Westerners remember their handful of hostages in Beirut and forget that perhaps 30,000 Lebanese were kidnapped in the country's 15-year war; of these, 17,000 disappeared forever.
Outrages against women in Bosnia have only emphasised a cruel truth: war lasts longer for mothers and wives, whose sons and husbands - and
occasionally daughters - participate in conflict. Almost three years after the end of the civil war in Beirut, Lebanese women are still suffering the results of a tragedy that cost 150,000 lives. Many wait vainly for loved ones kidnapped almost a decade ago. Others cling to the desperate hope that dead sons may have survived. A few wait for daughters whom they know to be still alive.
As the death toll of the Balkan war approaches that of Lebanon's - at eight times the speed - the experiences of three Beirut mothers are a cruel reminder of the agony that continues long after the last shots have been fired.