Wednesday, August 09, 2006

"There's a convoy of 100 or more cars driving down to the south of Lebanon on saturday, August 12th, which marks the one-month anniversary of the Israeli bombing of Lebanon. To defy the Israeli order that all cars south of the Litani river will be considered legitimate targets (including in and around the port city of Tyre), and the forced displacement of 1 million Lebanese from their homes, the convoy will carry Lebanese citizens, foreigners from all over the world and food, sanitary and medical supplies; all aid to the south has been suspended, and tens of thousands of people and many hospitals remain trapped without access to basic necessities.

The Lebanese Ministry of Energy is supplying fuel for the convoy, Norwegian and Swiss NGOs are donating funds for food and medicine. Lebanese TV stations will accompany the convoy; we are trying to get American and European media outlets to do the same, to ensure our safe passage, which of course is not ensured. The Israeli government will not be directly contacted nor asked for permission or safe passage, but the Israeli media (Haaretz) has already reported on the upcoming event.

Please forward widely to individuals, protest organizers who wish to coordinate their events by livefeed with the convoy, and media outlets.
The success and safety of the operation depends on it."
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Press Release- Lebanon: An Open Country for Civil Resistance
Beirut August 7, 2006

Press Contacts:
Rasha Salti, +961 3 970855
Huwaida Arraf, +961 70 974452
Samah Idriss, +961 3 381349
Wadih Al Asmar, +961 70 950780


On August 12, at 7 am, Lebanese from throughout the country and international supporters who have come to Lebanon to express solidarity will gather in Martyr's Square in Beirut to form a civilian convoy to the south of Lebanon. Hundreds of Lebanese and international civilians will express their solidarity with the inhabitants of the heavily destroyed south who have been bravely withstanding the assault of the Israeli military. This campaign is endorsed by more than 200 Lebanese and international organizations. This growing coalition of national and international non-governmental organizations hereby launches a campaign of civil resistance for the purpose of challenging the cruel and ruthless use of massive military force by Israel, the regional superpower, upon the people of Lebanon.

August 12 marks the start of this Campaign of Resistance, declaring Lebanon an Open Country for Civil Resistance. August 12 also marks both the international day of protest against the Israeli aggression .

"In the face of Israel's systematic killing of our people, the indiscriminate bombing of our towns, the scorching of our villages, and the attempted destruction of our civil infrastructure, we say No! In the face of the forced expulsion of a quarter of our population from their homes throughout Lebanon, and the complicity of governments and international bodies, we re-affirm the acts of civil resistance that began from the first day of the Israeli assault, and we stress and add the urgent need to act!," said Rasha Salti, one of the organizers of this national event.

After August 12, the campaign will continue with a series of civil actions, leading to an August 19 civilian march to reclaim the South . "Working together, in solidarity, we will overcome the complacency, inaction, and complicity of the international community and we will deny Israel its goal of removing Lebanese from their land and destroying the fabric of our country," explained Samah Idriss, writer and co-organizer of this campaign.

"An international civilian presence in Lebanon is not only an act of solidarity with the Lebanese people in the face of unparalleled Israeli aggression, it is an act of moral courage to defy the will of those who would seek to alienate the West from the rest and create a new Middle East out of the rubble and blood of the region," said Huwaida Arraf, co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement and campaign co-organizer. "After having witnessed the wholesale destruction of villages by Israel's air force and navy and having visited the victims (so-called displaced) of Israel's policy of cleansing Lebanese civilians from their homes," continued Arraf, "it is imperative to go south and reach those who have stayed behind to resist by steadfastly remaining on their land."

If you are in Lebanon and want to sign up and join the convoy, contact either:
Rasha Salti. Email: convois.citoyens.sud.liban@gmail.com . Tel: +961 3 970 855
Rania Masri. Email: rania.masri@balamand.edu.lb . Tel: +961 3 135 279 or +961 6 930 250 xt. 5683 or xt. 3933
If you are outside Lebanon and want to sign up and join the convoy, you should know:
1) You need to obtain a visa for Lebanon and for Syria if your plan is to enter Lebanon from Syria.
2) We don't have the funds to cover for the cost of your travel, however we can help with finding accomodations.
For questions and help for all internationals please contact Adam Shapiro at: adamsop@hotmail.com


You can also sign up on our website: www.lebanonsolidarity.org

This campaign is thus far endorsed by more than 200 organizations, including: The Arab NGOs Network for Development (ANND), International Solidarity Movement (ISM), Cultural Center for Southern Lebanon, Norwegian People's Aid, Lebanese Center for Policy Studies, Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections, Frontiers, Kafa, Nahwa al-Muwatiniya, Spring Hints, Hayya Bina, Lebanese Transparency Association, Amam05, Lebanese Center for Civic Education, Let's Build Trust, CRTD-A, Solida, National Association for Vocational Training and Social Services, Lebanese Development Pioneers, Nadi Li Koul Alnas, and Lecorvaw.

--
Hibah Osman, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Public Health
Department of Health Behavior and Education
Faculty of Health Sciences

Clinical Instructor of Family Medicine
Department of Family Medicine
Faculty of Medicine
American University of Beirut
Beirut, Lebanon

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