A Lebanese perspective on the crisis in the Middle-east

A Lebanese perspective on the crisis in the Middle-east
By: Carly O'Keefe
Carbondale, IL - SIU PhD Student Ali Srour is thousands of miles away from his family as his homeland is under attack. Srour's family lives in Beirut and he has had difficulty contacting them by phone since Israeli air strikes began.
Having lived in Lebanon the better part of his life, Srour understands how tension gave way to violence, which could lead to war between Hezbollah and Israel.
It may be difficult for folks in the Heartland to understand why a group like Hezbollah would call for all-out-war with Israel. Many, including the Bush Administration, have labeled the Lebanese militant group as a terrorist organization. Srour says they are not. He calls its members freedom fighters.
In an interview Monday, I asked Srour if the group was like al Qaeda. He said no.
"They've been labeled unfairly," said Srour.
"I wish that people see things as they are. Be fair. Don't be blinded, open your eyes and you'll see the truth; who is the victim and who's the killer," said Srour. "In Lebanon, we are the victims; we have always been the victim there. We didn't invade Israel, they invaded us. The first time in 1982, the second time in 1992, the third time 1996, and this is the fourth time. They keep always killing us why I don't know; I don't know...We've been living in a war since 1978, maybe before that time. We've been killed every day and every night. We can not go on any longer. We have the right to live like any other people in the world. We have the right to smile."
A world away from his homeland, Srour waits in Carbondale, hoping to find a way home, back to his family and future wife.
"Even the Israeli Army, they are air striking the boarder between Lebanon and Syria, there is no way I can go inside Lebanon. There is no way, no way. They canceled my flight, so I am still waiting, I don't know for how long," said Srour.
Srour did find some relief in getting in touch with his parents by phone Wednesday. However, his sister and fiancé are still unreachable.