This is one of the most beautiful houses in Qana, and also one of the most intact. It's painted in cheerful colours but it's a house of tears and pain. It stands right beside the UN headquarters building and church. We were told that the family that lived there ran into the UN church to seek shelter when the attack began, because they were afraid that they would be hit. They thought the UN place would be a safe haven for them - instead it became their grave. All family members except one were killed - while their nearby house reained pretty much intact.
Right by the side of the road, where the square espanade with the graves of the people killed in 1996 is, there's a monument dedicated to the UNIFIL Fijian blue helmets soldiers that where killed in Qana between 1978 and 2002 while seeking peace for Lebanon. It's a simple pillar with a UN plaque and their names and year of death written on it. May the rest in peace
Unfortunately I don't remember what this building was: I know it belonged to the Fijian UN headquarters... but I'm at loss about its purpose: I believe that it also served as a hospital, however. LIke all the other buildings surrounding the destroyed UN church, this one too has been shelled beyond repair. This one too is still used as a house by local families. It's right beind the trenches dug by the Fijians, and the small corridors that led underground to the bunkers. But there was no room down there to host all the families fleeing their homes in fear.
This building is right at the entrance of the genocide site: it's the building where the Fijian UN headquartes were located - and as you can see it's badly destroyed. It has been left as it was in 1996 - crumbling down walls, no windows, and still bearing the signs of artillery. The sad part is that it is still inhabited - no longer by soldiers but by a family with very small children, who came outside to say a shy "merhaba" to us. They front-yard overlooks the massacre yard- their house is part of the massacre site. How can this children know love rather than hate?
Just beside the main road, in the new Martyr's square, lies the monument and graves to the civilians killed in the attack. They are part of a square monument, and very simple and linear in their shape- black and grey - with the names of the dead people inscribed on them. When we arrived a man came towards us: he's the keeper of the memorial site, and a survivor of the attack. He translated painfully the writings on the cold stone: names and surnames - entire families blown away in one day.
When the Israeli army abandoned Qana after the attack, they left behind a tank.It stands right behind what's left of the UN church: a sad reminder of the day. It makes the massacre impossible to forget - and it perpetuates its memory, especially in the youner generation. We saw small children, too small to have witnessed the attack, playing in it - as if it were a big fun toy. I fear that their generation will know no hope, no peace. Growing up in anger - they will likely seek anger, live in anger. I see their future very dark.
This is what's left of the UN church after the Israeli shelling - basically the skeleton of it. The charred dead bodies have been removed - but everything else inside has been left has it was. Broken glass, some small pieces of burned wood, little children toys, bits of clothes, and rusty iron pieces of artillery... basically the remains of the heavy shelling.
It happened: the new genocide. And it happened in indifference and oblivion, on 18 April 1996. The Israeli Army shelled the Fijian UNIFIL headquarters in Qana, where about 800 people - mostly women and children - had taken shelter, killing 106 of them and injuring 110 others. Today this Shiite village remembers the genocide with plaques and memorials in the new Martyr's square - today everyone still feels the pain of that sad April day: everyone lost a family member, a friend, a neighbour. Their souls can't find peace, their hearts are full of painful anger.