July 30, 2006

Remember Qana 1996 and 2006 - GRAPHIC

It was only a matter of time that the Israelis would do something to catch the World's attention. In April 1996, it was Qana. In July 2006, it appears to be Qana, again. 56 dead in one building, mostly women and children, who were too afraid to evacuate by roads that have been targeted by Isreal.

An AP reporter writes, "Heightening the anger were memories of a 1996 Israeli artillery bombardment that hit a U.N. base in Qana, killing more than 100 Lebanese who had taken refuge from fighting. That attack sparked an international outcry that forced a halt to an Israeli offensive."

Qana Video, 1996

Right: Headless remains of an infant killed by the Israeli attack on the UN compound in Qana, 1996.

Excerpt of text by Robert Fisk associated with the 1996 Qana video:

"One of the UN soldiers who saw the video being made says that neither he nor his colleagues understood in the first few seconds what was happening at Qana. "We know the Israelis are perfect in their accuracy. The previous day, when Katyushas had been fired a couple of miles away, we saw the Israeli return fire come back on the launch site with complete accuracy. We felt so safe about the Israeli artillery that we never went indoors when shells flew over.

"They knew we were here and so they never hit us. So we didn't even wear flak jackets when there were shell warnings. The Israelis knew what they were doing. And then we saw Qana and by the end, none of us believed it was an accident. Yes, the Israelis knew what they were doing. What do you think the drone' was for?"

It is at times like these that poetry is the only way to speak:

Face of Qana

The face of Qana
Pale, like that of Jesus
and the sea breeze of April…
Rains of blood.. and tears..

They entered Qana stepping on our charred bodies
Raising a Nazi flag
in the lands of the South
and rehearsing its stormy chapters
Hitler cremated them in the gas chambers
and they came after him to burn us
Hitler kicked them out of Eastern Europe
and they kicked us out of our lands

They entered Qana
Like hungry wolves
Putting to fire the house of the Messiah
Stepping on the dress of Hussain
and the dear land of the South

Blasted Wheat, Olive-trees and Tobacco
and the melodies of the nightingale
Blasted Cadmus in his bark
Blasted sea and the gulls
Blasted even hospitals
even nursing moms
and schoolboys
Blasted the beauty of the Southern women
and murdered the gardens of the honeyed eyes

We saw the tears in Ali's eyes
We heard his voice as he prayed
under the rain of bloody skies

Who ever will write about the history of Qana
Will inscribe in his parchments
This was the second Karbala

Qana unveiled what was hidden
We saw America
Wearing the old coat of a Jewish Rabbi
Leading the slaughter
Blasting our children for no reason
Blasting our wives for no reason
Blasting our trees for no reason
Blasting our thoughts for no reason
Has it been decreed in her constitution,
She, America, mistress of the world,
In Hebrew .. that she should humble us al-Arab?

Has it been decreed that each time a ruler in America
wants to win the presidency that he should kill us ..
We al Arab?

We waited for one Arab to come
pull this thorny prick from our necks
We waited for single Qureishite
A single Hashemite
A single Don Quixote
A single local hero, for whom they did not shave the moustache
We waited for a Khalid .. Tariq .. or Antara
We were eaten chatter (while engaged in vain talk)
They sent a fax
We read its text
after paying tribute
and the end of the slaughter

What does Israel fear from our cries?
What does she fear from our faxes?
The Jihad of the fax is the weakest of Jihads
It is a single text we write
for all the martyrs who left
and all the martyrs those who will come

What does Israel fear from Ibn al-Muqaffa'?
Jarir and .. Farazdaq?
And Khansa throwing her poems at the gates of the cemetery
What does she fear if we burn tires
Sign communiqu├ęs
And destroy shops
And she knows that we have never been kings of war
But were kings of chatters

What does Israel fear
from the beating of the drums
the tearing of clothes
and the scratching of cheeks
What does she fear
when she hears
the stories of `Ad and Thamud?

We are in national comma
We did not receive
Since the times of conquest
a single mail

We are a people of made of dough
The more Israel increases in her killing and terrorism
the more we increase in idleness and coldness

A Smothering Dominion
A regional dialect that increases in ugliness
and a green union that grows in isolation
Summer trees, growing barren
And borders .. whenever the whim strikes
erase other borders

Israel should slaughter us, and why not?
She should erase Hisham, Ziyad and ar-Rashid, and why not?
[Why not?] and the Banu Taghlab lusting after their women
[Why not?] and Banu Mazen lusting after their slave boys
[Why not?] and Banu Adnan dropping their trousers to their knees
debating .. necking and .. the lips!

What should Israel fear from some of al-Arab
When they became Yehuda???

by Nizar Qabbani
1923-1998, written in 1996

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