Plight of the Displaced

BEIRUT — Here’s the story I did for the San Francisco Chronicle last night.

As Israeli jets screamed overhead and the resounding booms of bombs and shells echoed across the city Saturday, Ahmad Nanou, his wife and their 11 children clung together in an old school in a Beirut neighborhood as war raged around them.
Israeli jets and naval gunships unleashed a furious pounding of the Lebanese capital on Saturday afternoon, killing at least 33 people during the fourth day of the Middle East’s latest war.
Nanou comes from the ancient southern Lebanese city of Tyre, where until Wednesday he and his children sold lottery tickets in the street. That night, as Israel launched its attack on the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah in retaliation for the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers, he and his family — four of the children still in diapers, he said — fled north by using back roads and crossing open fields. The Israelis had already bombed the bridges and main highways north to Beirut in their initial assault.
Soon after the family fled the area, the Israeli air force bombed the back roads, too.
“The planes scared my children,” Nanou said as he waved his hands around the family’s new quarters in a Beirut school.
One of his children lay on a foam mattress without moving, staring straight up. “My 3-year-old is in shock and can’t walk.”

I’ll be doing a lot of my posts like this, as much of my energy has to go into the freelance work. I hope y’all don’t mind these shortcuts right now.