For the last 6 or 7 years the bulk of my environmental work has been in South Lebanon. I got to know the area pretty well and practically lived with its people on a day-to-day basis.
I was devastated to see them go through the atrocities committed against them. I decided that I will not sit idle and I will do whatever I can to be of help. One of the villages I worked at recently was completely devastated and its population fled to Saida. They had so little time to leave that most of them just left without packing anything.
I am constantly in touch with their municipality president and have been sending them stuff from Beirut to Saida via a very courageous truck driver who knows me only from my phone number. I keep calling him and telling him to go here and there and pick up stuff: sponge mattresses, baby diapers, food items, etc … and lo and behold he always manages to get them to Saida both to my amazement and that of the village municipality president. We have nicknamed him “Olmert Buster” and call him OB for short.
Yesterday, during my daily call to the prez he said they have about 25 babies less than one year old and they are in desperate need for specialty milk.
I call a friend of mine who works for a relief agency and state my need. He said that they are out of that kind of milk but points me to the only company left with stocks of that particular item.
I call them up and the following conversation ensues:
Me: Hello Ma’am, my name is xyz and I was told you have milk for babies less than one year old. Are you still carrying inventory?
Saleswoman: What’s your name again sir?
Saleswoman: who are you associated with? [Inta ma3 meen?]
[I hesitate a bit and then say]
Me: Politically, I am with the National Democratic Party of Uruguay.
Financially, I am associated with the CAC-40, that’s the French Stock exchange and not some “caca – rente” as most people think.
Socially, I am a member of the Universal Organization for the Advancement of Brain Usage among People.
[I expected a laugh from the other end of the line, but nothing happened. I mean I know we are at war, but the bridges to our sense of humor have not been bombed yet]
Saleswoman: I am sorry sir we cannot sell to individuals only to organizations.
Me: [insisting on getting a laugh out of her] Does the Organization for the Liberation of No-where-istan ring a bell to you?
Saleswoman: Just a second sir. [She gives the phone to another lady]
[I decide that these people are way over-stressed and that my jokes won’t do but Lexotanil (1) would – so I back off]
Saleswoman 2: Sir, we are forbidden by law to sell to individuals.
[I completely loose it but keep my voice down and firm]
Me: Ma’am a friend of mine is the municipality president of a devastated village they have 25 babies less than 1 year old who desperately need this milk. I don’t know what law you are talking about but at this point I am willing to accept full responsibility for breaking it. I need those 50 cans of milk even if after this whole mess is over I have to go to prison for them.
Give me your fax number and I will send you an acknowledgment that I bear the full repercussions of my actions.
Me: Sister, we are at war here and under siege, please think about it just a bit, this law should not apply in war time. It doesn’t make sense. What if it was you and your baby in that situation, how would you feel if you were told that we could not get you the milk because of some stupid law.
Saleswoman 2: [without hesitation] that will be $309 for 48 canisters.
Me: You got it. Thank you. Someone will come by, pay you and pick them up.
[I hang up]
I am seriously considering starting the Universal Organization for the Advancement of Brain Usage among People.
(1): Number one Tranquilizer on the Lebanese Market.