Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Holed Up in the South: A Personal Account

This is a personal note I sent out to friends about covering the war for the last two weeks in Lebanon.

Shorter version published in Taft Bulletin:

BEIRUT: Friday August 11, 2006

I just got back into Beirut around noon today after a fairly tiring experience down south.

Backtracking a little, into the second week of the war, I was sent down to South Lebanon to cover the crisis. The first few days were spent, in the town of Saida whose population had doubled in ten days with the incoming refugees escaping the war front.

From Saida, my cameraman and I headed down to the town of Tyre.

And one morning, I was woken by the belowing voice of cameraman Vladimir: "Irina, massacre in Qana".

His news woke the whole house which consisted of team from Norwegian Tv, another from Danish TV and ourselves. Shelling or no shelling, we were determined to go to Qana.

Swinging by where the rest of the ABC crew flown in from different offices were staying, we caravaned out through the hills to Qana, the ancient place where Jesus had once turned water into wine.

Upon arriving, local residents pointed us in the right direction. We drove through windy streets over broken glass breaking for the pressure of the bombs. As we neared the site of destruction, we went the rest of the way on foot to the flattened house.

On the way, Red Cross workers and the army were carrying stretchers with children between the ages of 3 and 12, as well as bodies of women.

The site itself was impressive.

Floors of the house had collapsed, and emergency workers where crawling below a slanted piece of concrete, digging through rubble made up of heavy dusty concrete blocks and portruding metal wires pulling out bodies.

The scene was important not only as a record of a human calamity, but also from the perspective of news it was the first piece of reporting which permitted journalists to confirm the reports we had been hearing from refugees.

Regardless of the political lean of the Shaloub family apparently related to high ranking Hezbollah members, the reality is that women and children had been killed in a rocket attack.

As one person explained to me that once born into a Hezbollah family, always a Hezbollah; however, politics does not justify killing family members of any group, especially those which are children.

Once footage and stand ups shot, we headed back to Tyre to wrap up the news of day. The drive back however was not reassuring as artillery thudding into the hills could be heard closer than for comfort level.

The following day with the call of the temporary ceasefire which consisted of brief IDF (Israeli Defense Force) cessation of air strikes, we became more bold and headed to the town of Tibnine, again artillery fire resounding.

This time the image of material destruction unquestionably superceded what we had seen in Qana.

Walking through the deserted city, the center of the old town was flattened, leaving in the middle of the old part a crater that must have been about 15 feet deep.

As the crew marched ahead to film the rubble and shoot some standups with ABC correspondent Wilf Dinnick, I spotted an old lady looking out through a doorway.

Speaking with her quietly and gently, Jamila explained to me that she was alone, her family having fled to Beirut and abroad.

She had decided to stay in her house, about 40 meters away from the center of the bombing. She explained the
noise had been incredibly loud, and sure she was scared but at the end of the day she wasn't leaving.

The question was where was she sleeping? "In the hospital near the southern gateway of the city" she answered back. A light went off in my head, 'hospital?, we should go.'

I alerted the crew of the presence of the lady and the existence of the hospital. Leaving the eerily quiet deserted city, we headed down to the hospital.

The contrast between an empty town to a bustling street was remarkable. And it was bustling but not with the movements of a regular day, but rather busy with refugees who had walked up from Bint Jebel, a town at the heart of the Hezbollah Israeli war.

Exhausted, crying, and stressed, were the voices of the people whose stories we listened to. People had been holed up in houses for 20 days, terrified during the battle taking place between Israelis and Hezbollah.

But exhausted, some explained, like a 16 year old girl whose name I can't remember but who spoke perfect English: " We simply couldn't take it anymore, so we decided to leave".

Most of the people seated around the ledge of two raised gas pumps in the gas station explained that they had made the journey from Bint Jebel over the course of three hours on foot.

There was an old lady sitting facing crying women accompanied by their kids and Sri Lankan maids, sitting legs stretched out straight in front of her, with a solid walking stick lying along the length of her right leg.

As I looked further afield, taking in the scene, I noticed that the area was filled with old ladies, a bandadged father speaking with his veiled wife who explained that she had lost her American passport under the rubble.

Children, women, foreign workers maids, were either wandering around looking for rides up to Beirut, or simply sitting along the street recouping before moving on to refugee centers set up in schools throughout the city.

