The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Pro-Lebanese demos

Solidarity events continue around the world…
A demo was held in NYC in solidarity with Lebanon and Palestine in front of the Israeli mission to the UN on 18 July.
My friend Shehab Fakhry sent me this report...
About 300 pro-Lebanon demonstrators gathered today, July, 18th, in front of the Israeli Mission to the U.N. on 42nd street and 2nd Avenue, New York City, to protest the Israeli aggression on Lebanon and Palestine. The demonstration comes one day after a major pro-Israel rally that took place at the same place.
The demonstration is mainly in protest against the disproportionate use of power that Israel is exhibiting against Lebanon and the apparent lack of any desire on Israel's side to limit the escalation of the crisis. It comes as an expression of anger at the undeserved death of so many Lebanese civilians, 270 to this writing, who were caught in the cross fire under the pretext of helping or even just being around members of Hizbollah.
The protest was organized by a coalition of National Council of Arab-Americans, Answer coalition, International Action Center and United for Peace and Justice. But other groups and organizations were also present: Internationalist Socialist Organization, Muslim American Society Freedom Association, Women in Black and most interestingly, True Torah Jews and Jews Against Zionism, who were going around with badges of the Palestinian flag on top of which is written "A Jew not a Zionist" and who were a demonstration hit in terms of photos!
Despite the agreement on condemning the Israeli attacks on Lebanon, there were somewhat vast differences of opinion. In a statement issued by the International Action Center, Hizbollah and Hamas are described as “freedom fighters.� The same statement unqualifiedly states that Palestine and Lebanon “have a right to fight for their land.� In more cool-headed statement, United for Peace and Justice condemn both Hizbollah's and Israel's attacks on civilians from both sides. Aside from condemning the disproportionate use of power on Israel's side, the statement further calls for an immediate ceasefire and the beginning of serious negotiations.
With so many Lebanese flags and so many Lebanese, whether first or second generation, the scene was very emotional. Many of the demonstrators were sharing news about their families or friends stranded in Lebanon. Other demonstrators who spent some times in Lebanon were sharing their stories of trying, to no avail, to call the places where they stayed at, upon hearing news of bombing. Still others could do nothing but hold Lebanese flags and weep.
The Answer coalition is also calling for a national emergency march on Washington, scheduled to take place on August, 12th.

Shehab also sent me this slideshow of demo pix.

In Cairo on the same day, hundreds of Nasserist and Muslim Brotherhood activists assembled in front of the Press Syndicate, at 6pm, chanting in support of the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance, and called for the release of Egypt’s political detainees. The protest lasted for an hour.
Nasser Nouri sent me those pix.

On the following day, Wednesday 19 July, two small protests were also held in Cairo. Jano Charbel of dpa sent me this report:
Around 100 Egyptians demonstrate against Israel's aggressions on Lebanon & Palestinian territories
Cairo, July 19 (dpa) – Around 100 Egyptians protested Israel's aggressions on Lebanon and the Palestinian territories in Cairo on Wednesday in two separate protest rallies. One demonstration was held in front of the Lebanese embassy while the other was conducted at the Nasserist Party headquarters.
Around fifty Egyptian activists from a broad spectrum of political movements, including the left-leaning umbrella movement Kifaya/Enough, the Nasserist Karama Party, the liberal Ghad Party, and the Moslem Brotherhood demonstrated outside of the Lebanese embassy in the Zamalek district of Cairo.
The demonstrators waved the flags of Lebanon, Hizbollah, and Palestine as they chanted slogans denouncing Israel's military operations targeting civilians and the national infrastructures of Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
A delegation of representatives from civil society organizations and professional syndicates met with the staff members of the Lebanese embassy and presented them with a written "Message of Solidarity with the Lebanese People."
The message condemned "Israel's continuing aggressions on Lebanon," supported the "Hizbollah resistance movement against the forces of Zionism," expressed "solidarity with the Lebanese people," called on "Arab governments to support the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance movements" and on "UN intervention to halt the Israeli onslaught against Lebanon."
Meanwhile another demonstration of over fifty activists was staged outside the Nasserist Party's headquarters in downtown Cairo.
The Nasserists, along with other activists, also waved Lebanese and Hizbollah flags, while they chanted slogans against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's lack of support for the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance movements.
The Nasserist demonstrators, who had sought to march to the Arab League to petition the regional organization, were cordoned in by hundreds of central security forces.
Further demonstrations in solidarity with Lebanon and the Palestinian territories are scheduled for Friday and Tuesday.

According to Kefaya, the Lebanese Charge d'Affairs, Monsieur Ali el-Halabi, intervened to tell the demonstrators in front of his embassy on Wednesday that they were not allowed to burn the Israeli and American flags. "We don't want troubles," he said while shaking.