Joint voices

WELCOME! Looking for some intelligent dialog between nationalities - a place for anyone and everyone to speak their mind, and listen to other minds, and maybe some difference, no matter how small, will be made. Welcoming more contributors! the more the better!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

No one goes untouched, and some promised answers

My uncle's best friend lost his eldest son yesterday in the Kfar Giladi attack. My parents knew the family well. Dad attended the funeral today. No Israeli family will go untouched by this war - they never do.
So far in my immediate family the stories are touching but not tragic, thank god, knock on wood. One of my cousin had just proposed to his girlfriend and then was drafted up north. On Friday I was the designated photographer at my nephew's 4th birthday. This is another cousin's son - her husband managed to get a 24 hour leave from his post, he was drafted north earlier this week. Let's hope they get to take that vacation they cancelled (they meant to fly at the end of this week), soon.

My apologies for the slight delays in my blogging plans as I'm at my parents' since yesterday with a slight illness, so tonight I'm writing a 20 minute drive north-east from Tel Aviv. Grandma called frightened before, there are many war planes circling this area (gran lives a few blocks away). But so far it seems we are safe.

And tonight? Lebanon has agreed to send troops to its southern border. Supposedly Hizballah has agreed. Are these signs of hope? signs of promise? the possibility of a cease fire actually being accepted? I remain careful so far. I will believe it only when I see it.

Now for some answers to some comments I got on this blog (was going to answer by talkback in each post, but it's been too long so I bunched everything together on this post). First of all, thanks again for all the support, we all need it- all thos brazilians out there reading, you guys are awsome, obrigada! :)

To Carlos from Brazil:
1/4 of the population is homeless is about right. 2 million Israelis live in the north of the country, out of a population of 7 million. That is even more than a quarter. In the past 3 weeks, almost a month now, many have fled south. They are refugees, either staying with friends, family or strangers volunteering shelter in their homes (listings have opened up on papers and internet advertising sources) or at hotels. Those who cannot afford a hotel and have not found another solution are staying in refugee tent camps around the country or in schools the municipalities have opened up (it is summer vacation). Many cannot afford staying at hotels as the war progresses. And there are those who have no acquaintances in the south, and cannot even afford the commute. Kiryat Shmona is a pretty poor town, as are many Northern towns and villages - especially since much of their income is based on the summer tourism which is now gone. I know of one family of 8 who simply doesn't have the money for the bus ride. The goverment fails to properly take care of everyone, as always. Those people have not left their bomb shelters since the war began. They have been sharing the small, closed up, underground spaces with other families, hardly ever seeing daylight for almost a month. They are lacking in basics like clean water and diapers - one of the major diaper factories is in Nahariya and therefore shutdown now - and are relying on volunteer supplies. They do not know when they we'll see their homes again. Everyone I know up north has come here.
The following video, though biased, shows much of what life has become for the northerners: Just ignore the narration as it is quite biased and even gets its facts wrong, but the rest is authentic.

As for the real cause of this war... well these days everything is blurred. But no, it is not just about the soldiers. You see, to the Israelis, the soldiers are not an isolated incident. It is just another in a long line of terrorism incidents we suffer here for many years - the soldier Gilad Shalit abducted in Gaza just days before (it is impossible to ignore the connection), rocket attacks in on southern towns and up north, suicide bombers, it goes as far back as the soldiers abducted in 2000 just months after the IDF ended its 18 year occupation of southern Lebanon. To Israelis, it is a war against never-ending terrorism. An escalation of a war we are already in, for a long time. It is about being unwilling to put up with it anymore. It is about putting a stop to it once and for all. Maybe it's not working, maybe we're going about it in the wrong way - but that is the intent. We had no choice but to do something, we just couldn't let things go on the way they were before. It is about sending a message, that this form of 'resistance' is unacceptable. I also imagine there are bigger forces at work here. I have a feeling the real conducters of this war, backstage, are the U.S and Iran, who are playing out their disagreements on the backs of their smaller allies - the Israelis for the U.S, Hizballah for Iran. Of course, this is speculation. For Israelis, it is not about revenge, and it's not about punishing civilians - it's about not trusting anyone else to do the work, to physically eliminate those terrorising our civilians. Again - as for the means we are going about it and the results, that is debatable - but the intent is protection of Israeli civilians.
Israel doesn't just want Hizballah to stop bombing now - it wants Hizballah to stop bombing forever, and to stop aiding other terrorist groups like Hamas, who are attacking civilians in the streets of Israeli towns, and to deter Hamas. It wants to try and fight terrorism. It is about the same thing the Lebanese are protesting now- the killing of civilians. There is a video that could perhaps best explain what many Israelis see when they hear the word Hizballah, what Hizballah, Hamas, Syria and Iran is to most of us. I warn you that it is a very gruesome video, very difficult to watch, it ranks right up there in the shock value meter with any Qana visuals - it is very very graphic, totally uncensored. This is the link, enter at your own risk:

