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What was it like to live in Beirut during the Israel-Lebanon war of 2006? Lebanese agronomy professor and social activist Rami Zurayk spent the whole war in Beirut with his family. War Diary: Lebanon 2006is his record of the 33-day-long onslaught.
Describing it as "magnificent," British author and journalist Matt Carr praised the book in these terms:
"Alternately angry, poignant, blackly comic, despairing and humane, his diary provides a very personal perspective on the war, on Israel, and on Lebanese and Arab politics that was – and is – almost entirely absent in the Western media."
During the 2006 war, the Israeli military killed 1,200 Lebanese citizens-- most of them civilians-- and destroyed a large proportion of the country's infrastructure: power plants, factories, vital bridges, and the whole, densely populated area of southern Beirut known as the "Dahieh". (43 Israeli civilians and 121 Israeli military were also killed in the war.)
Throughout those 33 days in the summer of 2006, Israel's hi-tech, lethal (and U.S.-supported) military was trying to inflict such suffering on Lebanon's people that it would turn them against Hizbullah, which was both a resistance movement and a political party with members in the national parliament. At first, some Lebanese people seemed responsive to the argument Israeli spokesmen made, that the death and destruction their country was suffering was "all Hizbullah's fault." For his part, Zurayk was one of the many Lebanese leftists who countered that argument, seeing Israel's attack as yet another episode in the West's decades-long project to subjugate the Arab world.