Tuesday 5 May 2009 - 07:10
Israeli war on the Shia of Lebanon - third and last part!

How long is this war going to last...?

Story Code : 4275
How long is this war going to last...?
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said:
"Just seeing one's enemies engaging in commiting sins is enough of a Divine help for any believer"
(Mishkat ul Anwar fi Ghurar-il Akhbar, pg 772

I sat in my apartment and wondered how long this was going to go on. I had been told to just stay out of the streets and wait to see what happens. For the first time since I lived there, the streets of the Dahia were empty and quiet. The shops were closed.I wondered how I would buy water. My phone wasn't working. As days passed and I occasionally had electricity and I could see (but not understand) the news. From the pictures I could see that the damage was extensive. All of my neighborshad gone to the mountains or left the country.I preferred to stay exactly where I was. I was in my apartment building completely alone. There were what seemed like random bombings during the day. Fajr was one of the Israeli's favorite times to bomb. Every night just at Magreb the intensive bombing would start again. After about 10 days of this it got really annoying. There was nothing to do and nowhere to go. It was best to stay fully dressed just in case one had to go out in a hurry. It was so hard to sleep. The stress of the bombing makes one's adrenalin run high. When your adrenalin finally settles down and you get to sleep, the bombing starts again!

It was normal to have a supply of candles in the Dahia. We were without electricity at least 4 and sometimes 8 hours a day. At night I started reading by candle light and came across a hadith by Imam Sadiq (a.s.). It read:

"Allah has made His friends subject to being attacked by His enemies "
(Mishkat ul Anwar fi Ghurar il-Akhbar pg65).

I laughed out loud and hoped that this was what was going on. Then I thought, well, if I have done something wrong and I am paying for it, this is good too, Allah is washing my sins. Then I thought "Maybe Allah is testing me and there will be a reward if I do my best and be patient". In all cases there was Allah's Mercy.

One morning I looked out the window and saw a man walking towards the neighborhood store. I raced down the four flights of stairs to try to buy some food and water. All I could get was a small bottle of juice and some crackers. Then the man told me "Sayyed Hasan said that we all have to go out and leave this area". I'm not very political. But one time when I didn't even really know who he was I saw Sayed Hasan in a clear dream just before fajr. Ever since that dream I trusted him as completely as anyone can be trusted - after Allah and the Masaumeen (a.s.). As I turned around and walked towards my apartment I thought "Where will I go?" My phone was finally working and a friend called and said "Go to Kuwait and use our flat". Our daughter will pick you up at the airport. Get out now!

I threw a few things in a suitcase, called a driver I knew and he agreed to take to to another car that would take me to Syria. From there I could try to get to Kuwait. As we traveled to Syria I learned that we had to take alternative routes because the Israelis were bombing the roads. Imagine that- bombing innocent civilians fleeing a war. At first I thought "They can't do that, it's against the rules". Then I realized again that they were not playing by the rules. I thought "If we have to play by the rules (of Islam) and they don't, we're going to get creamed!". Then I remembered the little bit of Islamic history I knew and felt sure that victory was in the hand of Allah, not in anyone's military strength.

So much else happened that one could write a whole book on it. But I just wanted to share with you a little taste of the first hand experience in a war by the oppressors. I actually feel that the bombing was the easiest part. When it was over you were either dead or alive. I think it is the long term after affects that just keep going on in peoples lives that are even more damaging. My own life is still not anywhere back to normal and it has been a long time since the war officially ended.

In the aftermath of the bombing I came back to Beirut and took a walk through our neighborhod with an old friend. I had to wait until they finished work because they refused to let me go alone. After we finished our walk I understood why. It was horrifying. Eight to ten story buildings were reduced to rubble and there were huge holes in the ground - maybe 1-2 stories deep where the buildings had stood before. I was told that this was what they thought was the result of vacuum bombs. I couldn't even recognize my old neighborhood.. Whole blocks of buildings were reduced to nothing. I coulden't even begin to find my favorite stores or my good friends apartment building. As I bent down to pick up a piece of stone and throw it in anger, my friendd shouted "No there are cluster bombs!".

While I made an endless search for a place to stay I saw and heard the stories of the lives of the people as they continued on bravely after the war.
There was one woman who came every day to read Qur'an at one of the worst bombing sites I had seen. She had lost 7 members of her family there. Someone said it had been so badly bombed that they couldn't even find the bodies to bury them.

My girlfriend lost her unborn baby.

The people in the streets looked like the"walking wounded". Their faces were expressionless and they were exhausted.They suffered from chronic lung conditions they attributed to chemicals dumped in the bombings.
One businessman's office had been about 85% destroyed. There he sat in the rubble with a number of visitors- only a few plastic half broken chairs remained. They sat and talked while the office helper served tea as she climbed through the debris.

One teenage boy I knew very well sat with me with his little brother. He cried. he said that life was not easy here before and now he asked "Where is my future? How can I ever make a life for myself?"

One day I was so happy to see my favorite juice shop had not been destroyed! I went in and saw the young man behind the counter who used to wait on me. I smiled and his eyes filled with tears - he had not seem me for several months and he thought I had been kiilled in the war. When I sat down to drink my juice I looked over and smiled at a woman who obviously had her face and maybe more severely burned. I hoped that if she were not married that a believer would make her his wife.

One day about a year after the war was over I visited the south of Lebanon with a friend. They went there quite often for funerals - people were dying of heart attacks at an unusually high rate. They said it was an after effect of the long term stress. As we sat with another friend drinking tea, someone came in and said "Be very careful, the Israeli's are sending ovrer toxic balloons - don't go near them and watch the children carefully"! When I returned to Beirut I heard of several people who had been rushed to the hospital as a result of these "balloons".

Never think because the bombing has stopped that the war is over.

Imam Mohammad al Baqir (a.s.) said:
"The believers are tested and purified by Allah. Allah has not protected the believers from the calamities and distresses of this life. But He has assured them from being wretched in the Next Life".
(Al Ghaybah, Numani pg 288
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