Friday, August 04, 2006

The Phoenicians were the first to circumnavigate Africa. They were the greatest traders the Mediteranean ever knew. The Cedars of Lebanon and a Phoenician engineer built Solomon's Temple. Walk through the country and you will seen signs of every major civilazation of the last 3,000 years abounding.

Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Crusader, Islamic, Christian, Jewish. It was a land of refuge, it was a land of commerce, it was a land of culture. The area is known as "The Levant" because it was a place of higher thinking, culture and trade.

This all lasted for 4,000 years, until 1975.

During 15 years of "Civil War", the country that was once known as the "Paris of the Middle East" was utterly destroyed. Largely because outside terrorist groups, armies and religious groups chose this gorgeous, peaceful country as their battlefield.

From 1990 to 2006 the country was rebuilt, thriving, and fun again. The Hard Rock Cafe, McDonald's, Home Depot, Tesco, Carrefour they all came back to Beirut, the beaches were filled with European tourists once again.

Then, last year the national hero, former Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri was killed in a car bomb by Syrian backed terrorists. Why? He wanted to make Lebanon's transition to being part of the 1st world complete. It was a bleak day that seemed to herald in the return of the old, ugly days, but Hariri did not die in vain.

The "Cedar Revolution" followed, occupying Syrian forces and intelligence officers were thrown out and a new Parliament was elected.

But, alas, Hezbollah, backed by Iran and Syria remained in the country. Having filled the void of the Israeli Army's departure from Southern Lebanon in 2000.

Instead of a peaceful border with Israel, these terrorists consistently provoked Israel. The Lebanese army was helpless in terms of being able to rid the country of them.

And now this. I don't need to describe it, you have seen it first hand on TV and in the paper's every day.

Because terrorists, armies and far off powers dare not fight each other on their own soil, they have made Lebanon their defacto battleground once again.

Sixteen years of progress destroyed in less than a month.

The sadness of it all is overwhelming. The destruction of the country is beyond comprehension and yet, we are no closer to resolving the problems of the region.

Its just a repeat of the soak, rinse, repeat cycle of death, revenge, and hatred.