They are bulldozing the garbage from the small plot of land behind the plane trees of Sabra and Chatila. Cheap concrete blocks are being laid to form a makeshift dais for speakers. A black flag has been draped by the wall to remind the Palestinians – as if they could forget – that here lies the mass grave of hundreds of their relatives. Up to 400 corpses lie beneath the soft red earth. Up to 2,000 died. But only now, 18 years after the majzara, the massacre, has the atrocity been commemorated.
Of course, if it had happened in a land to the south of here – a land called Israel, which the Palestinians of Sabra and Chatila still call Palestine – the world’s press would gather each year at this time to honour the dead. Mercifully, Israel has never suffered such a slaughter. But if it had, the American president would surely make an annual pilgrimage to the site. Certainly, every US presidential hopeful would turn up. Relatives of the dead would be treated with reverence and generosity.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies