Israel-born British writer, author, blogger and jazz-player, Gilad Atzmon, visited Lebanon on January 2013 after 30 year when he entered the country as part of invading Jewish army. He described his second visit as a spiritually transforming experience.
During his stay in Lebanon, Gilad Atzmon revisted Maleeta, a town occupied by Israeli army until 2000 when it was forced to packup and withdrew to Israel as result of Hizballah’s 18-year armed resistance.
“From Mleeta, the Lebanese Mujahedeen launched daily attacks against the Israeli invader and gave the Israelis a true taste of their own medicine. Now Mleeta is a Jihadi tourist resort, there to tell the story of the heroic Hezbollah, those brave paramilitaries that confounded the ‘best army in the world’. The truth is, though armed only with light weapons, they were well supplied with Shia, spiritual ammunition,” wrote Atzmon.
“But Mleeta was just a beginning. South Lebanon is dripping with defiance – every village, house and person is an emblem of Shia’s heroic resistance with the villages bedecked with Hezbollah posters featuring Leader Hasan Nasrallah and the many martyrs who taught the IDF those very necessary lessons,” adds Atzmon.
Then Gilad takes his readers to Israel’s notorious Khiam Torture Center where Israeli Jews detained and tortured their Lebanese and Palestinian opponents, in some cases, for as long as 14 years.
Gilad also reminds his readers about the notorious Ansar, an Israeli concentration camp located in South Lebanon. “It was back in 1984, on a piece of flat land in the middle of the camp, I noticed a dozen concrete boxes with small metal doors (pictured on left), they looked like dog kennels being only about 80 cm high, 100 cm long and probably about 80cm wide. When I pointed out to the commanding officer that these concrete construction weren’t suitable for dogs, he told me not to worry: no one would even think of putting dogs in them. “Put a Palestinian in one of those for 24 hours,” he laughed, “And he’ll come out singing the Hatikvah.” They were solitary confinement units for Palestinian prisoners. That was it. Then and there, I realised that Israel was not my country,” says Gilad.
Gilad also felt pains at the plight of 350,000 Palestinians living in Lebanese refugee camps. As a result of Lebanon’s political/religious divide – Palestinians have been forced to live as burden and not part of the nation.
“On my last day in Beirut I visited Sabra and Satilla. I saw the mass graveyards, I saw the poverty, I saw the piles of rubbish in the streets, the outcome of the complete absence of even the most elementary municipal services. I have been traveling around the world for many years but this is, without doubt, one of the saddest sights I have seen. But, in those camps, I also saw some of the kindest people on this planet. People who against all odds, in spite of being crushed, humiliated and tortured from more than six decades, still look forward, still live their lives. They raise their kids and care about their education. They greet you in the warmest possible manner and, no sooner have you approached their shop, they have invited you for coffee. Surely, their suffering must be our primary concern,” says Atzmon.
Read Gilad Atzmon’s full report here.
Atzmon: ‘Hizballah taught Israel a lesson it would never forget’ | Rehmat's World