Remembering Sabra and Shatila: On massacres, atrocities and holocausts

by Sonja Karkar

The Massacre

It happened twenty-eight years ago – 16 September 1982.  A massacre so awful that people who know about it cannot forget it.  The photos are gruesome reminders – charred, decapitated, indecently violated corpses, the smell of rotting flesh, still as foul to those who remember it as when they were recoiling from it all those years ago. For the victims and the handful of survivors, it was a 36-hour holocaust without mercy.  It was deliberate, it was planned and it was overseen.  But to this day, the killers have gone unpunished.

Sabra and Shatila – two Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon – were the theatres for this staged slaughter.  The former is no longer there and the other is a ghostly and ghastly reminder of man’s inhumanity to men, women and children – more specifically, Israel’s inhumanity, the inhumanity of the people who did Israel’s bidding and the world’s inhumanity for pretending it was of no consequence. There were international witnesses – doctors, nurses, journalists – who saw the macabre scenes and have tried to tell the world in vain ever since.

Each act was barbarous enough on its own to warrant fear and loathing.  It was human savagery at its worst and Dr Ang Swee Chai was an eye witness as she worked with the Palestinian Red Crescent Society on the dying and the wounded amongst the dead.  What she saw was so unimaginable that the atrocities committed need to be separated from each other to even begin comprehending the viciousness of the crimes. [1]

Continue reading “Remembering Sabra and Shatila: On massacres, atrocities and holocausts”

Sabra And Shatila: On massacres, atrocities and holocausts

In honour of the victims of the Sabra Shatila massacre, we are republishing this piece by Sonja Karkar from 2007. May we never forget this Israeli-enabled Phalangist crime. Warning: the following article depicts the horror of a massacre and should be read by mature readers — details of the atrocity appear over the fold.

candleSabra And Shatila
On massacres, atrocities and holocausts

by Sonja Karkar, Women for Palestine and Australians for Palestine

The Massacre

It happened twenty-five years ago – 16 September 1982. A massacre so awful that people who know about it cannot forget it. The photos are gruesome reminders – charred, decapitated, indecently violated corpses, the smell of rotting flesh, still as foul to those who remember it as when they were recoiling from all those years ago. For the victims and the handful of survivors, it was a 36-hour holocaust without mercy. It was deliberate, it was planned and it was overseen. But to this day, the killers have gone unpunished.

Sabra and Shatila – two Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon – were the theatres for this staged slaughter. The former is no longer there and the other is a ghostly and ghastly reminder of man’s inhumanity to men, women and children – more specifically, Israel’s inhumanity, the inhumanity of the people who did Israel’s bidding and the world’s inhumanity for pretending it was of no consequence. There were international witnesses – doctors, nurses, journalists – who saw the macabre scenes and have tried to tell the world in vain ever since.

Continue reading “Sabra And Shatila: On massacres, atrocities and holocausts”