Leila Abu-Saba is the extraordinary Lebanese-American blogger at Dove’s Eye View. I know her only through her blog and our various e-mail exchanges. But I feel we are brother and sister at heart.
Tonight, she has outdone herself with her anti-eulogy for George Habash. From my slight acquaintance with ancient Greek via the UC Berkeley summer language program, I can tell you a eulogy is a “good word” for the dead. Leila has no good word to say about Habash (which is why I call hers an anti-eulogy) except when she speaks about the beginning of his PFLP movement. But her words about Habash’s impact on the Lebanese civil war and subsequent Palestinian terror are profound, true, and only won through immense personal family suffering.
Leila’s Christian grandmother was murdered by Palestinian and Lebanese leftist militia during the 1985 sacking of her village in the civil war. Largely (though not wholly) as a result of this personal trauma, Leila has turned away from force and violence as solutions to the conflict besetting the Middle East. To paraphrase Paul Simon: Here’s to you, Leila Abu-Saba.
Dear Richard – well, thank you. But please note that I have updated the post. Dr. As’ad Abu-khalil posts claims on his blog that Habash is unjustly maligned for responsibility for violent terrorist acts; Abu-Khalil says it was Wadi’ Haddad who carried out the various terrorist acts associated with Habash, and that Habash expelled him from the PFLP for this reason.
Now Dr. Abu-Khalil knows a heck of a lot more about Lebanon’s politics and the civil war than I do. I am sure that many right-wing LEbanese would argue with him. I just don’t have access to the information to verify his claim.
I think that my essay sounds really good, but I have not gone back to the history books (I own Fawaz Trabulsi’s work on modern LEbanon) to see whether the PFLP was responsible for massacres and crimes against innocents during Lebanon’s civil war. Now that I’ve put up my ringing condemnation, I’d better crack the books and look up the facts. Especially since Google has chosen to highlight my post in its “blog s on George Habash” function, so that my hit count spiked by several hundred today from people looking up info on the late man.
Please don’t get carried away with admiration for me. I may be just another Lebanese-American blowhard, spouting off first and checking the facts later.
Richard Silverstein says
Neither one of us may be able to quote chapter & verse about Habash’s specific responsibilities but he & the PFLP have been responsible for some horrific mayhem against Israeli civilians. So whatever he did or didn’t do in Lebanon, I’m aware of what he’s done against Israelis & all of yr words about him certainly ring true in that context.
If I understand As’ad Abu-khalil correctly, he is claiming that Habash was not responsible for PFLP actions against Israelis either. This claim, if true, would negate the whole thrust of my post. Now the question is to evaluate the claim.
i am a lebanese man from mieh mieh too and i would say and blame our civil war and all the wars in the world on muslims! if you look at the trouble spots in the world you will find out that they are created and done by muslims for example,iran, iraq, afganistan,albania,syria,muslims in the phillipines,muslims in india,muslims in china, etc. about habash or any other palestinian party in lebanon i would say they have done all the trouble and caused our civil war. when they came to lebanon the lebanese people opened their arms for them and what they have done later on was dispicable killings,massacares and crimes against lebanese people especially christians.
My late father once said to me when I reported some new bigoted act of atrocity by Mieh-Mieh Christians against Palestinian refugees: “now you know why I left.”
The idea that the Lebanese civil war was all the fault of Muslims is silly. Did Muslims cause Christian Samir Geagea to massacre the family of his Christian rival, Tony Franjieh?
But there’s no point in arguing with these ideas. People want to believe their worst fears and prejudices – no amount of facts or reason will change their minds.
Richard Silverstein says
Undoubtedly Kamel and his family suffered during the Civil War (as did all sides) & the suffering has warped his perspective. As you always say, Leila, love is the answer. However, it’s very hard to come by.
might as well blame samir geagea for killing your grandmother leila! if it wasn’t for the christians defending lebanon there would be no lebanon any more. second leila this bigoted act of atrocity that was committed by the christians like your saying was a response or reaction to the acts that was done by the palestinian before hand, example do u agree with the palestinian entering the church with their guns sit at the front cross their legs and smoke! and no one would dare to open his or her mouth because of fear! leila i know your dad very well god bless his soul and i know he was a pro syrian spsp and he planted this idea in your head about christians being monsters. third samir geagea didn’t kill tony franjieh get your facts right! the lebanese situation is very complex and everyone blames the other. we have a saying leila and your cousins sabat or asma should have taught you if you drink from a well don’t throw a stone in it, and that is exactly what the palastinian did in our village and all of lebanon. any way as christians we do forgive and forget and jesus helps us all.
Kamel hasn’t used his full name so we don’t know who he is – a brave man who won’t sign his name in public.
I don’t say all Christians are monsters – in fact, some of the monstrous acts by Christians in our village were committed by people I view with kindness and compassion, people who care about me and are praying for me.
Kamel’s thinking is so distorted there’s no real way to argue with him. But I am cutting and pasting the rants for use in my novel. Thank you, Kamel. I can’t get to Mieh-Mieh to research attitudes but I can use your words. However my readers might not believe it. I can hear them now –
“this seems a bit too over-the-top. Nobody really talks or thinks like that.”
you don’t need my last name and i didn’t write it because of personal reasons, it is not about bravery or not,is it? any way we are kind of related as well and a i met you couple of times last time was in your new york appartment. my ideas or opinion might be distorted to you but they are facts leila. and to add to your noval you can write that the trouble that started in our village with the palestinian was due to a palestinian woman stabbing a youth from abu-saba’s family. these are facts leila not twisted stories and we lived throught it all. if your writting a fiction novel, well it is fiction, but if you are writting facts it is up to the readers to believe or not. good luck with your novel and wish you all the best. if you need some more distorted facts like you say i’ll be glad to help.