Feeling boulder and encouraged by the lack of air strikes, we decided to continue making our way down south, to Bint Jebel.

The city was destroyed and quiet. The odd bit of artillery fire could be heard on in the distance. And just over the ridge south of the city was the Isreali border.

While walking through what was once a central market place, you could hear Israeli jets overhead, and the constant buzzing of a mopet like sound of the spy drone, keeping an eye on the media's and any other movement in the region.

The summer breeze would also move pieces of metal signs hanging of of torn apart facades, growning and grinding. Otherwise, you could hear footsteps of the press crunching through the rubble. Finally we saw the magnitude of destruction.

The central part of town will have to raised, bulldozed. And considering the amount of destruction, it would seem like it would take 10 years before the place would look normal again.

By the third day of our travels in the south and east of Tyre, we headed out once more on day two of the arial bombing ceasefire.

This time, this time we went to the town to Srifa, which yet again had suffered the consequences of air raids, partly because
of it loyal connections to Hezbollah.

The rubble having swallowed up other families was crawling with Hezbollah keeping an eye on the press... Once again
the story had changed. It felt like it was more connected to a propaganda war, whereby the press was to record the stories of so called innocent victims which may have been nothing more than fighters launching attacks to the neighborhood the demolition had taken place.

Yes, the houses were destroyed, but no the characters claiming to have sons under the rubble looked too relaxed, too chummy among themselves, and far from being distressed about losing family members. It was an odd place and the story felt more contrived and controlled that what we had bumped into the two previous days.

Without knowing what to make of the atmosphere, noticing its strangeness was also part of the story that makes up the face of war.

All in all, for my first week in the south, it turned out to be interesting journalistically as well as being important in visualizing what war looks like first hand.

By the time I headed back down for a second time, the story was completly different.

Within the first night of being there, at 330 in the morning, I was woken up along as everyone else in our house by the sounds of what we were to learn a day later of a botched IDF commando raid.

The raid keeping all of us up for a long time, listening to machine gun fire, helicopters, airstrikes, APC ammunition being hit sounding more like a strange sequence of fireworks than anything else... all of this taking place at about a kilometer and a half away from where we were staying.

It was dark in the house, and we made sure to keep in that way. I got dressed pretty quickly as everyone else did, and occasionally you could see the silhouette of us or all of us at different times, straining our ears and necks looking out through a window with the night sky as a backdrop.

The raid end around 430/0500, with the sound of Israeli jets schreetching loudly above our heads.

At sunrise, I went off with Norwegian TV to film the damage. It was impressive, and being the first cameras on the scene, we were able to capture the nervousness of the Palestinians living in a camp established in 1948 right next to where the raid took place.

By the end of the morning, the Norwegians were happy to say that there days work was over. They had caught the piece they wanted early. And as the news slowed by the afternoon, so it would for the rest of the week.

It wasn't so much that there was no news to speak off, it was just that the airs raids and explosions in the hills had resumed making the whole southern area off limits to any movements including the UN's and Humanitarian Aid agencies. It was simply too dangerous to go east and south from Tyre which is by the sea.

As we were immobilized, it seeemed that at the same time, the international, and more to the point the American appetite for stories greatly slowed. As interest dwindled, the ability to cover stories in the city became harder.

IDF leaflets dropped from the sky warned people that any movement of bodies at night would be a likely target, and the same for cars, but these were not to move neither day nor night.

The problem of no cars reduced greatly TV networks ability to cover interesting stories, because teams and equipment is bulky, cumbersome and heavy...

As people abided by the rules, and city became quiet. And there is nothing to be said for quiet during time of war. Strangely enough, it always feels more comfortable when you hear bombs in the distance because at least you know something is going on. But when it is quiet, your imagination kicks in, and that is worse than reality.

Then news came that the roads were cut off. No way out of the city. So now the scene is made up on hyper journalists, pinnned down, covering every story possible doable in walking distance, and silence.

Silence bizarely enough is the worst part of war. It leaves you with a feeling of unknown, hence unease. Thoughts turn over repeatedly making you tense. And the tension is increased by the ongoing dismall reports depicting destruction on Al Jazeera, constantly on in the house I was staying in.

Psychological warfare begins and then it becomes a game of keeping yourself calm and busy. And yet being calm is difficult as your body and mind are actually in a constant state of alert even if when it is time to sleep.

