The story of the Marines narrated from the point of view of a Lebanese child: 1983 Beirut, 34 years later.
I could leave the page blank, yet alone the title would fill the void with deepest memory for so many people. Some would feel victorious, others defeated. Some cannot forget how they were left high and dry by their only hope, while others were brassed off being targeted and killed in a foreign country. I could continue describing the joy and celebration of those who sent their suicide bombers to blow hundreds of people because they considered them their religious enemy. 1983, forgotten for so many, but not in the memory of a child. ~ Joumana Gebara
They came in peace.
Indeed, they came in peace. Not only in peace, the Marines part of the MNF saved the criminal Palestinians who were illegally armed and had declared in 1975: “We are Jaysh Al-Sunna. The Road to Quds (Jerusalem, Israel) passes through Jounieh – the fiefdom and heartland of the Christians of Lebanon.” Allegedly the Palestinians wanted to liberate Quds in Damour, Jiyeh, Ab Elias, Tal Zaatar, Ashrafieh, Jounieh, and everywhere except in Quds itself. They had failed in Jordan in 1970, the Fedayeen were skilled at beheading and killing like ISIS, Qaeda, Hezbollah, PMU, MEK, but King Hussein smashed and slaughtered them, so they went to try their luck in Lebanon.
The picture below depicts one of the thousands of the “Quds-liberation” battles by Yasser Arafat, which no one mentions. Not to mention, that the PLO chopped the fingers of the young Christian boys in Damour, they said: “We must make sure, they [the Christians] can never pull the trigger of a gun against us.” The PLO guests were saying that to the owners of the country, to the Lebanese.
Not long ago, only in 2015, Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah also said: “We are Jaysh Al-Mahdi. The road to Al-Quds passes through Qalamoun, Zabadani, Homs, Aleppo, Deraa, Hassakeh and Swaida, because if Syria was lost, Palestine would be lost too.”
What did Nasrallah mean? Lost to whom? To the Sunni of Syria? The owners of the country? Ironically, all of those fractions fighting each other today in Syria, were at some point united in aiming to “ship the Christians out of Lebanon – or simply throw them in the Mediterranean.” They were also united against the Marines. Hezbollah is the rebrand of Harakat Al-Jihad Al-Islami, which partially included Fedayeen elements. This deserves a chapter for its own.
Hassan Nasrallah’s “liberation” of Quds didn’t look much different than Yasser Arafat’s liberation of Quds. It costed about half a million killed Syrians, and at least 8 Million refugees.
For many people, the wars in Syria and the Middle East remain unclear. I understood early on what wars are about. Long before the MNF were officially invited by the Lebanese government to my country Lebanon, where they were killed in cold-blood by Hezbollah. The U.S. in its present form hadn’t existed yet, nor did Israel exist, when the first wars began. The first known wars in the Middle East occurred in Sumeria in 3500-2400 B.C.
A Western reader cannot relate, but the war was between Umma and Lagash. Umma is what they still strive for till today: The Islamic Umma – The Islamic Empire or Imamah (Shia) or Caliphate (Sunni), while they schizophrenically criticize imperialism.
I understood that they are stuck in this era. I understood that it was neither about oil nor about gas. It was not about the Silk Road either. They are simply living the past, they are prisoners of their barbaric ancestors and they cannot break free. They fear betraying the barbaric Gods and Laws, which their ancestors created 5000 years ago. Those Gods and Kings, who taught them an eye for an eye: Hammurabi Code, Ur-Namur Code. Those Gods, who commanded them to sacrifice their own children, and…. they complied and still comply!!!
I understood all this while living in the bunker. In fear, I lived. I had to hide from the Syrians whom Assad sent to kill us, from the Palestinian Fedayeen, from the Muslim mercenaries shouting Allahu Akbar.
I was a child, when I heard on the radio that Amin Gemayel invited the Marines to assist the Lebanese government in order to achieve peace after 8 years of civil and foreign war. I remember, I cried of joy: The Marines were going to save my childhood. They were going to establish peace and order, and end the war. They were my hope, I had lived too long in fear and the darkness of the bunker. Most of the time there was no power, I read all the history books, at the light of a candle, which often betrayed me and melt down before my parents could afford a new one. The light was dim that night when I heard a “flash” in the radio, this is what they called “breaking news”. A flash was always something very negative, and the flash itself was so loud that it terrified me before hearing the bad news. But this news was darker than the night, they said that the Marines were targeted by Hezbollah’s suicide bombers. I had already seen dead people on the streets of my village, but why would anyone kill the Marines? They came to save us. To save me from this life in the bunker, from fear, from darkness, from slavery, trapped between four walls in a small region in Lebanon.
Dawn broke and the “flash” didn’t stop issuing further bad news. Number of dead Marines is raising. Dead French, dead Lebanese, dead Americans.
And on the other side they were shouting Allahu Akbar, raising fingers of victory, shooting and celebrating the heroes who blew themselves in the Marines and killed them. – yes, the heroes, the Istishhadi not the Intihari. (This deserves to be tackled in a book, not in a chapter!)
In the same country, a child was desperate and sad that the Marines were killed, while another child was celebrating with his parents the death of the Marines.
I remember the pictures.
After few days, I heard that the Marines are leaving. It was the end. Those who came to save me are leaving!! They are leaving me to the savages who killed them!
I did not know the difference between Sunni and Shia, back then it didn’t even exist. The war between Sunni and Shia began mid in the 90s – post Taef. For me they were all Muslim, and all wanted to kill me. I was a child and didn’t really understand what was going on. I didn’t know that this part of the globe lives centuries backwards.
Believe me, I tried to write a short story of my life, without dramatizing, but reality was harsher, I was destroyed. I knew that now the Christians are delivered. Indeed, the Christians fought everyone, and even themselves. And barbarically.
The Marines died. I was a child living in fear. My supposedly saviors were fleeing away and leaving me alone. I cried a lot, I screamed: Please don’t go and leave me alone. But they left and didn’t hear my voice. I wasn’t a sirene, nor did I have a microphone, I was a child and my voice reached no one.
I did not think of their families, nor their politics, I thought about my life. I wanted to survive this nightmare of a country which I was taught to love so much despite everything. In the books, I read that my ancestors underwent the same as my fate, and their Marines (The Crusaders of 1095) failed them too. I was desperate.
The Marines left. Most U.S. citizens don’t even remember the night of 1983 and they don’t even know the sound of the flash of my radio. But I do.
And Shia and Sunni remember too. A Shia friend of mine told me: Do you know why Israel fears us? I said: Why would Israel fear you, it is stronger, the strongest army in the Middle East. He replied: Wrong, Israel may have a strong army but it fears us because we never forget venging our dead. Since 1400 years, we mourn Hassan and Hussein, and will restore the legacy of Ali [Ali Bin Abi Taleb]. Israel fears only those who do not forget their dead and live to the day of vengeance.
Do you believe me now that they live in the past? And know no forgiveness.
They kill their children to avenge Hassan and Hussein. What the hell?
Evolution to becoming human will reach the Middle East some day. On that day, there won’t be Muslim brotherhood, but human brotherhood.
Joumana Gebara – A real story: 1983, Beirut. 34 years later