Friday, April 15, 2005

In memoriam of all those killed by US warplanes - RIP -Amen.



Foreign and Libyan victims 1986

Last year I posted about my experience of being bombed , "April is forever linked in my memory to terror [..] Have you ever been in a disaster area, just before something terrible is about to take place? If you have then you would know what I’m talking about, this sense of total silence, impending doom, emptiness inside and all your body hair standing up". See My night of terror for the whole details. "Those 12 flights of stairs seemed interminable to me that night, among the cries, screams .. these people have never even had a fire drill , let alone prepare for an air strike ! "

It seems I'm not the only one who is still affected by that memorable night. Here is an eloquent testimonial by Suhail Shafi, an Indian doctor who was born and partly -raised in Libya and currently working in Malta. His strategy was to repress the memory because he was so shocked as a child. When I read his rendering I realised that Suhail lived about 1km away from my home ! "I heard a girl's voice that betrayed a gasp of horror, and I remember the four of us - my parents, my sister and myself - running out into the dark corridor outside our flat. We were rushing down the stairs and I remember my little feet being pierced by pieces of glass that came from the windows which had been shattered by the blast of American missiles that had landed in the neighbourhood behind us." Check his essay I was there when the Americans bombed, courtesy of Shireen from red_enclave, who was probably also there at that time.

We were just terrified kids, there is nowhere to hide in Tripoli in case of an ai-raid ( very few building had basements), there was some kind of old bomb shelter from WWII that the Italian occupation used but it had been sealed we heard decades ago and no body knew the location of it's doors. So what is my point today? Well the smart bombs missed their targets in 1986 and they are still missing them in 2005 .


Here is a list of some of the countries the US has bombed since end of WWII, I've updated it a bit:
China 1945-46, Korea 1950-53, China 1950-53, Guatemala 1954, Indonesia 1958, Cuba 1959-60, Guatemala 1960, Belgian Congo 1964, Guatemala 1964, Dominican Republic 1965-66, Peru 1965, Laos 1964-73, Vietnam 1961-73, Cambodia 1969-70, Guatemala 1967-69, Lebanon 1982-84, Grenada 1983-84, , El Salvador 1981-92, Nicaragua 1981-90, Libya 1986, Iran 1987-88, Libya 1989, Panama 1989-90, Iraq 1991-2002, Kuwait 1991, Somalia 1992-94, Croatia 1994 (of Serbs at Krajina), Bosnia 1995, Iran 1998 (airliner) Sudan1998, Afghanistan 1998,Yugoslavia 1999, Afghanistan 2001-2002, Iraq 2003-present.

I bet you many of us have forgotten why they were bombed?
Possible new targets are : Iran, Syria ....

The outward goals of this policy of bombing Libya were never realised, the almost sanitized way the US viewers have seen it on TV /media, does not record the destruction and the pain and the pent up feelings of helplessness.

President Reagan and aides watching live.


We do count, the dead have a name, all our dead are dear to us be they in Sudan, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Afghanistan , Libya or all the others places I have not named..we are all non-combattants , and we make the bulk of the victims. Please stop massacring us. Let us find peaceful civilised solutions to your security issues, maybe we can help you with that? come to us with your concerns not with arrogance but in an ordinary way..maybe we have concerns of our own we wish to discuss? We know you have the might, but we have just the same right to live and die in peace, to live in harmony we both have to make those staggering steps towards each others. Pride has nothing to do with it, only survival of our humanity and our soul.

So it was a year ago since I wrote my earlier post, what do you think has changed, have we, you and I changed as human beings in our outlook? Do you have any ideas on how to prevent further killing?

I didn't have a comment section then, and I can't post all the emails I received, but this year , if any of you reading this have been in Libya in April 1986 , or know someone who was, or have been bombed and lived to tell the story share with us your feelings and experiences. I'm sure it will help us exorcise the memory.

After you read this, please observe a one minute silence and a prayer in tribute to all the innocent dead in the World. Amen.

21 comments:

Salah el Din said...

Amen, I remmber that day as if it were yeasterday. I will never forget.

Jeremy said...

Hi Highlander,

How many of the listed countries were considered a democracy?

Highlander said...

Hi Jeremy, whether the coutries were democracies or not is beside the point, the post is regarding the death toll of innocent people and trauma. Moreover, the democratic status of the country is not a criteria as to its eligibility for bombing. Do you mean that the people in charge of these operations sit around the table and tell themselves "ok lets bomb X, Y. Z ..it is not a democracy !" You know more than that Jeremy - don't disappoint me ;)

Hantuly said...