After a few days, the decision came from ABC that they wanted to pull me out. But this is not a simple decision, as when working with a network, there are different layers you have to move through before you get a full green light. Then once one plan is installed, everything changes as another decision is made. And lastly, there is the question of saftety.

Any American network has to be extra safe, not only because they value the employees life, but maybe also because it could cost them a lot if something where to happen while not security measures had been taken..

Over the course of 48 hours and indecisions taking place at different levels, being on standby and then relaxing back into
the war zone, to going back on standby was actually pretty exhausting. Probably the most exhausting excercise I have experienced since the begining of the conflict.

Why did we have to wait? Beyond the painful changing of minds taking place at senior levels, we were waiting for the embassy to get the green light from the IDF to clear an hour for safepassage up to the Litani river up 9 kilometers from Tyre.

Mentally those nine kilometers become part of the game of chances or dying versus not. By the end of the 48 hours, I was so ready to leave the place, I would have walked it. I was fed up to be honest especially after dealing with all the mind changes, than the Embassy orders, news of more cars making our drive out into a convoy, and then the contrarian and over virile views
of my local camera crew. Khalas as we say over here, I had had enough, and only had one thing on my mind: Getting to the Litani at any cost!

Finally, on the second day of waiting, speaking with the embassy, we told them we were leaving, and they passed on the information up the line. At the Litani crossing, going over one car at a time over a make shift bridge made up of scrap metal joining up humps of sand in the river, we were in touch with embassy staff explaining they could see our position. Could
they see us through borrowing the eyes of the IDF drone buzzing around over our heads? I don't know, but I would not have been surprised if that was the case.

They could see us, so they could have probably seen us arrive to the make shift bridge to realize that we would be stuck for some time as a old mercedez sadam often used here as communal taxis, was well dug in on one of the sand humps, wheels a spinning around and around.

Looking at the car in front of us, and the efforts made to get it out of its unfortunate position made me laugh. The great escape foiled by red local Merc messing it up for the rest of the gang. But the car got pulled out, the make shift bridge was fixed with the help of about 8 or 9 men working with their pants rolled up wading through water to find ways of stabilizing the metal.

And regardless of my feelings of local engineering, I knew we would make it through, and so we did.

Covering a Crisis

Article Published in Asharq Al Awsat

July 19, 2006

Beirut - Reporting from Beirut these days does not seem to be the easiest task these days. The recent Israeli reprisals for the Hezbolla’s kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers have rendered an already complicated place to navigate even more difficult.

Before the recent events getting around in Beirut was challenging enough. With few referring to streets by their names, and no apparent numbers on the buildings, reaching your final destination was a drive filled with stops and questions.

Today, this process has been made even more complicated for foreign journalists new to this town.

With bilingual drivers scarce, and the fear of more attacks rising, getting around gets progressively more difficult each day.

Having lived in Beirut for the past two years, foreign press is calling me with questions. From print to TV, my contact details have spread out, and I get calls asking for fixers, bilingual drivers and prices.

Prices are on the rise. The price of communal taxis have double. Yesterday, hiring one to drive with me and stay put for an hour cost me 15$ something that would have cost a negotiated 7$ two weeks ago.

In certain place near the southern neighborhood, Dahia, shelled everyday by the Israelis, sugar once costing 0.60$ a kilo is now going for 3.35$. Cigarettes and bread are a third more expensive, and meat and chicken is hard to find.

As I rushed off with my crew to shoot evacuees, in a brief pit stop for food falafels were the only things available.

But not only are shortages affecting prices and availability, what is more complicated for foreign journalist is access to dollars.

The ATM outside HSBC bank in Hamra has paper signs taped next to them: “No $ available” reads the sign. There are still dollars when walking into banks but Bank of Beirut, but these are being dispensed in small sums.

Communications is another problem area. None resident cannot get monthly lines, they can only use sim cards which cost about 100$ each usually rising during the summer season. Additionally, one needs to by unit cards.

I am have been producing for an American network, I am often calling internationally. Each day, I go through the most unit Alpha offers which as of 2 weeks cost 53$, and today units are being sold in shops and hotels for 61$ each.

With the amount of calls I make per day, I am going through about 2 cards, spending about 120$ per day.

