Seated march: How Lebanon saved Palestinians from Western supporters

Апрель 03, 2012 Categories: English, Reports by Комментарии к записи Seated march: How Lebanon saved Palestinians from Western supporters отключены

The Lebanese part of the Global March to Jerusalem turned out to be  quite an exotic public event – firstly, there was no march, and  secondly, there were very few Palestinians. And all due to the Lebanese  army that kept Palestinians inside the refugee camps and well away from  the protests.  The Lebanese authorities also restricted any marchers  from going to the ruins of an uphill Crusader castle, which is  incidentally nowhere near the border.

­Many foreign nationals who were present at the event say it would have  been much wiser to conduct the march on the streets of the Lebanese  capital, Beirut. In that case, foreigners would not have had to spend  hours to reach the fortress located in the south of the country.  Also,  thousands of elderly Palestinian women and children would not have had  to wait several hours for them on the rocky hilltop.

­On any other day, the trip from Beirut to Nabatieh would not have  taken  more than two hours. However, on March day, the Lebanese army set  up  impromptu roadblocks along the road, causing traffic jams. And  while the  army usually has been quite inconspicuous, this time officers  were seen  on the streets enthusiastically directing traffic, blocking   thoroughfares and letting through anyone except for the buses carrying   foreign activists who had come to take part in the global march from  all  over the world. It took them almost five hours to reach the  designated  spot. Checkpoints at the roadblocks seemed ridiculous – all  you needed  was to show the officers inspecting the bus any paper you  had on you.  And of course, the officers showed the least interest in a  bus whose  passengers were waving the flags of Hezbollah and Islamic  Jihad.

­

RT photo / Nadezhda Kevorkova

­When the buses finally arrived at the site, they were met by weary,    elderly Palestinian women and the ever-peppy Palestinian teenagers and    children, all staring in amazement at the motley crowd of foreigners.    The activists that grabbed most of the attention were delegates from    India carrying posters of Mahatma Gandhi, as well as a group of rabbis.    The Indians stood around the stage with pictures of the non-violence    movement leader, while the rabbis sat right under the stage with  banners   denying any link between Judaism and Israel.

 

RT photo / Nadezhda Kevorkova

­The organizers   provided chairs for everyone so that people wouldn’t have to stand on   the rocky hilltop for hours on end. It would have been daunting even for   Palestinians inured to decade-long hardships, not least for those who   experienced first-hand the 1948 expulsion.

“Never ask anyone in Lebanon about numbers. Anyone who gives you an exact figure doesn’t know anything,” a Lebanese journalism student who helped organize the march told me when asked about the number of participants.

­

RT photo / Nadezhda Kevorkova

Journalists reckoned that there was simply no room on the hill for   more than 5,000 people. But with the people sitting down, the total   number was hardly more than 3,000, according to experienced foreign   activists.

Sheikh Nabil Kaouk, the second most influential   official in Hezbollah’s military wing,  kicked off the rally. He left   immediately after the opening, accompanied by a sizable force of guards.

Foreigners   were given a chance to speak at the end of the rally when most   Palestinians had already left. Anyway, there was no translation into   Arabic. The Palestinians were obviously happy to see a group of rabbis   with anti-Zionist banners sitting in protest. After a round of their   traditional Dabke dance, young Palestinians led the rabbis towards the   buses in two chains, fencing them off from the countless people who   wanted a photo op with them.

­

RT photo / Nadezhda Kevorkova

Then, without warning, the foreigners were taken to the mountain  stronghold of Mleeta that Hezbollah famously held from1985 to 2000  during Israel’s occupation of southern Lebanon. In 2010, the mountain’s  reinforcements, tunnels and bunkers were de-classified and turned into a  museum. Foreign activists were shown Katyusha rocket launchers, machine  guns and catacombs, abandoned Israeli tanks, mines and shells. That was  Hezbollah’s subtle way of reminding foreigners that the Lebanese know  how to put up genuine resistance rather than simulating it.So the March to Jerusalem from Lebanon ended without incident, or a single step for that matter.

­

RT photo / Nadezhda Kevorkova

­

 

Метки: , ,

Comments are closed.