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Trying to evacuate people has put me under stress. The question is what am I to do

if I had the opportunity to leave? Would I leave? What do I do with my friends?

My family? My art studio? I have a British passport; I could be evacuated with my husband.

 

 

Diary of Zena el-Khalil

 Lebanese Artist Living in Beirut

 

Army chief Brig. Gen. Dan Halutz warned that "nothing is safe" in Lebanon

 

Thursday, July 13, 2006 10:44 PM

Update from Beirut - from Zena el-Khalil

It's 4:14 am. For the last half hour or so, I have been watching the skyline outside my balcony. It is on fire.

At 3:28am this morning, I woke up to the sound of Israeli jets flying low over our skies in Beirut. I was just beginning to finally fall asleep, had racing thoughts in my mind all night, cramps in my stomach, fear . . . Just as I thought I was going to fall asleep, I heard the sound of jets, followed by one explosion after another. 

It has calmed down now. I hear morning prayers in the distance.

I am at home with some friends who have taken refuge with us. A lot of them foreigners. We are trying to explain... who, what, why. But, we're also trying to be normal. Because being normal is what got Lebanese through 20 some years of war. We are joking about how the airport is on fire because of all the alcohol is duty free. We are trying to be normal. 

Up until now, Israel has done the following: 

-Blown up our international airport, runways, gas reserves for planes: (No one can leave or enter the country.)

-Blown up small military and domestic airports (both in the north and south)

-Blown up all bridges and roads linking Beirut to the south

-Blown up areas/villages of the south, everything from the deep south to Saida

-Blown up . . . As I type this now, another jet is flying by, it is so loud . . .

-Blown up the suburbs (Dahiye) . . . Three missiles

-Blown up the Beirut-Damascus road at several points

-We are surrounded at sea as well, there are military ships launching attacks ... Not watching tv anymore, but I know there is so much more going on.

 Thousands evacuated their homes from the south today. They had to walk for miles because their cars could not cross the highway. 

Another jet and another explosion. This is all going into Dahiyeh. I can see the red anti aircraft "bullets" being shot in retaliation.

Newest update, it's 4:26am, Israelis are attacking Saida from sea. They are targeting the bridge that connects to Saida.

Another really loud bomb. My heart is racing. I can only pretend to be brave. 

Everything that is happening now is because Israel is trying to wipe out any trace of Hizuballah in Lebanon. In the process of doing all this, they have wiped out our infrastructures. Our roads, bridges, etc. civilian homes, innocent lives.

It's 4:32am and I have a knot in my stomach. I am praying they don't hit the electricity. I want my internet. I think it's the only thing that will help me stay normal. 

Latest update; 9 missile raids into Dahiyeh in the last hour. There are now several parts of Beirut without electricity. The sky is glowing red. 

I am praying for the people in Dahiyeh . . . Another really really loud bomb. I guess that makes it 10 now. 

I am angry now. The things that cross your mind... I just set up a new installation last week, now, no one will get to see it. I was just about ready to launch an international residency program here. Not going to happen now. Was just planning to start a family, who wants to get pregnant now?

Ladies and gentlemen, I did not want to burden you with the troubles of war, but I think it is really important that the world knows what is going on. We are under attack by Israel.

It is unjust and unfair. I wonder what the media coverage is like out there. All this must end. Israel must be stopped. This is so unjust and unfair. Everything we've worked on for the past 10 years is gone now. So, so so, unjust and unfair. We had so many events planned for the summer . . . Exhibits . . . Concerts . . . Plays . . . etc. all gone. 

Israel can not keep going into wherever they choose to go to and blow it up! Lebanon cannot be occupied again by Israel.

Dear friends, pray for us. For this madness to end. Pray for the Lebanese people to stick through this together and not lose their cool.

With love,

Zena el-Khalil 5:02am

Believe it or not, the sun is beginning to rise and I actually hear birds chirping.

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17 July 2006 00:29:31

I have started coughing, but I don't know why. I am not sick. I don't have a cold. I think it's a reaction I'm having to stress. My body feels weak. My mouth is always dry, no matter how much water I drink. And I'm afraid to drink too much water because I don't want it to run out! 

Last night was probably the most frightful night I have ever experienced. I was so tired and exhausted... have not slept in days. When there is finally a quiet moment, the tension in my stomach and heart prevents me from falling asleep. 

Last night we counted at least 15 bombs falling into Dahiyeh (Beirut Suburbs) and these were just the ones we heard. At some point during the night, I said to myself that if I didn't at least try to get some sleep that I was going to go crazy from fatigue; and that that was what was going to kill me. Haven¹t been able to eat either, so am losing physical strength. It¹s all psychological at this point.

I know I have to be strong, and I will be, but I can't deny what I¹m going through. And I think it's important that people hear about the downside as well as the bravery. So many of us are already working hard to fix things, we are running around Beirut trying to get food and water and medicine to people, we are doing things online, etc, but it doesn't mean we are not scared, sick or tired. 

