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Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Memories of Qana

An article in Granma Internacional recalls some facts about the 1996 Qana massacre:
On April 18, 1996...the Israeli government, then headed by Shimon Peres – who by the greatest irony had received the Nobel Peace prize two years earlier – launched the Grapes of Wrath operation on Lebanon.

Today, there is a museum there from which it is difficult to leave without tears on one’s face, or at least in ones soul. The photos of the massacre, of the 106 fatalities and the 116 wounded, undefended victims of genocide, are frankly terrifying. The collective graves venerated by visitors and residents are shocking in their harshness. Always close among those that visit the location are the inconsolable families of the victims who approach it to recall what were the worst moments of their lives. I recall the reaction of one of the visitors that I accompanied to that place: Qana, he said, must be visited by all humanity so that all human beings know the incredible limits of human barbarity.

As is the case today, in 1996 there was no public remorse on the part of Israel or of its principal ally, the United States. Bill Clinton, at that time president of the country, received Shimon Peres one week later. There was not one single comment on the crime. A little later Clinton said something that recalls – not at all suspiciously – what George W. Bush has declared: “I believe that it is imperative that Israel maintains security of its northern border. I believe that the United States must be respectful in the face of such circumstances.”

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