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    Ertugrul Ozkok: Commotion on the roof in Lebanon

    Hürriyet Haber
    22.08.2006 - 10:06 | Son Güncelleme:

    I read it the other day, in a column by Mine Kirikkanat in the Vatan newspaper. Apparently, the French newspaper Le Monde had published words spoken by a 60 year old Lebanese man. One night, he had awoken to sounds from the roof-top floor of the building where he was living; there was some sort of commotion, like a group of people running around. And suddenly, the 60 year old man realized that Israeli missiles were hitting the roof of his building. That moment, he woke up his wife, his children, and every neighbor he could, and he and they all ran outside as quickly as possible. A little while later, another Israeli missile blew the building to the ground.

    I have been writing this for days. When, in a country, radical beliefs, passions, anger, or pre-judgements start taking the place of reason, the bells of disaster start to ring. Still, I will continue to warn of this. In the past I have warned, and today I will warn, and again tomorrow, I will continue to warn: didn't the missiles fired by the Israelis, the missiles which killed Lebanese children, act as deathly missiles? Yes they did.
    But is Hizbollah, which knew what they were doing when they fired those missiles from the tops of buildings where children were living, so innocent? Yes, please, let a reasonable person answer me this question.

    * * *

    I still feel the need to secure my position on this all. Because I am very angry with Israel. I am not writing these things to defend Israel. It is not possible to defend Israel in this all. It is not possible not to criticize it. But as a sociologue, I am saying this: there are two faces to this war. And if you don't try to understand these two faces, you will not only not help the people of the region, you will actually be hurting them.

    * * *

    For years, I have been asking this question: why is it that only in the Middle East are children used as the tools of political propoganda? In India, they have so very many mass protests and ethnic clashes. But have you ever seen little children used so heartlessly there? In Turkey, there are labor union marches and workers' protests. But have you ever seen children placed in front of the police during any of those? When this country entered its War of Independence, it lost an entire generation. But have you ever seen a single picture of a Turkish child along the British soldiers' frontlines? Or anything remotely like this?

    * * *

    So, where is it that you see these things? In Diyarbakir. Wasn't it just yesterday that you saw children being made targets by the PKK in Diyarbakir? You have no doubt forgotten how many children died in Diyarbakir on that day. And how the PKK carried out shameless propoganda over their bodies.
    And people with even a slightly developed sense of justice can no doubt not forget the suicide bombers blowing themselves up on buses in Tel Aviv. Nor how not a single Israeli tried to gather the plunders of war over the bodies of these dead children.

    * * *

    Which is why I say even the most despicable warriors should have a brave and manly side. And of course, no one should aim missiles where children are. Likewise, no one should place missile launchers on the tops of buildings where children live, automatically making them targets. These are the things I am saying. Those who want to be angry may feel free. Unfortunately, it seems that the culture of belief in the Middle East has accepted that the bodies of young children be used as propaganda material. And we share the same religion and some of the same beliefs as those who believe this. Let's all criticize Israel together. Let's put it on trial. But let's also recognize that this region's tradition of using children is not lending honor to any one of us. At the very least, let's insert this clause as a small sentence in between our criticisms. Of course, that is if our real goal is actually preventing our children from dying.......



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