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Driven by Jashanmal International and hosted by the International Media Production Zone (IMPZ), members of the International Literary Society of Dubai and their guests gathered together to show their support for those men, women and children suffering in Lebanon.
In his welcome address, Hamad Huraiz, IMPZ Executive Director, declared himself to be ‘disappointed’ by the low attendance but thanked those who had come for their support.
He continued by praising the peoples of Indonesia and Canada who had protested against the war earlier in the day and then the generosity of the people of Dubai in their donations.
“I was supposed to give a speech,” he said, “but words cannot express what I feel and wish that we could do more than just give dollars. I hope that we can share these stories, experiences and poems; that we can stop these wars. It doesn’t matter about religion or nationality or colour; we must work towards peace.”
Many people would speak of the agonising and brutal pictures that have covered the pages of newspapers and television screens.
But Nusrat Ibrahim from Jashanmal who acted as MoC, summed up a few key points in her own few words.
“What is war? It’s not good or bad or about victory; it’s a celebration of the disintegration of the human spirit and humanity at its lowest level,” she said with tears in her eyes. ‘We haven’t learned the lessons of history.’
Yasemin told of her experiences with staff at Al Arabiya, describing how her colleagues would cheer at the news of another Israeli death.
Her poem spoke through the eyes of the lens and the lines of copy.
“To cheer for the death of one man is to cheer the death of all mankind,” read one line.
Her call, for us all to have a greater understanding of our fellow man.
Each in their turn stood up and shared their thoughts, words and emotions. Indian, Pakistani, Emirati, German, British, Filipino and — Lebanese.
“We do not know what will happen if we go back to Lebanon and if we do, what kind of Lebanon or what there will be,” said Dr Joe Helou, Assistant Professor at the Lebanese American University.
“I’m not concerned about this town or the buildings or the loss of the material things. I’m greatly concerned about those kids, those children who are parentless, helpless and hopeless. Shelter is their only shelter now.”
“I am a published author but I couldn’t write a word on the situation in Lebanon. Whenever I would put my fingers on the keys they become mesmerised.”
“Physically I’m here but mentally I’m in Beirut, in my country. I was very touched by what I have seen this evening. I never thought when I came to Dubai that I’d find people who were living the luxurious life would worry about us Lebanese suffering in Beirut.”
“What I have heard this evening has really moved me and I felt that we really have a brotherhood going on between us. Even though we are strangers by sight, through humanity we are all brothers and sisters.”
“I really want to thank you what you have done for Lebanon so far and I feel really proud when I browse in the Malls and I see people collecting for the help of our children in Lebanon. Please stay with us; your thoughts, your encouraging words and your short email to someone you know in Lebanon will do a world of good.”
"She sits in her room all alone and tired,
Indifferent to the bombs that the last jets fired,
She sits in Beirut but she may be a world away,
She told her family, in Qana we should stay.
Too late, we're back there's no way out,
I remain silent but inside I shout.
When will this madness stop? She can't tell,
She can barely hear herself think as the next missile fell.
Where is god in all this? Why are we forsaken?
How can he allow her belief's foundations to be shaken.
Beirut where I was born resembles Beirut where I now live,
She has been patient with the world, what more can she give?
Broken homes and hearts, broken lives and souls,
No matter what happens she always stands tall,
Puts a smile for her kid bro' and her mother,
If the worst should happen at least we're together.
Let's see what we can, my dad's old snaps,
They're my only hope out of this man-made trap.
I will persevere, I will be brave and hold on,
I will blossom like the flowers on my church lawn.
Beirut is me and I am her; in each other we dwell,
I keep that thought in mind as the last of the bombs fell."
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