know what Mr. Bush has done to us, that this is his democracy, his "New Middle East." We don't blame Israelis. We have always known what they are. I have a two-year-old baby who can't stop saying, 'They broke my house. I want my house.' Can the American president answer this child? Have the American people no reaction to the gifts of Mr. Bush to the people of Lebanon? He cares more about a dog than for the killing of an entire nation. Does he want to kill the people of the Middle East to create a 'land without people'? We are the Middle East, and without us there is none. Heaven without angels is not heaven. I do not blame the Israelis. I blame Bush, who proclaims democracy and humanity and freedom and dignity, to be imposed upon the entire world with steel and fire, while he professes to believe in God. That's what I want to tell Mr. Bush. I'm looking for my Mom and Dad underneath these ruins. To me they are everything, and even a grain of the soil of this land is more honorable than Mr.Bush. He cannot rule our country even under fire. Even if we are dead, we will be free. His great technology is useless. Is this the way to use technology? Let him learn how to use technology for good. He cannot rule us this way. We are honored to give our blood for our country, even our souls and our houses. We live under the sun of freedom, while he [Bush] has no honor. We've been looking for my parents for 22 days, but of course this is of no interest to Mr. Bush. Let Americans know that the hunger that they suffer is so that Israel can have the weapons to destroy Arab countries. I hope that Americans learn the reality of what is going on. We will stay here. This is our land. We are not afraid of them and their weapons."
As we continued to survey the region, I had expected to see some of the 30,000 Israeli soldiers that were supposedly deployed there. My experience in Palestine made me think that there would be checkpoints and controls everywhere and that I would find myself face to face with Israeli troops throughout the trip. I was therefore surprised to see only three soldiers atop a tank on a hill above the road during the entire day. Even when we drove right next to the border, there was no evidence of troops on either side. This is occupation? What controls are the multinational force going to take over?
Of course there was plenty of evidence that they had been there recently. They had painted graffiti, broken into some of the homes, put their cigarettes out on the furniture, eaten the food, smashed nearly everything that could be smashed and vandalized wedding pictures and pictures of the Virgin Mary. (Just to show you the misconceptions Westerners hold about religious attitudes here, the house belonged to a Muslim man who simply liked to venerate this Christian icon of his fellow Lebanese.)
One of the most surreal parts of the trip was when we passed through the town of Ein Ebel. It was untouched, not a single bullet, shell or tank track. Not a crack in the road nor a wall overturned. It was as if the war had never happened here, and indeed in some ways it had not. This was the village of Christian allies of Israel who had served as proxy forces and torturers of their fellow citizens during Israel's invasion from 1982 to 2000. Although there are no longer any direct confrontations between them and their Hizbullah neighbors, it pays not to stir things up. On the other hand, I ventured to the rest of our team, (Ismail, who had used his car for the trip, Maryam, whose home is Siddiqine, Shirine, at whose place we had spent the night in Tyre and Aisha, an American filmmaker), that this might be the ideal place to buy gasoline; if any place might have a protected supply, this would be it.
We agreed and found the station. It was decided that as the oldest, I would do the negotiating, and that Ismail would be my "driver." I got out of the car and asked if they had gas. They said they did and asked where I was from. I said I was American and they asked how I spoke such good Arabic. I said I was married to a Lebanese. From where? Rashmaya, in the Northern Shouf mountains, from the El-Khoury family, related to the first (Christian) president of Lebanon and to the head of one of the important Christian clans of Lebanon.
Having thus shamelessly used my wife's "royalty" and played upon the Lebanese sectarianism, I found all doors open to us. We filled with gas and one of their number guided us in his car along a special route that went near his house, where he invited us to return. Although we declined, it again confirmed that if we perceive a stranger as a friend, the causes of mistrust and hatred, of Christian and Muslim, Jew and Arab, "them" and "us" turn to dust. It seems so simple.
