imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

When Rain Becomes the Nightmare: National Day Against Cluster Bombs!

by Imad Mortada , Indymedia Tuesday, Nov. 07, 2006 at 8:42 PM

Imad Mortada is a Lebanese anarchist queer activist and Indymedia volunteer based in Barcelona. His writings can currently be read on qursana.blogspot.com

When it comes to cluster bombs, rain was again an issue; a big tent was put up in Martyr s square in downtown Beirut to host the event to avoid the pouring sky. Many NGOs, local and international, gathered to raise awareness about this indiscriminate weapon and to voice a demand for a ban on its manufacturing, distribution and usage. School children and adults toured the multiple sections of the event, an extensive photo exhibit revealing the perilous impact of these weapons in Southern Lebanon; a booth and area where specialists illustrated the stages in constructing prosthetics and artificial limbs, and where the public could also try them along with wheel chairs; a puppet show for children raising awareness amongst the children; a musical concert by handicapped children; a re-production of a contaminated zone and a display of the different types of cluster munitions coupled with demining demonstrations; an exhibit of products and crafts made by Lebanese victims of landmines. The event included signing a petition against the production, trade, stockpiling, and use of cluster munitions.

The day was intense and very charged especially around the center of the tent where a re-production of a contaminated field was displayed. The display included a small tree branch with a cluster bomb hanging from it - a fraction of a scene reminding of more than a million unexploded munitions scattered around the south of Lebanon. A double crime according to Ms. Karine Gavand, Handicap International (HI) Project Manager for the National Day Against Cluster Munition. "They have to be banned, cluster munitions are a double crime. First during the conflict where they cover wide areas mostly civilian ones; and later after the ceasefire where they continue to kill civilians and have serious impacts not only on civilian lives but also high social and economical ones. Farmers cannot reach their fields, and they will not be able to plant the next year s harvest. The scary thing is that a lot of people in the south live from agriculture and they need to go back, even if they are aware of the danger. If they cannot eat they will go even if it means risking their lives since for some it is the only income not just for this year, but for the year to come."

Children observe display of a cluster bomb at an exhibition hosted by NGOs in Beirut to educate about cluster bombs. (Elsee Haddad)

HI Director of Mobilization and Political Action, Mr. Jean Marc Boivin, said " we found out that 98% of the victims of cluster munitions are civilians with a third of that under the age of 18. Since the cease fire on August 14th, we have 158 civilian victims with twenty dead. Cluster bombs are a serious problem that can go on for years." Mr. Boivin is working through HI alongside a wide range of international bodies to push for a ban on cluster munitions, something he said he is not willing to compromise. "We have to ban them, they are indiscriminate and their deadly effect can continue for years. Everyone should be pushing their governments to put a ban on such weapons. We get all kinds of excuses from governments against banning them, they are all unacceptable. Belgium is a good example - though the only one; a ban on cluster munitions came in action in Belgium despite the strong lobby of factories making them and businesses benefiting from the distribution. In France we managed to collect 300,000 signatures demanding the ban, and we called presidential candidates to ask them what position would they take in case they won. They all said they would support a ban except for candidate Nicolas Sarkozy."

Ms. Gavand said that cluster munitions continue to be a problem in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kosovo - to name a few, and even in Laos more than 30 years after their usage by US forces. Usually cluster munitions have a failure rate between 5 and 30 % but in Lebanon it was as high as 40. Ms. Gavand linked this among other reasons to Lebanese soil since the softer the soil is the less the chances are for these bombs to explode immediately. She also spoke of the way they were used by Israel by being launched too low adding "we do not know if this was intentional or not, but it must have contributed to the high failure rate." She also spoke of Israel using outdated bombs going as back as the seventies, something supported by multiple reports from international investigations of the contaminated areas, and visible in the photos of the cluster-bomb shells in the exhibition in Beirut. She expressed deep concern over the rain season; "marked contaminated areas will be wiped out by the rain affecting all the mapping done, and cluster munitions will be moved from place, let alone be covered by mud and hidden away. All this will make cleaning the areas much harder adding to a lengthy, costly and slow process - all of which will have serious impacts on civilians in the area. The rain most probably will affect the agreed upon due-date for finishing the cleaning which is set for the end of 2007."

Mr. Boivin stressed all through the interview on the urgency of banning such weapons; he mentioned scary stocks of sub-munitions worldwide going as high as 800 million bomblets only with the USA. He spoke of the international network working for a ban on cluster bombs, and especially in Europe. Yet these efforts, according to Mr. Boivine, are faced with a strong lobby of arms manufacturers supported by various governments, some of which still did not sign the Ottawa treaty banning landmines. He extended responsibility to businesses investing in factories of cluster bombs, and gave an example AXA, a worldwide banking and insurance group which was found to be investing in companies such as Textron and ATK who are known to be manufacturing these indiscriminate weapons.

