Friday night and we all seem too happy to see the weekend approaching. The date seems irrelevant, all that matters is that its a Friday, right? Wrong. It was this very date, 16thSeptember where up to 3,500 people met death. On 16th September 1982 a very brutal and dark massacre took place, and today is the 29th anniversary.
The Lebanese Christian Phalangist militia arrived in the refugee camps called Sabra and Shatila, in Beirut. The Israeli IDF had authorization of this territory, due to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon that took place in 1982. Throughout this time, Israel was in conflict with the Palestine Liberation Organization. Israel had the authority of the Palestinian refugee camps; they controlled the movement of the city. The massacre began with the Phalangists journey to track down the PLO who were apparently hiding in the camp. On 14th Sepetmeber the president of the Phalangists, Bachir Gemayel was assassinated. This of course caused rage and fury. Thus, on the afternoon of the 16th September these same Phalangists carried out a 62 hour rampage or rape and murder until the next morning. This attack was accelerated by the revenge for Bachir Gemayel’s assassination. The cause? To make others feel pain.
Bachir Gemayel’s death was a price that many were going to pay. The IDF began to surround the Sabra-Shatila camp, and controlled all entrance and exits. It was only hours until the shelling of the camps began. The IDF took charge. Most people think those who hate the IDF only hate them because of their current behaviour towards Palestinians. No, I intensely detest them because they are vile and heartless “soldiers”. The Phalangist militia began to invite other brutal beings into the Sabra and Shatila camps, whilst spreading that the PLO were responsible for the assassination of their leader Bashir Gemayel. Now, the IDF had all authority, and ordered others to find the PLO fighters.
The IDF and 1500 Phalangist militia men entered the camps. They were ready to kill. Many innocent civilians were slaughtered. By 11pm 300 people were slayed. The deaths continued through the night, there was no stopping. For the next 48 hours the Phalangists massacred the civilians of Sabra and Shatila camps. These civilians were hostages, they were trapped. The IDF stood to guard the exits, they made sure no one escaped; they turned back Palestinians who tried to flee the camps.
On 17th September a few journalists were allowed to enter the camps. Gunnar Flakstad, was among one who witnessed the Phalangists during their clear-out operations and removal of dead bodies from destroyed houses in the Shatila camp. The news of the massacre had been hit. More journalists were allowed to enter where they saw bodies scattered around the camp. Bodies of the dead were distributed everywhere, boys had been castrated, scalped and some had the Christian cross carved into their bodies. This massacre was not only carried out by te IDF, but by the Phalangists, who in my opinions are terrorists.
Janet Lee Stevens, an American journalist, wrote to her husband;
I saw dead women in their houses with their skirts up to their waists and their legs spread apart; dozens of young men shot after being lined up against an alley wall; children with their throats slit, a pregnant woman with her stomach chopped open, her eyes still wide open, her blackened face silently screaming in horror; countless babies and toddlers who had been stabbed or ripped apart and who had been thrown into garbage piles.
These Palestinians were killed in the most brutal and vile way possible. Locked in a camp with no way out and surrounded by hungry Phalangists and IDF soldiers, they were destined death.The number of killings has been estimated and no one to date knows how many people were killed. Up to 3500 were killed in this genocide. Many different journalists proclaim different figures,
Robert Fisk, one of the first journalists to visit the scene, quotes (without endorsing) unnamed Phalangist officers as saying “that 2,000 Palestinians – women as well as men – had been killed in Chatila.” In a 2002 article in The Independent, Fisk speaks of “1700 civilians murdered.” The Palestinian Red Crescent put the number killed at over 2,000.
The Israeli journalist Amnon Kapeliouk of Le Monde Diplomatique, arrived at about 2,000 bodies disposed of after the massacre from official and Red Cross sources and “very roughly” estimated 1,000 – 1,500 other victims disposed of by the Phalangists themselves to a total of 3,000–3,500
Yes the numbers of people do make a difference, but we must not forget the fundamental details of this incident. Innocent men, women, and children at the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila were killed for no reason. The Phalangists were after the PLO for the suspected assassination of Bachir Gemayel, and they decided to kill anyone else in the way. These people were murdered by ignorant pigs. It was revealed that Bachir Gemayel was assassinated by the Syrians, who opposed his alliance with the Israelis, and not by the PLO. The IDF and Phalangists were terrorists in this incident. They made every victim feel cold and lost. It is only right that every innocent victim who died today is honoured and respected.
The Palestinians people don’t cry because they are weak. They cry because they have been strong for too long. Imagine meeting the life of hell before even dying and having to deal with it every day? I pay my respect to every man, woman and child who was a victim of the Sabra-Shatila massacre, and I hope you do too.