In 2006, on leaving my serviced hotel appartment in Beruit, I said goodbye to the staff who had been looking after me, while expressing my hope that things would get better as soon as possible and then that was that, no more whistling over the top of my head in Hamra as the missiles flattened residential South Beruit, no more having to bother about the safety precautions that the FCO had told us to follow, no more having to watch the refugees from the south of the country squashed into the hotel lobby, listening to Nasrallah’s “Durchhalteparole” on “Al-Manar” television and no more going without a good cup of “latte”; the local Starbucks in Hamra had been closed, not because of the bombing, the Israelis weren’t so stupid that they would hit a mainly Christian area that also housed the American University of Beruit and the university hospital, but because of the fear that American companies might be targeted. Oh, I wonder why, they thought that might happen? Anyway, it was goodbye to Beruit and I was off to sunny Cyprus for a couple of days before making my way up to Munich.
The point I am trying to make is that, at the end of the day, I might sympathise with the poor fuckers crammed into the hotel, listening to Nasrallah, I might genuinely sympathise with them, but I don’t have to go through what they go through and because I don’t it would be arrogant to think that I even began to experience what they were experiencing or began to feel what they were feeling and there was me today walking some one hundred metres to my favourite “Italian”, plomping for the ‘rigatoni’ with side salad and an “espresso macchiato”, opening my Edward Said book and reading about what a fuck up Arafat was and thinking this is all very rational and all of a sudden my mind drifted to Gaza and a video I watched last night. These people cannot get out, they have no electricity, 25% of the children are suffering from malnutrition, the Israelis are executing people every day, they are stopping food supplies reaching the victims and in the mainstream press we read nonsense like; “Palestinian terrorists in Gaza fired three Kassam rockets at the western Negev on Monday afternoon.” or the variation of the theme version, “Hamas fires rockets into south Israel.” Both reports added that noone was wounded in the attacks and yet we get this as the major news story to come out of the region at a time when innocent men, women and children are being humiliated, degraded, terrified and killed. No, I am not being humiliated, degraded or terrified but it does all leave me a wee bit angry and, if nothing else, drivel like, “Palestinian rocket almost hits settlement”, while houses are being bulldozed and bombed, is more than just drivel it is both morally and intellectually offensive. The ‘rigitoni” was ‘al dente’, it was very good and I stopped off at the ‘Cafe Al Ponte’ for my ice cream, before going home to have a steam bath and then catch up with some reading.
The picture was taken at lunch today in my favourite “Italian”
var articleheadline = “Hamas fires rockets into south Israel”;