Victims of cluster munitions in Lebanon, according to Ms. Gavand, do not only suffer serious injuries such as amputations, but also suffer shrapnels all over their bodies - a nightmare made clear in the photos displayed through out the event courtesy of the Norwegian People s Aid. Photos that showed boxes piled with cluster bombs, contaminated fields with sheep and shepherds walking around, amputated victims, children with shrapnels going as deep as their lungs, cluster bombs in house vicinities, and even a bloodied stretcher used to transport an injured civilian. The images are so strong that no words can describe them, yet this is only a still reproduction of a much more horrid reality.

Attendees tried on prosthetics at an exhibition hosted by NGOs in Beirut to educate about cluster bombs. (Elsee Haddad)

I spoke to Mr. Imad Khoshman from Al-Jarha Foundation, himself a victim of Israeli war on Lebanon in 1986 leaving him with an amputated leg. Al-Jarha Foundation (Al-Jarha translates into the injured) takes care of victims of the Israeli war on Lebanon from physical rehabilitation to vocational training among other concerns. Mr. Khoshman, also an activist for handicapped rights in Lebanon and participant in many national platforms for this plight, spoke of the lack of attention from the Lebanese government towards the handicapped. "We have noticed that their priorities do not include our rights despite them being inherent and urgent" said Mr. Khoshman, "we have been pushing for the application of law 220/2000 that secure a step towards equality and integration for the handicapped whether war victims or not since 2000, yet unfortunately the government only complied with the littlest of the little." Mr. Khoshman stressed the importance of raising awareness around cluster bombs, and also the urgency of the clearance. He said "I urge the international community not only to ban cluster munitions, but to extend financial and professional aid to the Lebanese government and the NGOs working on the issue. Also I urge the Lebanese government and the international community to give attention to the plight of the handicapped, and bear responsibility of the victims of cluster munitions and war."

The event in Beirut is hoped to be a launch for many to come in various Lebanese areas in an attempt to raise awareness around the issue of cluster munitions in a hope to undermine to a certain extent the associated risks. But will it be enough to save the lives and the welfare of the people is the big question. It definitely will with the visible bomblets, but there lies the danger of the hidden ones, those tucked under stones or covered with mud. Ms. Gavand said that though she saw quite a lot of pictures of clusters before heading to the south on a field trip, it still took her few minutes to visually locate one tucked away in dry branches though it was pointed out to her by one of the demining experts. Those few minutes that are more than enough to cost a person her or his life are another call for a total ban on this weapon. Awareness is indispensable and life-saving but is not enough - as much as demining and cleaning the contaminated areas are vital and a matter of life or death - yet it is still possible for some bomblets to escape expert hands especially with factors such as rain and the wide spread of the bomblets. This is what renders a ban on cluster bombs the most efficient way in terminating the danger of such indiscriminate weapons. Everyone I talked to at the event today had one message to the world, "ban it!". More voices are needed and definitely more action against this outrageous crime. The toll is very high; it has been for a while and the horrid reality is that it will be on the rise for a long time.

A photo display at an exhibition hosted by NGOs in Beirut to educate about cluster bombs. (Elsee Haddad)

According to the press release, the event in Beirut is also meant to "send a message to the international community prior to the Review Conference of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons in Geneva, taking place from November 7 - 17." A conference according to Mr. Boivin which is not meant to tackle the ban on cluster munitions but rather discuss the post-usage of such weapons which is by no way a solution, yet it poses a good opportunity for NGOs and groups working on the issue to coordinate and call for another international gathering to lay the foundations for a ban on the production, trade, stockpiling, and use of cluster munitions. How long will we have to wait? How high will the price be till the governments of the world reach such an urgent agreement? It is all in their hands, and ours. Act today!



Imad Mortada is a Lebanese anarchist queer activist and Indymedia volunteer based in Barcelona. His writings can currently be read on qursana.blogspot.com



Report this post as:

LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 3 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Not discussed in the mainstream media Petition and infor re: cluster bumbs Tuesday, Nov. 07, 2006 at 8:44 PM
bump bump and bump Wednesday, Nov. 08, 2006 at 4:05 PM
bump bump bumpalicious Friday, Nov. 10, 2006 at 10:49 PM

Local News

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

Two Podcasts on fbi corruption A06 10:13PM

Fbi assassins assault & try to kill DAVID ATKINS A06 7:29PM

EPA Head Scott Pruitt: Of Cages And Sirens A06 2:15PM

The Shortwave Report 04/06/18 Listen Globally! A05 4:25PM

Nicaraguas Conflic with native Peoples on the Caribbean Coast Near Bluefields in Decade80 A05 12:14PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy