Lebanese civilians were targeted, not Hezbollah

"An explosion rocks the area of Beer al-Abed in Hezbollah's stronghold in [Lebanon's] southern suburb."

Some Lebanese media outlets didn't find it wrong to summarize the death of thirty people and the injury of more than 200 using such headlines.

The stories of those who died, because they happened to pass through that particular area at that particular time, were lost.

Accounts of death have no value. The explosion came amid the peak of our divisions in Lebanon. The unrelenting hatred that emanated from the incident made the deaths seem invisible. These emotions even encouraged some to celebrate in public, those who failed to conceal their vengeful desires and saw it as an attack against Hezbollah.

Other scenes of murder are also present around us. Footage from Egypt, Iraq and Syria are packed with victims whom we know nothing about. And then it was Beirut's turn for the news headlines to be about Hezbollah and not about the bodies that were scattered with gunpowder.

There's no value in condemning Hezbollah's role in Syria if we cannot realize the effects of targeting civilians in the southern suburb or any other place.

Diana Moukalled

Amid all of this death, there is no place for distinguishing. There isn't even a desire to make any efforts to differentiate between political divisions and the act of targeting innocent civilians. This is happening every day until our souls became dull and until the desire to avenge and await the death of the rival reigns over all other humane morals. We saw this in similar explosions in Iraq and in acts of violence committed by the Syrian regime and by other extremist groups. We also saw this in the streets of Cairo.

As for Lebanon, it's true that Beirut's southern suburb is a Hezbollah stronghold and it's also true that Hezbollah is involved in an immoral war alongside the Syrian regime. But those killed in the recent explosion in the southern suburb were civilians. There's no value in condemning Hezbollah's role in Syria if we cannot realize the effects of targeting civilians in the southern suburb or any other place.

This responsibility falls on us as societies and media outlets, just like it falls on Hezbollah.

The truth is, Hezbollah did not make any efforts to maintain a distance between itself and the victims. Hezbollah's rivals find it easy to view all Lebanese Shiite as part of Hezbollah. Moreover, the “Party of God” seeks to confirm the concept its rivals are marketing. The minute the explosion went off, live media coverage was exclusive to the party's T.V. station, Al-Manar. All media follow up at the crime scene and at hospitals were monitored and controlled. It's not possible to tell the stories of the victims void of a Hezbollah rhetoric which emphasizes the party's connection to people at such moments and which precedes others.

The civilians are trapped between the Hezbollah’s image of them and the category that the party's rivals have placed them in. Therefore, victims are paying twice the price. According to Hezbollah, those who fell are its victims. According to Hezbollah's rivals, those who fell, died in the party's stronghold. Small stories about the man who went to get a haircut and died and about a child whose face was injured by debris from the explosion remain behind the scene.

This time, the media got closer to the faces of victims in the southern suburb but it remained a captive of political divisions.

This article was first published in Arsharq al-Awsat on August 19, 2013.


Diana Moukalled is the Web Editor at the Lebanon-based Future Television and was the Production & Programming Manager with at the channel. Previously, she worked there as Editor in Chief, Producer and Presenter of “Bilayan al Mujaradah,” a documentary that covers hot zones in the Arab world and elsewhere, News and war correspondent and Local news correspondent. She currently writes a regular column in Asharq al-Awsat. She also wrote for Al-Hayat Newspaper and Al-Wasat Magazine, besides producing news bulletins and documentaries for Reuters TV. She can be found on Twitter: @dianamoukalled.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:41 - GMT 06:41
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