9/16: Sabra and Shatila
On 16 September 1982 a massacre was committed on a scale that equals 9/11 in terms of loss of human life, possibly even exceeding it.
On that day, some 150 Lebanese Phalange militia men were allowed into the Sabra-Shatila Palestinian refugee camps in West Beirut, by Israeli forces which had encircled and sealed-off these camps. What followed was an orgy of rape and murder for some 40 hours, in which an estimated 800 to 3,500 men, women and children were killed, while the Israeli forces looked on, even lighting up the night sky from helicopters.
For a detailed account, as well as background, of the massacre that bordered on genocide click on this link.
Ariel Sharon, then Minister of Defense, had authorised the entry of the murderous Phalangists, and was held responsible and he was forced to step down. Some 300,000 to 400,000 demostrated in Tel Aviv in protest of the murder of these innocent civilians.
The United Nations has also condemned the massacre.
In spite of this, remembrance ceremonies for 9/11 and 9/16 are rather very different in scale and tone. For Sabra and Shatila, the world hasn't even bothered counting the dead and only rough estimates are available.
The remembrance "ceremony" for the Sabra/Shatila victims will be a sober affair. Here's how the BBC put it, commenting on the 2002 (20th) anniversary of the massacres:
The Palestinian survivors of the 1982 massacres will probably gather for speeches at the place where their loved-ones were buried en masse - a dusty vacant lot marked by a pathetic temporary monument of breezeblocks.
This year is unlikely to be very different...
Keywords: Sabra and Shatila, Sharon, 9/11