Monday, July 24, 2006

If anyone can help, please do...

I just got this e-mail. If you know how you may help this person, please do.
I am an American writing from Washington, DC. A friend of my wife's is currently a graduate student at George Washington University. He is Lebanese and his entire family is presently in southern Lebanon. He has not been able to get in contact with them recently and is obviously worried about them, especially as their village was bombed today. Do you have any advice for how he may find out the names of any casualities (either wounded and killed)? Any help you provide would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,


P.S. Please feel free to forward to anyone who might have some ideas. Thank you.


JohnFowles said...

I'm afraid this is not the fastest way, but it is an efficient and trustworthy one. Your friend should file a request with the US Red Cross. He'll be able to send a standard message that will be relayed to ICRC in Geneva and then Lebanon. As soon as they have it, ICRC delegates in Lebanon will try to distribute it to the given address and if they can't, they'll report back on the situation. I have been one of these delegates in Beirut and Tyre during the 1982 invasion and distributed thousands of thoses messages. Very often, this lead us to assisting directly the family in question. The Lebanese Red Cross could also help but normally, this work is done by ICRC as soon as security conditions allow. If no direct contact is available, go to your local Red Cross and fill a form. Once this is done, the case will be taken, followed up and never forgotten. ICRC is still now reuniting families which lost traces of each other during WW2.

While I am at it, I read in one of Doha's posts that he regretted not to be with his friends of the LRC where he was a volunteer. I feel the same. But I'm sure his friends and my ex-colleagues at ICRC do their best to keep the Red Cross flag flying and show humanity in the field where others unleash violence.

You all take care.

Hassan said...

I already sent him the email posted by for checking on the people there. The email is: (

eran levi said...

Your friend's family refused to listen to the IDF warnings and the demand to move north for their own security. The IDF also declared that anyone that is housing over night militants and armament for Hezbollah in his home should not be surprised to be bombed in the morning.

I'm afraid that like many in the south - your friend's family failed to take responsibility for their lives, and stayed in their homes although they were warned otherwise - the IDF holds no responsibility over their lives anymore when battle takes place in their village - as Hezbollah militants cowardly and outrageously using the local population as human shields - and more than once forcefully making them stay in their houses with the militants!

These unfortunates stuck in the middle will, as painful as it sounds; have to pay the price for the sake of future peace and long term stability in the area...

Stan said...

What roads should they use to escape? The ones you allready destroyed ??

Stan said...

Forgot to add: go get a hike, now is not the time to justify the Israeli killing machine. You have plenty of other posts to do that.

taihaiteki said...

hello eran levi

I'm American, live in a Jewish section of Los Angeles, generally support of Israel.

Please do not make judgemental lectures to people trying to solve a genuine personal problem they have. It doesn't matter why they have it, it's an acute personal problem and only legitimate that they seek a solution.

This person deserves to be taken seriously and, in this situation I'm afraid, your comment does not. Let's you and I keep our pro-Israeli mouths decorously shut in this particular situation please.

eran levi said...

I find wisdom in your post, taihaiteki, and I'm sorry for bringing in my arguments in an obviously personal and emotional stress problem.

Ariya said...

stan, now's not the time to ignore who started this mess in the first place. Hezbullah.

GSH - Observer said...


if you wish to discuss this issue please go under the "Rice in Beirut" comments.

when it comes to this section please follow taihaiteki adivce above.

3li- said...

This is not the time to argue about this, but I would like to mention that many families are refusing to leave after the IAF bombed the convoys and personal cars of many escapeeing refugees.

They think it better and and safer to stay and take their chances.

nasbined said...

inshallah I hope your friend's brothers and cousins in South Lebanon made the Israelis pay a heavy price for violating Lebanon land and the strength of the Muslim nation.

Mirvat said...


lebanese_student said...

Try this:

Fighting Sullyvan said...

I hope that your friends family are safe. For the innocents caught up in this it is a terrible hell. Ariya is right, but so is gsh-observer.

Nasbined, well, we shall discuss those issues in a different forum.

Yohay Elam said...

This is just a sad personal case.
Politics should be kept for other discussions.

Lirun said...

i'm concerned about the media coverage..

while the violence is still being covered.. i think the world is in the process of moving on..

this is not good.. we need a solution before the world walks away!!!

wishing peace for all us

(from an exhausted east mediterranean)

Teema said...

Raja, my aunt and uncle are working with an aid group in Beirut right now for Christians and Muslims (and all others). I will send you their email and they should be able to get your friend in contact with someone who can help.

Prayers for all.

All is one said...

Hezbollah started it Mahak?

The original story, as most media tell it, goes something like this: Hezbollah attacked an Israeli border patrol station, killing six and taking two soldiers hostage. The incident happened on the Lebanese/Israel border in Israeli territory. The alternate version, as explained by several news outlets, tells a bit of a different tale: These sources contend that Israel sent a commando force into southern Lebanon and was subsequently attacked by Hezbollah near the village of Aitaa al-Chaab, well inside Lebanon's southern territory. It was at this point that an Israel tank was struck by Hezbollah fighters, which resulted in the capture of two Israeli soldiers and the death of six.