How can it stop? I don't know. I for one would have loved to see a Lebanese and Israeli collaborative effort against Hizballah, Syria and Iran, but that's an unrealistic utopia I guess.

In regards to your previous posts (if that is you, with Luiza and Rafael), well I would love to get a translation of the comment in portugese - my knowledge of the language is very minimal, I think I got the general idea but I would appreciate a translation, thanks!
There's not actually much phone/net trouble here, even up north, it's more electricity problems. In central and southern Israel life is going on fairly as normal, the rockets haven't gotten here so far (except on the border with the Gaza strip where there are Qasam rockets, but that has been going on for ages) so everything's still intact. In Tel Aviv people keep going to the beach, going out to eat, going out at night - we have no other choice. Right now attacks here are mostly a constant threat, and the threat is something that we are used to, it is part of everyday life. So now the threat is not just suicide bombers, it is an also Iranian missile. Ok. We live with terrorism the same way we live with culture, nightlife, eating, drinking, breathing. How do you have fun with war in the background? when you live your whole life that way, when this is all you know, how else would you live?

In any case, your english is more than fine, and you are not annoying! please keep writing. And most of all, spread the word. The more people who know there is more to this war than IDF and Hizbullah, that there are mostly just a lot of ordinary people, just like you, that just want to live their lives in peace, the better - we need as many people listening to us, the Lebanese and Israeli civilians, not to the politicians.

To ma (from Lebanon?):
Dave's story is just one story of many. I try to choose one at a time. I'm not looking for all the stories, I am looking for some, and that is better than nothing. Victims are not just numbers and if you know some stories, you begin to realize these are humans dying out there, and you realize how awful this war is. So please - if you have names and stories of Lebanese victims, please forward to me. This blog is protesting the innocent victims of this war, and they are on both sides of the border fence. It is not about what nationality are those who die, it is about the fact that they die.


Anonymous LILA said...

we are on to you. Stop your propaganda. You are not fooling anyone.

10/8/06 5:10 PM  
Blogger Lilu said...

oh shucks, might as well admit it, yeah it's Dan Halutz in a dress here.

Boy am I red faced.

11/8/06 3:04 AM  
Anonymous arabic for love said...

Hi Lilu, its me from the other "horror movie" (u know we have these stupid laws about contacting each other that make me paranoid)
Anyway, I want to say that I appreciate very much you sharing your experience and you did so so eloquently. I may have underestimated the losses of horrorism on your side though I still believe in the IDF math described by Gideon Levy as he wrote recently in Ha'aretz. I also saw the video on u tube, me and another blogger on my team we watched it over in over with sadness and a bit of surprise. I also know that the history is wrong but we have to make the future better. I always dreamed of having an open bridge between us, we comming to jerusalem for the day for lunch and back, you doing vice versa, it always gave me goose bumps thinking about it. I hope to God we will see it in our lifetime-from one scropio to another

11/8/06 4:29 AM  
Blogger Lilu said...

Friend, I know some good places to lunch in Jerusalem - consider yourself and the rest of your team officially invited, the beer's on me :)
And if you ever get over that paranoia please email me..

Thanks for listening, be safe, and keep talking, you know how important it is.

11/8/06 5:43 AM  

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