Remembering The Little Children Terrorists of Qana

Because not remembering the woes and wounds of this nation is part of why we are where are today, I present to you a guest post by my good friend Hala Hassan.

Qana Lebanon Massacre 1996

It was April of 1996. I was a 6 year old girl, growing increasingly scared of a month where I’d wake up to rockets getting fired every single day from the neighboring tanks over the hill and warplanes constantly raping the sky above my house.

Operation Grapes of Wrath was getting scarier, deadlier, more ominous by the minute. Just another regular day of a Southerner back then.

Random memory #1: Zaven, who currently runs a TV show on Future TV, was a news anchor then who, along with his co-anchor short haired Zahira Harb (I don’t know where she is now or what she does), were distinctive figures in my 6 year old memory.

Random memory #2: a man sitting on a plastic chair, head dangling to one side, blood and broken glass everywhere.

My memory of that spring is as vivid as if it were happening now. I can still remember all details of Thursday April 18th and the crystal clear images showing death and horror at every turn.

I remember the faces of UNIFIL soldiers crying and shouting, overwhelmed with the shock, ramble and fire.

The news was shocking. An Israeli raid targeted without any hesitation whatsoever a compound of UNIFIL forces in the Sourthern village of Qana where families had sought refuge, most of which were elderly, kids and women.

Yes it was a massacre, a crime against humanity: flesh and blood melting into the steel, splashed body tissues and fluids on the walls, dismantled and disfigured corpses, beheaded babies, pools of flesh merging into impossibly differentiated individuals.

The Cruelty was caught on tape and registered in minds, reinforced by the sorrow of those who survived and shock.

The whole country was in shock. No excuse could have been given, no excuse would have been accepted and will ever be.

I haven’t seen bigger funerals than the one carrying the victims of Qana to their final resting place. A sea of black, of arms swaying in sorrow under coffins each of which held entire families, their bodies burned together. More than a hundred souls were taken in fraction of seconds. Dreams were blown into little pieces lying together in common graves.

It took me 9 years to make peace with newspapers. My older sister used the idea of Qana newspaper pictures as a way to scare me for years. That’s how childhood in South Lebanon went. I envy the kids who grew up scared of boogeyman.

I know that massacres take place every day around the world, today more than ever, neighboring countries more than distant ones. Civil wars or terrorist attacks, respect goes to every innocent soul in this world that is lost intentionally or as collateral damage in conflicts they may not want to be part of.

Everything feels more intense and more important when it’s personal, which Qana – to me – undoubtedly is, but the point behind all of this is that terrorism has no nationality, no color and no ethnicity.

Recognize the terrorists. It is never too late to be fair.

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9 thoughts on “Remembering The Little Children Terrorists of Qana

  1. Memories of a very sad day that’s slowly fading from our collective memories. Thanks to who wrote this and may they all rest in peace.

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Afraid. | My little world

  3. Almost 20 years after Hezbollah is a favorite in Lebanon and has never been blamed for its huge responsability in that war and many others, sad that you Lebanese dont point at this.

    Reply
  4. Zeitoun that’s really inappropriate to point out here. You know full well Hezbollah didn’t exist before Israel’s presence there. You should read the final paragraph of this 1982 article from the Christian Science Monitor, it’ll explain a lot: http://www.csmonitor.com/1982/0806/080644.html/(page)/2

    Elie this article reminds me of a not so funny anecdote. At one point an Israeli officer contacted a Dutch UNIFIL officer that “you are going to be shot at by the Christians (i.e. de facto forces)”. A few seconds later a well-coordinated attack occured against the Dutch UNIFIL. For some reason somewhere in the Israeli command they thought it was smart to condone their ragtag proxy to shoot up soldiers from one of the most pro-Israeli countries in Europe. This story has largely been forgotten, though.

    As for forgetting, I wonder how many Israelis really know about this Elie. Sometimes Israel’s enemies portray Israel like a military camp where everyone desires territorial expansion. While in fact most Israelis just wish to consume, love and do stupid stuff like the rest of us. I have met Israeli youth who were simply unaware of some of the crimes committed by the settlers. When I showed them pictures I sent you about a year ago, they thought it was Arabs not Jewish settlers who threw stones and other items on the market. It is entirely possible to live your life in Tel Aviv without ever stepping foot on the West Bank, save for maybe military service. Call it willful ignorance if you want. They sure do remember their own dead, the country is dotted with streets named after terrorist victims, after soldiers who fell defending this or that hilltop, after people who died in this or that war. And it must be said, from the documented (war) crimes at the hands of Lebanese and Palestinians inside northern Israel, the difference is in the scale and military capability of things but certainly not in the brutal intent (coastal road massacre, kiryat shemona massacre, random intentional killing of school children etc.).

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  5. @Zeitoun Although people as propagandized as you are are hardly worth an effort thought I’d let you know that a United Nations investigation stated the attack was unlikely a technical or procedural error…Rest in Peace little ones….Qana1 and Qana 2

    Reply
  6. I know everything you both said and im not talking about Israels fault in this but about Hezbollah that you cherish so much, should you have rejected them in first place, history would have been very different. But you like/love/tolerate them in your country for years cause they hate Israel youre right thats a good reason (for simple minded people). You make me laugh your civil wars have killed so many more people than every Israel attack on you and in such (and maybe equally for you) disgusting way…
    @Nadine Propaganda exists also on the side of Lebanon it seems (im not saying everythings wrong and i respect the dead and their families) and it makes it even sadder that the famous fake pictures of the massacre exist too google it if you find a fake propaganda pic from Israel please show me im curious
    Now no more talking, start thinking. Byeee

    Reply
  7. Thank you very much for your post, I was really touched. Qana has left a mark in my heart. It’s a memory of old good days when all Lebanese were unified behind one cause. Anwyays here is an update about my dear friend “the short haired Zahira Harb” who you don’t know now where she is or what she does. Well, here is she: @HarbZ1 and she is now a senior lecturer at the journalism department in City University in London. She has written An interesting book about her Qana experience in an academic \ media context, “Channels of Resistance”. And by the way, if you were to call her you have to say: Dr Zahira! She was in Beirut last week and we had lunch together and talked about our Qana memories. Best Zaven

    Reply

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