I missed the anniversary. Forty years ago yesterday, I was in “First Secondary” i.e. 7th Grade, at International College, in Beirut, Lebanon. My Dad was a Professor of Agriculture at the American University of Beirut; that spring, the family was living at the University Experimental Farm while I stayed with friends in Beirut. In June it was getting warm, so Phys Ed class was held at the AUB Beach; it was towards the end of the school year and they pretty well just turned us loose to have fun. Except for Monday June 5th, suddenly the gym teacher was hollering for us to get out of the water, get showered and dressed double-quick, and back to class. Only there were no classes, just sit down and shut up. Nobody told us anything, but pretty soon we all found out the war had started. One by one our parents showed up to get us. Later that morning there was Dad’s face poking in the classroom door, he’d had to drive an hour and a half in from the farm. A few days later we were evacuated, just to be safe, for a few very pleasant weeks in Greece. I’ll never forget it. The whole region still has a nasty hangover from that war, which settled, really, nothing.


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From: Hanan Cohen (Jun 07 2007, at 00:53)

If we, Middle Easterns, could use understatements like "nasty hangover from the war", things would have been solved a long time ago.


From: James Robertson (Jun 07 2007, at 04:25)

The Six day War settled one thing: Israel's ability to continue to exist. You have to recall that all the surrounding Arab states were preparing for war - Israel chose to attack so that it could pick the time and place of the battles. Had Jordan stayed out, we wouldn't have the mess on the West Bank that we have now - and bear in mind that prior to 1967, when Jordan owned the West Bank, and Egypt owned Gaza, no one spoke much about "The Palestinian People" - certainly the Arab states didn't.


From: John Cowan (Jun 07 2007, at 06:26)

An interesting place, IC, judging by the pictures. (Not much of a beach, though.) You could pick up the Class of 2006, drop them in a New York City high school, and they wouldn't look a bit out of place -- except, of course, for a certain lack of diversity.

So few wars do.


From: Tim Bray (Jun 07 2007, at 08:27)

James, your arguments are unsupported by the facts. First, if the government that was recently elected by the Palestinians actually accepted Israel's right to exist, we might be walking the path to peace. Second, I lived in that part of the world for many years, and in 1967 I was a mere eleven years old and I can assure you that the ubiquitous Palestinian refugee camps kept that issue in everyone's face; it was central to the rhetoric of the period.


From: ars (Jun 08 2007, at 21:36)

Perhaps of interest to you, I thought this was a pretty good article:

Why the Six-Day War is still being fought.

by David Remnick



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