November 06, 2006

To make a long story not very short


Beirut Marathon, 2005 (My Dad and my son; 80 years apart)
I got a letter from my Dad. He went for a bike ride to my aunt and back again, a trip of almost 200 kilometers. (I’m from Holland, remember?) It took him two days. Anyways, my aunt gave him a bag full of apples to take back home, so he’s dragging a bag full of apples along for 100 kilometers on the back of his bike.
And so he writes stoically: ‘I hauled them, your Mom peeled them, and then burned them. To think I carried those for 100 kilometers.”
My Dad is 91 years old. Which reminds me, I signed him up for the Beirut Marathon on November 26. That would be the third time he is walking with us. I hope he gets the news in time (Pa, 26 november moet je de marathon weer lopen. Ik heb je ingeschreven samen met Adriaan).


Vehicles you get stuck behind when going down south.
(Pepsi Cola, bananas, bedoiuns, the iron rods coming from rubble, Lebanese soldiers, cement trucks, rubble, more iron from rubble, and mini buses. Lots of UN vehicles too, but they were all shopping, so didn't catch them on the road).

I wrote my story for the paper; on the rebuilding of the south, or rather the lack of the rebuilding of the south. A lot of work is being done on the infra-structure, and homes that were lightly damaged have been fixed in time for the winter. But the houses that were either totally or partially destroyed, which are over 10,000, it seems, are not being rebuild just yet. It is not necessarily because of a lack of money, although that does play a role too. It is more of a political thing. The reasoning goes as follows;

Hezbollah captures two Israeli soldiers and as a result Israel bombs us to smithereens. Although we may argue about that because some people say they were planning to bomb us to smithereens anyway, they just needed and excuse and Hezbollah (read Iran and Syria) handed it to them on a silver platter. So then the Lebanese government gets lots of money to rebuild the south, but they have no intention of handing it out to the people of the South, because those people support Hezbollah, and as long as they support Hezbollah then the government cannot force Hezbollah to disarm and as long as Hezbollah doesn’t disarm Israel has a reason to bombs us again to smithereens. And then you would need more money again to rebuild. And since the people who need to money do not get money from the government but they do get it from Hezbollah they support Hezbollah even more so then it is even less likely that they are going to get their money. In the meantime Iran and Syria want to bug the hell out of Israel, which they do with the help of Hezbollah, about which the government is very unhappy but Hezbollah (and Israel and Iran) are even unhappier that the Lebanese government supports the fact that the Americans bug the Iranians and Syrians through Lebanon. On top of that, they (people of the south) do not have much faith in this whole UNIFIL business, since the Israeli blatantly ignore them, or tease them. It seems the Germans have been shot at already twice, and they pissed the French off as well. So why rebuild if 1) the Israelis can start bombing anytime again, 2) the government doesn’t give you the money, and 3) the government and Hezbollah are on the verge of sluggin it out on the streets.
Now did I get it right?

And the news from Gaza is not good either. Times are dark. It fits with the season.

8 comments:

Charles Malik said...

What a great collection of pictures! It's so expressive. I'm always surprised by what appears in front of me in traffic in Lebanon. It could be a Lambourghini or flatbed full of blooming roses.

Leila said...

I really love this blog, and especially this post. I feel too cautious to plan travel to Lebanon in the near future, but I long to go. (My family is in MIeh-Mieh, outside of Sidon). Your pictures bring me there. Thank you.

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