As the AFP reported, [link to] "According to the Lebanese police force, the two Israeli soldiers were captured in Lebanese territory, in the area of Aitaa al-Chaab, near to the border with Israel, where an Israeli unit had penetrated in middle of morning." And the French news site [link to] reiterated the same account on June 18, "In a deliberated way, [Israel] sent a commando in the Lebanese back-country to Aitaa al-Chaab. It was attacked by Hezbollah, taking two prisoners."

The Associated Press [link to] departed from the official version as well. "The militant group Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers during clashes Wednesday across the border in southern Lebanon, prompting a swift reaction from Israel, which sent ground forces into its neighbor to look for them," reported Joseph Panossian for AP on July 12. "The forces were trying to keep the soldiers' captors from moving them deeper into Lebanon, Israeli government officials said on condition of anonymity."

And the Hindustan Times [link to] on July 12 conveyed a similar account:

"The Lebanese Shi'ite Hezbollah movement announced on Wednesday that its guerrillas have captured two Israeli soldiers in southern Lebanon. 'Implementing our promise to free Arab prisoners in Israeli jails, our strugglers have captured two Israeli soldiers in southern Lebanon,' a statement by Hezbollah said. 'The two soldiers have already been moved to a safe place,' it added. The Lebanese police said that the two soldiers were captured as they 'infiltrated' into the town of Aitaa al-Chaab inside the Lebanese border."

Whether factual or not, these alternative accounts should at the very least raise serious questions as to Israel's motives and rationale for bombarding Lebanon.

MSNBC online first reported that Hezbollah had captured Israeli soldiers "inside" Lebanon, only to change their story hours later after the Israeli government gave an official statement to the contrary.

GrayTroup said...

For those of you with aid in mind, please visit this Lebanese Relief collection;

Eran Tel-Aviv said...

Eran levy - as an Israeli I find your comment to Raja - insulting, arrogant and in very bad taste. At least have the curtosy to shut your mouth in public if you have no sympathy to those who are suffering not on our side of the border and not on the other side . You are the sort of rifraf the do ill service to my country, to it's character and to my fellow citizens. It's almost as if you indulge and are enjoying this act of war forced upon us by evil powers and in who the innocent Lebanese are only the victims. I'm ashamed of you. Your entire conduct in the past days on this blog is deplorable. Just do us a last service and go somewhere else with your hate and superficial politics. Israel and Lebanon diserve better than what you have to offer.

Tel Aviv 1 said...

I agree with Eran - Tel Aviv, both Lebanon and Israel diserve better than to be bogged down in another war.
I can only imagine the suffering felt across Lebanon, and my hear goes out to the innocent civilians caught up in the fighting.

dunes said...

eran in times like these its not wise to antagonise people i can sympethize with him for not knowing what happend to his family we dont need any killings.

Lirun said...

its not about wisdom - its bout compassion and humanity.. if the only reason we oppose violence is wisdom then i am worried..

what about the basic values of life and respect we were all brought up with..

its high time we were reminded..

peace to all
heartfelt sorry and condolences to anyone suffering pain

its time for change guys
wishing peace to all

the mediterranean deserves to rest

dunes said...

All is one:
as i happend to know one of the soldires that were on the same reserve unit that got hit in that incedent i can tell
you that they were on batash which is an abriviation for routine patrol on the border there is no way they were inside lebanon as they are regulat reserve infantry and not a commando or special unit,
so dont believe all those fabricated reports.

Proud to be an Arab said...

John Smith said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John Smith said...

To all is one,

One of the soldiers kidnapped is a relative of someone working with my wife. They were patrolling the Israeli side of the border.

I really liked the site whatreallyhappened (looks very professional and a reliable source of information).
I also would like to recommend these sites as a professional and reliable source of information:

Lirun said...

proud to be an arab..

i read your blog.. you're a smart guy.. good questions and thorough thoughts..

nice to see people speaking with mind and heart together..

both are needed during these crazy times..

peace to you and everyone

eastern mediterranean deserves to flourish

Voyager said...

One of the soldiers kidnapped is a relative of someone working with my wife. They were patrolling the Israeli side of the border.

Then they were Border Guards.

John Smith said...

Yes, they were border guards.

Jesse said...

Good Morning, (I hope),
um, does it really matter who started this conflict? Can anyone really believe what Hezbollah says? Can anyone really beleive what an Israeli politician says? The US... Everyone paints there own picture to suit there needs. Does the news media really write about truth? The truth is like a Rubics Cube; it can take many forms, many colours and is always being turned.

It seems to me that no matter what side you are on it is wrong.

This blog was started to help people. How to get out of southern Lebanon? That is all. I truly (truth) hope your friends do make it out.

John Smith said...

To Jesse,

I think this blog can serve also a more long-term cause.
From reading people comments on this blog, I have learned a few new things that made me understand better the Lebanese point of view.

Gabriel Markowitz said...

Eran said:
Your friend's family refused to listen to the IDF warnings and the demand to move north for their own security.

OK so everyone killed by Hizbullah should leave the area of their attacks. After all the Israelis killed "failed to take responsibility for their lives..." by leaving.

Good points Eran. The civilians being killed are the ones who are to blame.