By Gus Bridi (Sabbah Report)
“There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia. The time for double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission is over.”- Newt Gingrich
Has Lebanon officially become more tolerant and progressive than the United States?
Let’s talk about Lebanon’s Ground Zero and you can decide for yourself.
One must first understand what “Ground Zero” means to most Lebanese.
In a country with about the same land mass as Los Angeles County which has been at war off and on for nearly four decades, “Ground Zero” for the Lebanese is arguably their entire country-and at the center of their Ground Zero is downtown Beirut, captured and occupied by the Israeli Defense Force in 1982 and which was almost entirely reduced to rubble from Muslim West Beirut to Christian East Beirut, and all points in between.
Once upon a time not too long ago, there was scarcely a building left standing or unscarred by shrapnel in all of Beirut. I know, because I was in Beirut in 1991, and witnessed first hand a city once described as “the Paris of the Middle East” reduced to ruins, pock marked with unexploded munitions and a haphazard “network” of open sewers.
Miraculously, Beirut was rebuilt and reclaimed its prominence. It once again became the jewel of the Arab world, remarkably able to bridge the ancient mystique of the east with the modern allure of the west.
Upon the first completion of its “rebuilding” process however–after 15 years and tens of billions of dollars spent on reconstructing Lebanon and its Ground Zero from rubble to splendor, Israel did what Israel does…
In July and August of 2006, Israel again followed through on its promise to “bomb Lebanon back into the Stone Age,” and in so doing displaced 1,000,000 Lebanese civilians (nearly a quarter of the country’s population), completely destroyed the country’s infrastructure (again), its only airport, at least 64 bridges, leveled entire buildings and neighborhoods to rubble (again), including the country’s largest milk factory, a food factory, two pharmaceutical plants, water treatment centers, power plants, grain silos, a Greek Orthodox Church, several mosques, and a handful of hospitals (in a country which only had a handful of hospitals to begin with).
Over 1,200 hundred Lebanese civilians were killed and over 5,000 wounded.
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