Highlander,

I looked in your blog for the mention of April 7. I was a witness of one of those and the American bombing, and believe me, the impact of April 7 is far more grave than the later. For those who do not know April 7's significance, it is the public hangings of students and dissents of the Gadhafi regime, and it takes place at the university with other students forcefully gathered from high schools and university to watch. Read more

The truth can't be hidden: Libya is a dictatorship; Gaddafi and his thugs are criminals who should be prosecuted.

No surprise you fail to even mention that day, but maybe you are one of those who joyfully celebrate it and consider it a victory.

Jeremy said...

It's not beside the point, it's the entire point. I know you are worried about the innocent lives lost but why the tunnel vision? Stalin alone racked up about 40 million people. As for humanity on a whole, I agree with Hantuly. "the impact of April 7 is far more grave than the later." p.s. Rarely do I agree with any of your political views, but for some reason I just love you.

Highlander said...

Hantuly , if I have failed to mention Apri 7, why don't you blog about it or about the other issues which you think may have been ommitted, I wouild gladly link to then. It is easy to throw accusations at others, in this way you behave just like the thugs you vilify. If you are Libyan you would have read between the lines, taken a second look and understood, unless you don't live here anymore. Thank you for your comment, and welcome to my rock.

Jeremy, do you know why you love me, because you know deep down that WHATEVER I'm choosing and are able to write about I don't embellish, that is what your 'hunch' is discerning.

I enjoy each comment those who agree and those who don't so please don't hesitate to post your views.

AlanK said...

Highlander

Just blogged on similar issue, though more sanctions etc

as for bombings, like sanctions perhaps the good thing is that it is being recognised that these do more harm than good. At least pointless bombings, basically bomb and run, like those that took place over iraq over much of the 1990s are now over

the problem is how to find a better way of solving some problems either go and help change the country or find some other way

also hope that your nightmares are less frequent now

Anonymous said...

I must say that I agree strongly with "Hantuly".
I invite everyone to read the following page for themselves:

http://members.tripod.com/~sijill/victims/

DM

Anonymous said...

Please let me add, I feel very sorry the US bombs missed their target that day. I can't wait for them to give it a new try. Even if it means the death of all my family in the process.

DM

The Sandmonkey said...

Highlander,

You know, I was gonna say something, but i am not gonna. Nope! I am keeping a diplomatic silence on that one, cause it seems like a personal and emotional issue to you. So i guess i am just writing something to tell you that i have read your post.

removedalready said...

It was just before midnight or around that time when the Americans bombed Tripoli. I was still awake when I heard a thunderous sound, I thought there was a storm coming but it was summer. I ignored the sound and countinued doing my social studies exercises and then went to bed. The next morning, I went to school, but the gates were locked. I was curious. My dad was curios too. We waited for a while but it was still locked, then we checked the back gate. There was a notice for the parents & students of OCS. "School has been closed till further notice". Libya..bombed? Where? We were lucky that we live in the outskirts of town. we used to live in the city center, near the naval base. A number of apartments in the city were badly damaged. That part of town practically looked like Beirut during the civil war. It was horrible. Many innocent people were killed. Including a palestian/lebanese girl. Her sister studied in the same school. Kinda must have lived with the nightmare till today!

removedalready said...

How old were you when the this happened? I was 10.

khadijateri said...

I watched live on CNN in the US with my husband and two other Libyan families. My husband and the other families could not rest until they had spoken to their families in Libya on the phone. It took a while to get a line through, but everyone was OK.

It was an ugly day!

highlander said...

Sandmonkey : Thank you.

DM : you don't really mean it.

Louise said...

Uh, Highlander?!? That list of places that have been bombed by the US appears to be run by a Serbian nationalist, pro-Slobidan Milosovic cheerleading team. Do you really want to give them more traffic?

Perhaps you have forgotten what the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia was about, but not everyone has. Do you remember what happened to 400,000 Kosovar Muslims at the hand of Serbs extremists during that conflict?

Do you recall the images of half starved Bosnian Muslim men who were imprisoned by Christian Bosnian nationalists hell bent on ethnic cleansing?

Did it cross your mind that the planes that dropped bombs and sought to protect those Muslims were from the longstanding alliance known as NATO. The US, as a member of NATO, is not in and of itself solely responsible for dropping bombs on Yugoslavia, which, by the way, had ceased to exist by that time. (Remember, the communist bloc had disintegrated about a decade before then.)

I could say similar things about many of the other places and events on your list.

Highlander, you seem to have a propensity for ignoring context. No historical incident or movement is ever as simple as a list of countries that have been bombed by the US. By taking a microscopically thin slice out of past events and focusing on only one tiny part of it, you distroy your own credibility.

You could also use a lesson or two in how to evaluate websites.

I'm pretty sure many of your fellow Muslims will not appreciate your linking to a site that appears to support extremist Serbian anti-Muslim ideology.

Louise said...

