Ok, finally what the hell am i doing here?
I am wirting to you quickly and informally as I have much to do and many people to contact.
Long story short, after many meetings with local activists, NGOs, etc. we have come up with a campaign of Lebanese Civilian Resistance Against Israeli Agression. This campaign will come in parts and serve to do many things:
Citizen Convoy THIS Saturday the 12th.
1) provide much needed relief to those trapped in south Lebanon and who are still not receiving aid (this information is CONFIRMED) through citizen convoys of all Lebanese and internationals in solidarity.
2) Promote national unity and inclusion for all parts of Lebanese society - Shiite, Sunni, Druse, Christian, the displaces, upper class, lower class - all have been invited aside from any politicians or political groups.
3) Send a political message to the Israel and the international communtiy that this is their country and their people whom they will travel to and support without seeking Israel's permission despite the continued bombing of the very roads that are preventing this very aid from being delivered.
In short - we are organizing hundreds of people and roughly 100 cars to carry much needed aid, supplies and medicine to the south. We wil be reaching a southern location and then branching out to reach the various villages that have been cut off. We may have to bring them by hand and traverse the countryside since mostroads are gone. We are counting on safety in numbers, having a large international presence and excellent media coverage for security. The state of Israel and the Israeli press are all being notified and international media governments are being informed of this notification so that Israel can not claim ignorance to this event and attack "by mistake." Appropirate permission has been obtained from Hezbollah to ensure not being fired upon from the Lebanese side, they have agreed to cooperate. All cars will be covered with a Lebanese flag, no other flags will be presented, humanitarian aid agencies have been informed but they must abide by the same rules to join the convoy. this is not an international organization response, this is a Lebanese civilian resistance convoy joined by the support of internatonals to join in solidarity.
There will be other convoys and missions to follow, many based on information from this first mission and info adam, huwaida, myself and others will collect in the next few days with some Lebanese activists.
We are also working on assisting the return of some of the displaced in definance of Israel's attempt to cleanse the south of it's people.
Many things are needed. Though we have been able to secure food aid supplies from humanitarian organizations on the ground for this mission, gas is serious problem and we will need to gather funds to support future convoys. There are also other logistical costs we will need to raise funds to cover.
Second, many have asked me about the children and then displaces. I have found a great Lebanese organization that is helping the 100,00s of displaced and especially the children called Sami Doun. I have seen their work directly - not only providing much need supplies like beds, clothes, diapers and necessary goods - which are still very much lacking, but also other important things like toys for children. I have gotten to know many of them personally, all of whom are volunteers, are amazing and sacrificing much everyday to carry out this work. they also coordinate with other grassroots NGOs to try and ensure all the needs are being met for this overwhelming population. They are also focusing on the displaced in the buildings scattered around the city - the ones i told you are being ignored by the government. And they work in the mountains and in the south.
I'm afraid for the moment, sending money is a much better alternative than sending actual supplies because getting themhere can be a logistical nightmare depending on Israel's bombing of strategic roads.
For those who can raise funds this is a great organization, and i can make sure that the money goes where it is directly needed and will have an incredible impact.
For those of you who have the capacity to help, raise funds, work on coordination, have media access, raise funds, etc. please let me know, we can really use your help.
We will also need volunteers for these convoys and some to work with these organizations.
There is a website but it was just put up and is still in progress. if anyone can offer "on call" web assistance it would be greatly appreciated as there is a 7 hour time difference and we may need updates more regularly.
the website is www.lebanonsolidairty.org
Please spread the word and tell me what you're interested in and if you can help at all.
Also please be aware that Saturday Sugust 12th is an International Solidarity Day with Lebanon and their are activities are protests happening all over the world. Find the nearest protect near you - damn, i can not say that with a striaght face.
anyway, that's the LONG short story. I have a ton to do and have been here eight years trying to upload 12 measly photos!! THE AGONY!!
one of the press releases is pasted below. The call for action is on the wedsite.
much love and one more update to send you written at 4 a.m.- good times. damn these photos and man do need a shower!
i'm noy even spell checking this - gotta run