US Lebanese Protests in America

In different parts of the USA, there are protests against Israeli invasion on Lebanon.

US Lebanese Protests in America

In a suburban bungalow in the leafy neighbourhood of Dearborn Heights, Michigan, a family is in mourning.

Clad in black, they stand and thank the friends and neighbours who bring their condolences. On the table, untouched, are figs and the Lebanese sweet bread, mamul.

Two weeks ago, Amne Chami-Bazzi, wife, mother of six and grandmother of 20, died in the shelling of Bint Jbeil, in southern Lebanon.

"A friend of mine called me from Lebanon," says her son, Naim Bazzi. "He said, 'Your dad made it safe.' I said 'What about my mom?' He said, 'Long live you and your family. Your mom has passed away.'"

Naim Bazzi's story is not unusual here. Dearborn has the highest concentration of Americans with roots in southern Lebanon - about a third of its 100,000.

Lebanese restaurants and flags line the main streets. The local cultural centre is named after the town of Bint Jbeil, and Dearborn is twinned with the southern Lebanese village of Qana.

Doctor Adnan Hammad runs an Arab community health clinic in Dearborn.

He says his clinic has been completely overwhelmed with people needing counselling as a result of the latest fighting.

"Our therapists, psychiatrists, counsellors, medical doctors, outreach workers are doubling their work," he says.

"I even called the Michigan department of community health a few days ago asking for emergency relief."

And, he says, the staff needs help too. "Some of them have actually lost up to eight members of their immediate families in Lebanon," he says.

"Can you imagine a staff member who lost eight members of his family in Lebanon and he is going to be a community therapist?"

Moral support

That feeling of shock, stress and anxiety is also turning to anger here the longer the conflict goes on. In the past couple of weeks, the community has held several demonstrations in Dearborn and the nearby Detroit area.

And as well as expressing anger, the demonstrators have been showing their support for Hezbollah, which is officially considered a terrorist organisation by the United States. Most Lebanese Americans in Dearborn are Shia Muslims. They do not agree with Hezbollah's Islamist political ideology, but see it as a Lebanese group fighting Israeli aggression.

Dearborn community activist, Kenweh Debaja says residents have become emboldened by what they see as an unfair American policy towards the war.

"The moral support for Hezbollah has been getting gradually louder since this whole war with Lebanon began," she says.

"Hezbollah is seen as a liberating force and not as some terrorist organisation. They are seen as an integral part of the Lebanese infrastructure, the Lebanese government, the Lebanese society and Lebanese culture. That's something that you just can't deprogramme people to forget just because America labels them a terrorist organisation."


The Lebanese Americans in Dearborn say they know they have to shout louder than most to be heard - recent polls in the United States say the majority of Americans believe the Israeli military operations in Lebanon are justified.

But Naim Bazzi says it is the sheer strength of his community which has kept him moving forward after the loss of his mother.

"When I heard the news, I honestly felt that all the weight was on my shoulder like I was carrying my mom's casket," he says.

"I couldn't even walk any more. But when these people start to come here and offer their condolence and offer their sorrows and give me the hugs and the kisses and the warm feelings - surrounding me with these feelings - I start to feel like everyone's giving me a hand - to carry this casket. And now I'm still carrying it - but with love. And I'm not tired anymore."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16