But the price rise in mobile phone cards does not only pose a problem for journalist who need to remember to stack up on cards, but also for local residents already impoverished by the situation.

Despite the logistics problem, there is another important factor to keep in mind: one of understanding the story in a country, which has a very complicated geo-political and cultural history.

So how does one start to explain this place to newcomers?

Lebanon is not only physically a complicated place to navigate, but also its political map is even more complicated. And without understanding the subtleties of the system, the risk of running black and white statements can lead to erroneous reporting.

Lebanon is like a nerve for the Middle East. Not only does the diversity of the sectarian communities, including these inter-marrying reflect a complex system of allegiances, so does the international backing of the various communities. Who supports who affects Lebanon.

On the ground, not every shia supports Hezbollah, not every muslim adheres to war with Israel. On the street there is a multitude of opinions.

At the end of the day civilians are being affected by the events, and their livelihood and their country are at stake. But as shortages rise, as one refugee in Beirut explained, “I wouldn’t mind fighting and becoming a jihadist in the fight against Israel”.

But opinions vary which makes it hard for journalists to assess the editorial make up of their pieces. The best advice is to talk to as many as possible to grasp the level of difference in opinion.

So all in all, the situation out here is complex and quickly changing. The blockades and Israeli habit of blowing up trucks coming in from Syria with supplies will only make life for both the civilians and logistics personnel of news teams more difficult.

Classrooms Become The New Homes For Displaced Lebanese

Article Published in Asharq Al Awsat

July 15, 2006

Beirut - Colonel Chidiac head of the Fire Department and in charge of coordinating the emergency units for Beirut explained in his office: “There are about 5000 people relocating, but the number is increasing everyday”.

“We are distributing water, medical supplies, and bedding” for the public schools he continues.

Sitting in the colonel’s office, Gaby Khalil, from the High Relief Committee set up by the consul of ministers adds: “But things are complicated, we are concerned about what the quantities especially as the city gets closed off”.

“Of the refugees there are adults of course but also many babies under the age of 6 months, which means milk and diapers” Khalil continues.

Across Beirut and throughout the country, public and private schools are have opened to absorb and shelter fleeing Lebanese.

In Beirut, many have been making their way up from the south of the country and from the southern neighborhood of Dahia of Beirut.

A pregnant woman, in her last month sits on a plastic chair at the front of the school: “I have just gotten her this morning”, she says. “But only God knows how long we will be here. I am concerned and scared about my baby” she continues her hands joined at her lap craddling her stomach.

Mariam Hoss, also newly arrived explains that over the past few days: “it has been raining bombs over the house”.

It took her a day of searching, and a night of sleeping in the streets before she could find where her family was. Now all 34 members comprising of her brothers and sisters and their children have regrouped.

Climbing up to the different floors, classrooms are now home to large families. Housing between 17 and 22 people are camping out on the floor.

Hassan Kawar a former restaurant employee says: “No we don’t have anything with us, none of our belongings”.

The 71 year old, Hussein Awada, resting on a blanket spread over the floor under a blackboard describes the present situation as being much different from the civil war: “The difference between then and now is that the bombs are more dangerous because of technology. After looking at the bridge destroyed by my house, the way it was blown out makes me not even feel safe in the shelter”.

Yet in remembering the war, he becomes upset: “Before we went through a lot, and now we have to go through this again?” the tone of his voice ending with a question.

When asked what types of provisions he has with him, and whether he has any money to sustain his situation: “We brought food, but don’t have any money. I don’t know what we will do”.

Considering his destitute situation Awada lays the blame on both sides of the conflict.

The fire brigade sirens resound, the firemen who had been distributed mattresses to the school get their warning call to move on to the next place.

As the fire worker, Ali climbs into the car, he begins describing who the pace of their schedules has changed.

“Usually we work for 24 hours and rest for 48 hours, but now we work for 48 hours and sleep for 24” he explains.

When asked how he was keeping up: “I am not like a normal person anyway, I just keep on going, and we take rest when we can.”

But the fire brigade is busy and these are just the first few days of the state of war Lebanon is in.

Yet their burden of emergency relief is not carried by fire department alone. Back at the headquarters of the Fire Department, Colonal Chidiac explained that agencies across the country were working together. The Red Cross, the Civil Defense, volunteer organizations, youth groups and political parties were banding together to deal with the humanitarian disaster.

