This KGNU Hemispheres program begins with a reading of Etel Adnan’s evocative poem, “The Beirut Hell Express.” Israel invaded Lebanon on June 6, 1982. Dr. Amal Shamma testifies that Israel cut off water, medicine and food to Beirut and for five days used her Barbir Hospital as a military post. Later, after the Israeli troops left on August 12th the hospital was bombed and the 100-bed facility was reduced to an emergency room. In addition, the Israelis destroyed four apartment buildings near the hospital, resulting in mass civilian casualties. The shelling was deliberate, she says, in order to terrorize the population. Her first-hand account is moving as she pleads, “Don’t people see what’s happening? Don’t they see our children dying?”
Interview by David Barsamian.
Recorded at KGNU.
Amal Shamma was the head of pediatrics at Beirut’s Barbir Medical Center during the 1982 Israeli siege. A U.S. citizen, she was born in Lebanon.