Wednesday, 26 March 2008


A devastated town recovers, in a way, writes Rebecca Murray:

Mohanna's house was bombed by Israel during the 34-day conflict in 2006, as were houses of most residents of Siddiqine— an impoverished village of 6,000, about 10km inland from Tyre.

Siddiqine resembled a flattened moonscape in the bitterly cold and damp winter that followed, with more than 700 homes out of a total 1050 hit, and half that number completely destroyed.

Mohanna lost two tobacco harvests from the bombardment and cluster munitions, and is now $10,000 in debt. Forced to give up supplementary work in construction after his heart surgery, the 62-year-old struggles to provide for his family and pay a monthly $100 medication fee for his son—who has violent seizures related to chronic meningitis.

During the fall of 2006, the Hezbollah and its reconstruction wing, Jihad al-Binaa, criss-crossed the south and Beirut's southern suburbs, surveying the destruction of up to 140,000 housing units valued at more than 1.5 billion dollars, and providing families up to 10,000 dollars for rentals while their homes were rebuilt.

More than a year and a half later, Mohanna still waits for the government's promised $8,000. He has only received $3,000 out of a potential $10,000 from Hezbollah.

Although Siddiqine's main road is now peppered with construction sites, and structures are slowly rising, there is a prevalent mood of pessimism.

Picture: A cluster bomb

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