Getting Braced for War

English version of article published for Newsweek (Russia)
No onlink available - Hardcopy in Russian only

July 14, 2006

Beirut - “We are getting nervous”, says James, a Lebanese man in his 30s, manager of a computer store in East Beirut. “They are not only hitting terrorist targets. The strategic attacks are getting closer to the civilian area”, James continues. “No I couldn’t sleep last night”.

Maurice, the general manager of a restaurant further up the road explained: “I stayed up smoking and drinking while monitoring the news. It is just that we cannot make sense of life here in Lebanon. And what upsets me the most is the thought of children being terrified by the assaults”.

Having already endured a difficult night with strikes becoming full assaults in southern Beirut by 4 am this morning, the Lebanese are increasingly concerned.

As the news accumulates throughout the day, the further naval blockades and repeated shelling of the airport and Hezbollah stronghold in the suburbs of southern Beirut, there is little hope for the Israelis relenting the attack.

Zeina standing outside a super market in East Beirut is furious: “I don’t think it is okay that one single party should be making decisions alone, and put national security at risk.”

“I am against Hezbollah”, Zeina continues, “but I am also against Israel’s reaction. There are millions of civilians in Lebanon... And once again, as usual, all our infrastructure is being taken out first. It is as if it is in Israel’s interest to harm all the Lebanese. No really I am furious! It is just what is happening in the country is simply wrong.”

At 3:55 am this morning, neighborhoods of southern Beirut awoke to the thundering sound of Israeli fighter jets flying overhead. One bomb, then another, followed by retaliatory tracer fire and anti-aircraft shelling were the sounds of which the Lebanese awoke to.

Finally around 515am, as the sunrise lightens the sky, calm seems to have returned, birds beginning to chirp in the trees. Moustaqbal TV crews are spotted climbing into trucks headed toward Dahie. The calm however is only temporary as Israeli offensive resumes in the morning.

These were heading to the southern neighborhoods to get the first daylight pictures of the damage caused by the attacks.

A little south of Dahie, the Hezbollah stronghold, the flyover bridge over Sfeir Street, was gutted by a shell, leaving a hole 25 feet in diameter.

All the windows of the surrounding buildings were blown out, shards of glass covering the streets. The metal security doors on shops bent and rip out of their frames. The usually bustling cross street was deserted, not a person in sight.

A gas station worker, Ali, working up the street said that seeing the damage in the neighborhood left him with a strange feeling this morning, even if he had lived through the civil war.

A supporter of Hezbollah, Ali explained when asked what he thought about the Israeli tactics that all of the unfolding events were because of the Israelis. When asked whether it seems okay for all the people of Lebanon to suffer for the actions of the Hezbollah, he became agitated saying that: “Everyone who is not with Hezbollah is with Israel”.

James back at the computer store when hearing Ali’s remarks repearted to him: “Sure we are with Israel” he sneared cynically. “We just want this to be finished. We don’t like the Hezbollah and them as a militia to be disarmed. We cannot live with militias, we need one government just like other countries”.

In the meantime, the Lebanese are stoking up at the supermarkets. Bracing themselves for a longer assault then expected, they are buying up provisions.

Simon, the store manager of a supermarket chain explains that already this morning: “Before the opening of the shop, there were 40 people cued up waiting to get in”.

People are starting to stock up on: “milk, oil, water, sugar, coffee, meat, canned food... the usual”, continues Simon.

One woman who wanted to remain unnamed explained: “Hopefully this will end quickly, but I have a bad feeling. We are walking straight into the past”.

As the country is becoming further isolated from the outside world, with no possibility of exiting except for maybe the northern frontier with Syria, people are beginning to hunker down. With no exit for the time being, and rumors of the phone lines going down, and internet access becoming more sporatic, it is a matter of waiting.

“It is so difficult for families” cried out Zeina. “My children are away in Europe but I have friends who children are in Lebanon, and their parents abroad... And there is also all those people who work and live here who don’t have the chance to leave. How do you think they must be feeling!”

There is a sense of hopelessness for the time being, as Lebanese forces appears to be overpowered by the Israeli might, and warfare being waged by the Hezbollah which for the time being seem hard to reign in.