So, last night amidst the worst shelling we've had so far, I realized that I was not afraid of the noise anymore; how quickly you get used to it. I realized what was hurting the most was the "UNKNOWN". What is going to happen tomorrow? When will this all end? How are we going to start re-building again? Are the refugees going to be ok? How are the people in the south? And why punish a whole country? What is the real plan behind all of this? How much worse is it going to get? 

My husband and I have been housing foreign "refugees" helping them to find their way out of the country. Two managed to leave this morning, a German and a Swiss. The other two are British and American. The craziest thing is that out of all people, the American embassy has been the LEAST helpful to its citizens here. The phone-line to the embassy has been practically out of service.

My friend, Amanda, (whom I just met a few days ago, by the way) had to hire a cab to take her to the embassy (which is a ride out of Beirut) and all they could tell her was that they didn¹t know what they were going to do and to keep checking the website.

Only thing she has gotten on the website is that she now knows that there is going to be an evacuation (5 days later), but when it happens, she is going to have to pay for it! Yes, they are saying to their citizens that they are going to bill them for their ride out! Can you believe that?

Trying to evacuate people has put me under stress. The question is what am I to do if I had the opportunity to leave? Would I leave? What do I do with my friends? My family? My art studio? I have a British passport; I could be evacuated with my husband. But what would happen to my best friend Maya? She has a very rare and bad case of CANCER! I have been taking care of her since she was diagnosed a few months ago and I know that has helped her. Her type of cancer is "untreatable", but ironically, the day the shelling started, her doctor told us her tumors had shrunk! Unbelievable- a true miracle. I can't leave Maya! 

What about art work in my studio? What about all my brushes and paints and glitter and books! All my books! 

What about our photo albums? All our family pictures? 

What about the doodles I drew on my balcony a few summers ago when I was suffering from a bad break-up?

What about all the love letters I have saved? Letters that document my youth that I wanted to some day give to my daughter. 

What about my other best friend? My dog, Tampopo? My beautiful Jack Russel Terrier who has never let me down. Dogs are not allowed to evacuate. My American friend Christine is going to have to leave her dog with me; a black pug named Baousi (means Kiss in Arabic). She is heartbroken! She almost didn't want to evacuate. She went to so many embassies to try and register with them and see if they would take her dog.

Don't worry Christine, I will take great care of Baousi.

My sister has been volunteering to help the refugees who are being sheltered in public schools. Right now they are calling on Lebanese citizens to help out with money, medicine, food, water, blankets and mattresses. She has been going to people and asking for money and then going out to buy medicines for refugees—her own initiative! My mom has joined in too. A friend has put together a website for accepting donations: http://atrissi.com/helplebanon/

Biggest cynical statement of the day:

Israel has told people to evacuate from the south because they are going to annihilate the south of Lebanon. However, the people cannot leave because all the roads have been destroyed/blocked. And yesterday when people did try and leave, the Israelis opened fire on them! A massacre is happening! 

Update on the attacks, as of yesterday:

- Israelis have been bombing the south of Lebanon with phosphorus and other chemical bombs.

- Israelis have bombed all ports along the coastline of Lebanon.

- Israelis have bombed all our local army radars and some outposts.

- Israelis have bombed/attacked the fire fighting brigade and the Search and

Rescue Brigade in the South. Innocent civilian lives were lost. It was a massacre—the buildings were also housing refugees.

- Israelis have continued to bomb the suburb of Beirut, Dahiyeh & Haret Hreik.

- Israelis have now killed over 100 civilians and there are several hundreds wounded and they continue to bomb the south.

- Israelis have started hitting roads that lead to the mountains. They hit a main one leading to the Shouf.

-Israelis have hit a gas plant in the mountains

. . . I can't keep up with what they have hit. 

*** Israel has begun to target Lebanese army outposts. They have killed Lebanese soldiers. They are no longer just targeting Hizuballah. They mean to kill all of Lebanon.

The reality:

 Israel is trying to bring Lebanon to its knees. Israel is trying to destroy Lebanon and the Lebanese spirit. Israel is trying to turn Lebanese against each other. Israel is trying to turn us into animals scrounging for food, water and shelter. Israel and the United States of America are trying to drag Syria and Iran into this too. They are using Lebanon as bait. Lebanon is stuck in the middle. The Americans and Israelis are trying to launch a regional war!! 

Please help in any way you can. Please pass on the message, this email—reprint if you wish. Please tell people what is going on. Please put pressure on your respective governments to step in and do something. 

Lebanon is a peaceful country. People of all religions co-exist peacefully here. It is unbelievable how biased the news is. They are not reporting the real damage being caused. They don’t report that the Israelis are killing innocent civilians. It seems from this end that all they are focusing on is G8! 

Are the Israeli & US government really just trying to wipe us all out??

Well, you can tell them that I¹m not leaving. And there are many of us who are not leaving. We love Lebanon. We love what we have spent our lives building. 