Sorry. Screwed up on the first link. Here it is again.

Highlander said...

Louise thanks for the link on how to evaluate websites, it should come in handy. There were other links containing the same list of countries which have one way or another been bombed I probably chose the worst one in terms of representation, but I admit I liked the 'colour theme' I'll try and be more careful last time, although my Muslim readers did not seem to have been bothered probably because they understood the aim. Nonetheless the information is true right ?

No I haven't forgotten what was the conflict in ex-Yugoslavia about, if the US bombing ( within the Nato of course) has managed to save some Muslim and non-Muslim lives there than that is a plus ( funnily enough I care about both). If you think that I take a 'slice' out of the historical event, then you're probably guilty of the same, because you sure tried to turn around the topic as one between Muslims and Christians. The US bombings were occuring in different countries over the decades and it sure had nothing to do with Muslim - Christian strife. Louise, I may probably have to brush up on my history to go back to WWII but with regards to NATO if we have to be picky they let things in Ex-Yugoslavia fester until it was out of proportion and I'm sure if had not been in Europe they would not have acted, I mean they had a huge problem at their doorstep. Look at Rwanda why did they bomb there a genocide was going on ... You know Louise, in the end it all comes down to National Security and interest and I don't begrudge that to the US, it is powerful and yes it want to act in its own interest, whether strategically or economically so that is absolutely fine by me, because I'm sure that every other state would not hesitate to put it's own interest before the others. Maybe I oversimplify but that is how I see it. Each of these bombings served a purpose regardless of whether that purpose was achieved or not. I have absolutely no political agenda, and there is no credibility to destroy, because as you are well aware I wrote about something of which I was an eyewitness, and chose to remind the readers that it was not an isolated action.
That Cornell education link is coming into a prized slot in my favourites list you really have done me a favour and your comments have been missed .

Louise said...

Sorry, Highlander. It is a facetious argument to speak of Rwanda in the past tense. All of those incidents you mention had a history which lead to the final act of bombing.

If you want to use Rwanda as a case in point, wait another decade or more before you accuse anyone, the US or otherwise, of failing to act. In the past few months, there has been a flurry of diplomatic activity initiated by several nations, the US among them, making every attempt to stop the genocide before it gets worse. Rwanda is not being ignored.

I think that you and I would both agree that diplomatic solutions must be genuinely and vigorously sought before taking any conflict to the next step. If the genocide continues unabated, then I, for one, would not want my country or any other to stand by and let it happen and I would support outside intervention as a means of stemming it.

I would hope such intervention would not be in vain, but I also recognize in the real world, not every diplomatic effort succeeds nor does every military intervention meet its objective.

However, I do not and never will support turning a blind eye to such atrocities and if the US is the only country attempting to end the atrocity, then good for them.

If they ignore it, well, they have plenty of company. Yet for some reason, no matter which course of action they take, the US is the favorite whipping boy of so many people and countries that would rather see the atrocities continue than admit that it was a good thing that the US (or NATO, or whoever) stepped in.

All that matters to them is whether or not the situation can be rendered into fuel their anti-US crusade. Dead Africans, dead Cambodians or dead Muslims only matter when this aim can be accomplished. This is hideous hypocrisy.

Twosret said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
smokey spice said...

How did this post change from the reminiscence of the bombing of Libya to misguided political-nationalist Darwinism to Yoguslavia, Rwanda, and NATO intervention or the lack there-of?

What the hell are you people saying?

Highlander, you are far more diplomatic than I am on certain subjects, so I'll go ahead and apologize to you BEFORE I continue.

Jeremy: Are you saying that the value of humans living in non-democratic states is somehow LESS than the value of those living in democracies?

As far as I see it, humans are humans... and a life is a life. I've never considered, nor will ever believe, that the life of a person living in a democratic nation is more important than any other. If you do, you better have some ass-kicking explanation to save any face... that is, if you care to.

Hantuly: with all due respect (and agreement), this particular post by highlander isn't about the Libyan regime. Rather, it's about American brutality in Libya and throughout the world. Surely there's a place for us to recognize the double vitims of the US and Libya... If we, Libyans, don't recognize them, who will? No one.

DM: I have no clue who you are... I don't know if you're in fact Libyan or are using the backdrop of Libya's situation to make some other political point, nor do I really care.

The US can get the Q-man if they wanted. Like Iraq, they could have done it a long time ago. You know that; we all know that.

As far as I'm concerned, he's not worth my family's life ending in bombings. Neither is a US occupation. If anything changes, WE have to change it--no one else.

Highlander said...

smokey_spice tislami , you can be as 'undiplomatic' as you want you're welcome , you've explained it all so much better than I did plus you put the subject back on track.

Twosret I wish you did not delete your comment I'm sure it would be an eye -opener !