All in all, the atmosphere is tense. A source from the American diplomatic core stated that people should brace themselves for the next 72 hours, which will prove to be difficult.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Pessimism Sets In Over Escalation of War

English version of article published in Der Spiegel,1518,426693,00.html)

July 13, 2006

Beirut - On the hot and humid day in Beirut, the normally bustling Hamra Street in West Beirut, is uncharacteristically calm by the afternoon. Shops have been progressively closing during the day; traffic has lightened.

Off of Hamra Street, Zakaria, a flower shop keeper, on Jeanne d’Arc Street explains: “I am used to the Israeli actions. I don’t know about tonight but certainly something will happen”.

And when it comes to where he might go if the situation gets worse, Zakaria continues: “I was here during the Israeli invasion in 1982, I did not leave then, I will not leave now.”

Nadia standing further up the road is a little less stoic about the ensuing events. Frustrated she burst out: “ I don’t like politics... What are we going to do? There is no agreement in parliament and we just want to live.” In response to what her contingency plan may be: “If I were to leave? Where would I go? There is no one to take us in.”

With little faith in a positive political outcome, the Lebanese people are left to their own devices.

In the southern neighborhood of Dahia, a Hezbollah stronghold, eyewitnesses described the area emptying. Cars packed with people and furniture attached to the roof have been leaving. Hussein born in Dahia has gone off to stay with relatives in another neighborhood.

In the downtown area, many coffee shops are closed. For the few that are open, there were not many clients.

Tariq and Salah from Kuwait describe their vacation taking a strange turn: “We had a lot of fun the first few days here but things have turned 180 degrees from fun to fear... we have poor timing” they finished lightheartedly.

Not far from the downtown, at the five star Intercontinental Hotel, Phoenicia, guests are sitting with the bags packed in the lobby.

Speaking to a group of women on vacation from the Gulf visiting relatives, they are not sure what is going to happen. The events overnight and throughout the day have led them to cut their vacation short by a week. “We are packed, yes, but we do not know how we are going to leave the country... There is Syria of course, but we have to wait and see”.

Farah a receptionist working at the hotel describes his morning as being hectic: “ A lot of people left this morning. Embassies sent buses down to the hotel, to take the guests to border with Syria”.

In the meantime, Atif, a driver taking people out to the frontier explains that the border is jammed with cars cueing between 5 and 6 hours for exit visas.

Yet fleeing through the border is not cheap. Taxis on the other side are reportedly charging 250$ to get to Damascus, a ride which usually costs around 10 to 20 dollars.

Back at the Intercontinental Phonecia, lady meeting a friend at the hotel for lunch describes her morning: “I woke up early this morning to the sounds of the bombing of the airport, and my mother yelling in the house. The recent events have really upset my her”, explains Lina who is in Lebanon holiday visiting her parents. “It is not the same as in the war” she continues referring back to the 15 year Civil War she grew up in, “but the feeling of instability is hard no less.”

No one knows what the next move will be. Rather, the general feeling is one of sitting tight and waiting.

With the airport incapacitated from this morning’s bombing, and the naval blockade stopping boat traffic, the reality that there is nothing else to do but to wait and see for the time being.

Driving through town, the traffic is light, although there are still workers and people walking along the street. For those standing by and sitting on public benches their immobility is indicative of the general atmosphere.

In the meantime, cars began this morning and throughout the day to cue at the gas station.

On Tabariz, next to downtown, the station manager of Medco, Shukri, explained that so far they have served about three times as many customers than on a usual day: “We were really busy, we serviced about 1000 cars in eleven hours. At this rate can last for another 3 days and then we won’t have any more gas.

When asking him about how to get gas now the traffic at the port is blocked, he says optimistically: “This crisis won’t last more than one week, we will be getting gas again.”

As the day cool off with the incoming evening breeze off the sea, the city is bracing itself for the possibility of it being a long night.

Elias, a 22 year youth thinks over the tracer fire of last night followed by the sound of anti-aircraft fire, and the news of this morning bombings raids in the south of Lebanon: “Maybe war is a good thing, it might help us to finally come up with one solution. It is always the same problem, no one agrees, each community for its own skin, and there is no national solution.” He continues: “We need reform and reconciliation. With a single hand, Lebanon could make good decisions”.

A difficult future to face, Elias believes in the importance of national unity and cohesion.

As difficult as it is to say what will come of the recent events, the thought of war is on people's mind's whether in memory or pessimistic anticipation.