Recent violent storms have given St. Louisans a taste of the destructive power of Mother Nature. The awesome winds that brought down tree limbs and power lines caused extensive property damage throughout the area and claimed the lives of at least ten people. For more than a half-million of us, we learned what it was like to live without power, in some cases for more than a week, as temperatures hovered near 100. Disrupted routines tried our patience but taught us a new reliance on neighbors.
While this story rightly earned front-page coverage in the Post-Dispatch, the people of Lebanon have been suffering from a far more destructive power. The State of Israel, pursuing its stated goal of finishing off Hezbollah, has sent its army on a three-week rampage through Lebanon, destroying the Beirut airport, bombing more than 35 bridges and obliterating the country’s network of roads and highways. The United Nations reported last week that “the ongoing [Israeli] military operation has caused enormous damage to residential areas and key civilian infrastructure such as power plants, seaports and fuel depots” leaving many villages without essential goods and food supplies. By official count more than 600 civilians have been killed, a third of them children, and close to a million people have been forced to flee their homes.
“Is the value of human life in Lebanon less than that of the citizens of other countries?” asked Lebanon’s prime minister, Fouad Siniora. “Can the international community stand by while such callous retribution by Israel is inflicted on us?” Can our own recent ordeal afford us even the tiniest bit of insight and empathy? Read the rest of this entry »