Lebanese Stand Their Ground Under Duress

"It is Israel which is scared. Not us. We are Lebanese..." Interview with Women in Southern Lebanon

(14 July 2006) TML DAILY interviewed two women in a village in southern Lebanon. One is a middle-aged geography teacher at the local high school who lived through the previous invasions and wars. The other is a young school teacher who was born during the previous war. Their names are being withheld for their security.

TML: What is the strategy of Israeli aerial bombing?

Speaker A: They want to cut off the roads from one place to another, so every place is isolated onto itself. They want to cut off the movement of supplies and people. It is a military siege of the people.

TML: Is the siege complete, have they been successful?

Speaker A: All the general roads are closed. They have cut off every bridge. Yet we are challenging the siege in every way we can. For example, every time they bomb a bridge, the men right away clear the river and build an ad hoc way with debris either on the bridge frame or underneath the bridge on the river.

TML: Can anyone from the south leave, reach Beirut (the first point outside the south)?

Speaker A: We have to go through secondary roads since all the main roads and bridges are closed. Every day the roads are shifting, and it is a constant challenge to know how we can travel. For example, when it would take us half an hour to reach somewhere, it now takes 3, 5, 10 hours. We travel through small alleyways, up mountains. But there is no fear for the Lebanese, they can always find a creative way.

Speaker B: There are other tricks as well. For example, if we are traveling and reach a bombed bridge that cannot be negotiated, we call our relative on the other side and they meet us on the opposite banks. Then we leave our car and cut through the actual river and travel in their car. At the next impassable bridge, we do the same so that it is like a chain helping at each point. Our cars many times are traveling not on roads but on dirt and across fields.

TML: What is the state of electricity?

Speaker A: They have bombed every electrical plant in the south. The electricity is completely down which is effecting our water supply, which depends on electricity. The water is down, and we have only what is left in our containers.

Speaker B: They are also bombing all the petroleum and gas stations, so we run out of fuel. They are also bombing the supply warehouses. In our village right now, there is enough flour to last two days. Once it is done, we will have no more bread and none will be able to reach us.

TML: What is the morale of people?

Speaker A: Everyone is with the resistance, no matter what the name of the party so long as they are resisting. Israel is bombing, and people are standing. We have no alternative anyway. Neither the international community, nor the countries of the world, nor our own government are standing with us, only the resistance. We are all sammidoun (standing our ground under duress) because if we do not do so, then no one will be able on this generous land and there will be no way to move us.

Speaker B: Israel will not have forgotten that we, the people of the south, have been the only ones to defeat them in their history, when in 1982 they also invaded our beloved country. This continues to strike terror into their hearts. They are very nervous, and there are internal problems in Israel, much desperation and fighting. This new aggression is due to this, their own confusion as to what to do.

Speaker A: They are terrified to have their ground troops enter Lebanon, for they haven't forgotten the defeat we have rendered them in history. So it seems that at times their bombs strike at random, almost as if their fear makes them forget to strategize.

TML: Are there a lot of refugees?

Speaker A: Schools are opening to give shelter to refugees from bombed areas. It is only a trickle, since it is so hard to travel. A lot of people whose homes are destroyed cannot even travel to get to a shelter. They stay where they are, living in the open air.

Speaker B: They bombed the road from Lebanon to Syria, and they have bombed the airport. This means that there is no way whatsoever to leave the country at this time. And we cannot leave through the sea, since the Israeli ships have the coast under siege and are bombing the whole coastline. So neither by land, sea nor air can we leave while every village and town is isolated from one another by the bombing of the roads. We must stand our ground, and we will fight back. It is Israel that is scared, not us, we are Lebanese.

TML: What do you ask of the international community, and Canada?

Speaker A: To wake up, to see with their bare eyes what is going on! Why does Israel have the right to self-defence but not us? Why does Israel have the right to occupy us? Why do we not have the right to defend our land? We have these rights, though the ignorant and malicious may choose to forget, we do not forget. Believe me, we have never forgotten these things, they are like our blood, they give us life.

TML: Is there anything you would like to add?

Speaker B: Let the United Nations see with its eyes and not to be intimidated. The balance of justice shows that they must stand with the Lebanese people and not Israel.

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