This e-mail is in reference to Paul Larudee article published in your newspaper and Posted on the net (Canvassing South Lebanon for ways to
In Section 8th, Mr Larudee wrote and I quote him:
"One of the most surreal parts of the trip was when we passed through the town of Ein Ebel. It was untouched, not a single bullet, shell or tank track. Not a crack in the road nor a wall overturned. It was as if the war had never happened here, and indeed in some ways it had not. This was the village of Christian allies of Israel who had served as proxy forces and torturers of their fellow citizens during Israel's invasion from 1982 to 2000".
After reading this section, I was disgusted and convinced that Mr Larudee’s trip was surreal part. In fact I doubt that Mr Larudee’s passed by Ain-Ebel. Here are some of my comments on the article and Mr Larudee observations:
1.Paul Larudee misspelled the name of the village. For reference it is not Einebel it is Ain-Ebel. There are large signs posted on the streets that he claims to have driven on.2.Mr Larudee failed to mention that the town was disserted from it is people, at one point I thought he was about to say that he did stop for a drink in one of its shops. In fact American citizens with and some of them live in Michigan (Where your newspaper is published) were evacuated from Ain-Ebel to Tyr and then to the US.
3.The fact that Mr Larudee did not observe any destruction strikes me, I will reserve my comments for myself and ask you to check a sample of the destruction that Paul Larudee failed to observe
4.Mr Larudee’s accusation of Ain-Ebel being a Christian ally of Israel is a complete ferry tale that he likes to believe. We are a proud Lebanese Village and we will always remain. I would challenge Mr Larudee to quote the source of his information.
As the Chief Editor of the American Arab News, A newspaper that have been in circulation for 22 years, I urge you to correct Mr Larudee’s mistake and keep the integrity of a successful Arab newspaper published in the US.
aline atme <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Dear all i guess we all angree about what came in that article about AinEbel. i took the liberty to send him an email and got the reply, it is attached as HTML and TXT. please let me know if you have problem opening.
From: PAUL LARUDEE [email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, 21 August 2006 04:18 AM
Subject: Re: Your Article in the Arabamericannewa
You are right. I don't know all the places that have published my words, so please send my apology to wherever you found them. I will try to send it wherever possible:
I wish to offer a public apology to the people of Ain Ebel for the description and comments that I wrote recently about their village. I received many criticisms, most of them justified. My comments were ill-considered, and my suspicions insufficiently supported. I have been guilty of thoughtlessness, insensitivity and of making matters worse. It was stupid of me to say such things. I wish I could retract what is already public, but the best I can do is apologize and ask for the help of my critics in disseminating my apology to the places where they found my offensive words. I will try to make amends.
20 August, 2006
Samir Atme <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Dear Mr. Paul Larudee
After reading your article about your trip to south Lebanon and mentioned your passing through a village called EinEbel, I was very disturbed and angry about such lies and deceit, nothing you have mentioned in your article was correct, your are deceiving your fellow Americans and all the western world that you belong to, and I bet that this article only been published by your friends the Hezbollah’s of the world who live in the western civilization and they always contradict it policies and the way play politics, but I guess this is called democracy. I dare those Arab who live in the western civilization to go to an Arab country and write things about there government or dictators.
And this will bring us to the heart of the subject about EINEBEL that you have passed and you did not see any evidence about destruction or as you put it “untouched” by the bombs of Israel. I suggest you go and get you eyes and dignity as a reporter or as part of an organisation that suppose to investigate and tell the truth about things, because I think you lack of honest and unbiased judgement. Mr Larudee you are a disgrace to those entire organisation that you belong to, and I am not afraid to say this very loudly.
The fact is, that 70% of Einebel’s homes have been destroyed completely of partially, and we have the proof of it, and I would like you to follow this link for just a small sample http://www.ainebel.net/Photo%20Gallery/Ain-Ebel%20-1-/.
And the other fact is that local media was prevented from going into the town of EinEbel by the Hezbollah fighter just to cover up what they are doing and how they are shooting their rocket from between homes occupied by civilians, unfortunately the local media has to do this just to keep the tension amongst the Lebanese people down and to prevent from another civil war disaster.
I believe that an apology to EinEbel and to the Einebely people is in order.
A concerned EinEbely