Tell them about people like me . . . who build culture and tolerance. Who work for peace and understanding. Who work to educate. Who work to promote love and compassion. There are thousands like me here. What about us? 

Tell them about people like me, that despite all of this, I have still not learnt to hate. They can take everything from me, but not my dignity. Not my morals and beliefs. They will never never break my spirit. 

Tell the Israeli citizens what their government is doing to us. Tell them that violence begets violence. Remind them that Lebanon is their neighbor and that co-existence is possible. How are we going to ever reach an understanding through violence? We were so close... We were so close... 

Please stop this brutality! 

Still with love,

Zena el-Khalil

Did I mention that Maya's tumors are getting smaller?

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Lebanon Diary

At a crossroads in downtown Beirut
By Zena el-Khalil

 Live from Lebanon, 17 July 2006

 

Today I drove through downtown on my way to visit my parents. I was driving alone and was a bit nervous. First time in a car alone since this whole thing started ... But I had to see my parents.

I came across a red light and stopped. The streets were empty, and I caught myself wondering why I stopped and didn't just go through. Streets were totally empty – no other cars, no traffic police. Then I remembered my latest policy that is helping to keep me sane; that even under attack, we should not lose our manners. That even under attack, there are still some regulations we should abide by. Somehow, by not crossing the red light, I was able to maintain some dignity.

Then I looked into my rearview mirror and saw other cars approaching. I closed my eyes and in a fit of prayer wished that they would stop too. That somehow, if they didn't cross the light, it would indicate that somehow we are all thinking the same. I know most of you have heard about Lebanese drivers ... They never stop at red lights! Ladies and gentlemen, today, they stopped.

I opened my eyes and then burst into tears. All the cars had stopped. Everyone was behaving. It was a ray of hope today. It's the little things that make you happy. I turned and smiled and nodded my head to the other drivers. Maybe they thought this bleached blond was flirting with them.

I don't want to write about all the miserable moments I had today. They were too many. And how can I find the words to really express my despair?

I don't want to write about the tears that fell when I heard about how the Israeli army bombed food storages today. They bombed wheat silos and vegetable storages. Now they want to starve us to death? About how they are now targeting Lebanese army outposts. Lebanese army who are not even fighting them. About the planes that are flying so low. About how my house starts to shake every time a bomb drops. About my worries now about food and water shortages. About the refugees who have lost so much, who are now living on the streets.

The biggest threat today has been to bomb our main electrical plant. The very same one they blew up a few years ago. If that one goes, we are without electricity. I remember that summer ... It was long and hot. I don't know what I would do without Internet.


Dear friends, if you don't hear from me after this email it is only because I no longer have access.

I don't want to write about the cramp in my heart every time I hear the death toll rising. So many children! I don't want to write about how everything I have spent my whole life working for has disappeared in a matter of days. A matter of days ... my whole life has
changed.

My whole life has changed and I did not ask for it. My whole life has changed without my consent. My whole life has changed because someone, not me, decided they were going to change it. Who said they could? Why didn't they ask me? I was supposed to be camping in the mountains (Chouf) this week. I was supposed to be working on a proposal to bring a New York artist out here next summer. It was supposed to be a surprise; I
was going to set the whole thing up, get the funding and surprise him with it. People bought artwork from me, I am supposed to cash my checks. I am supposed to deliver art to people.

Two bombs just went off. My windows are shaking. Stupid me, I closed them to stop the mosquitoes from coming in. Thank God they didn't just shatter. My heart – my heart is another story.

We are doing the best we can to help those in need. We are all playing our respective roles and finding roles to play. My sister has been working with the Zicco
House/Helem rescue point. They have gotten a bank account open to accept donations so they can buy food, medicine, water, blankets, and mattresses. The ministries of heath and social affairs have proven to be ineffective. It is up to the civil society now to help out.

I can not thank you all enough for all your wonderful emails. They are filling me with life. Please forward the news ... I am so tired. But as long as I have electricity and Internet, I will continue to write. Until I lose my mind ... maybe by then I can get back
into my studio again and paint.

To any Israelis who may read this: I have not learned to hate. I still believe in humanity. Violence begets violence. I know there are some of you protesting this.

Thank you.

With love,

Zena el-Khalil

[Zena el-Khalil is an installation artist, painter, curator, and cultural activist. She is the co-founder of the art collective, xanadu*, that is based in NYC and Beirut. She currently lives in Beirut. http://www.ziggydoodle.com/page1.html]

Source: http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article5064.shtml

posted 17 July 2006

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books

For July 1st through August 31st 2011
 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

By Charles C. Mann

I’m a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. It’s exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that it’s anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, I’m proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, “globalized” entity.

Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose “southern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple.” We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.

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Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays

Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis 

Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as "the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field 'cut their teeth'."

*   *   *   *   *

Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

*   *   *   *   *

The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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Enjoy!

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 1 August 2008

 

 

 

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