Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Assassination of A Family

Try to imagine that your country has been targeted in a war which its' instigators claim is an humanitarian effort.  This isn't the first time in history that war has been termed "humanitarian" even though almost no war is humanitarian or humane.  For centuries leaders and states have claimed they needed to rescue a particular group or region, but often their motives were not altruistic but selfish and in their nation's own interests. 

Try to imagine that during the days and weeks that your small nation is being bombed by 20 or more other countries, you not only have to hold yourself together in the amidst of all the uncertainty and fear of what might happen next, but you also have to maintain courage for others such as your children. 

Try to imagine that late one night after one of your kid's birthday party the previous day, you are out late helping somebody and on your way back home you get a telephone call that your home has been bombed. 

I wonder sometimes how do you survive a war even if your body isn't destroyed by bombs or bullets.  How do you come out of it with any of your mind left intact?  

My mind is on another war again like it was for years on the one in Iraq.  I thought about the second Iraq War for all the years it grinded on.  In many ways it still isn't over.  Iraqis are still dying from bombings, but news about Iraq faded away from American TV news years ago.  Though Obama pulled out the troops the other year, the US has left a residue of itself behind with the world's largest embassy.  The residue is always left behind.  Ask several other countries in at least the last 65 years.  I still Tweet about Iraq occasionally on Twitter, but Libya's war in 2011 is more immediate for me now.  It supposedly ended last year, but that country is not the same as it was.  It is still very unstable, and so much bitterness, grief, and broken lives are left.  Its is a great tragedy that is not being talked about just like it wasn't talked about concerning Iraq or Afghanistan.  All is not well.

I have three Libyan Facebook friends.  Two sent me friends requests, and I sent the request to one who was a mutual friend of another Facebook friend who had been in Libya last year even up to the time when Tripoli fell and shortly afterwards.  I learned a little bit about his tragic story so I wanted to include him on my friend's list.  His name is Khaled K. Elhamedi.  He is the founder of the International Organization for Peace, Care and Relief (IOPCR) which was one of Libyan's biggest and most well known charities and NGOs.  On June 20th of last year his home in the town of Sorman was bombed by NATO forces in the middle of the night.  His pregnant wife, young daughter and small son who had just celebrated his third birthday the previous day were all killed.  Khaled was not at home at the time.  He had been away trying to help other victims of NATO's attacks.  Since Khaled is from a prominent Libyan family and NATO targeted anyone they felt might be close to or supported the Green (Jamahiriya) Libyan government, I would term it an assassination.  Other family, friends, and employees were assassinated that night in his home bringing the total number of dead to 13.  The house and several others in the neighborhood were demolished by bombing including his father's house. 

Since the murder of his family, Khaled  has struggled through his overwhelming grief to go on, and during this terrible process he has begun legal proceedings against NATO.  His website that details his actions is ICENA or International Coalition to Ensure NATO Accountability.  Its' Facebook page can be found here.  Besides these links that he sent me he also directed my attention to an article on Voltairenet, an account of what happened to his family: The Sorman Massacre.

Last week I first saw Part Two of a documentary, NATO's Gifts to the Children of Libya on my Facebook timeline.  I took the time to look at the entire short and heartbreaking documentary.  When I look at Khaled, his mother, and sisters I am astounded by their courage, that they would still keep trying to live.  I just don't think I would be able to keep going on.  However, my mother and late grandmother both have often said to me in the past that God will not put too much on us that we can't bear.   There is obviously some truth in it considering how some people can somehow wade through tragedy and still keep standing.  I feel it must be like carrying a mountain on one's back yet still attempting to climb another mountain. 

I have posted Parts One and Two of NATO's Gifts to the Children of Libya below.  NATO, the UN, and the US don't bother to keep accurate body counts. It is estimated that from 50,000 to at least 100,000 Libyans were killed and injured in the war.  Anywhere from a million to two million fled the country or were displaced.  It's going to be a long and very difficult process, but I hope that eventually justice will be done for Khaled Elhamedi's family and all innocents, civilians, the helpless, and the wounded who lived and died in Libya in that terrible and tragic year of 2011.  Khaled has asked that people continue to spread the word about what happened to his family and other children in Libya.  Lest we forget...


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