Once again terror hits my country. Once again there are images of death in my homeland, bodies are spread all over my Beirut, its streets awash in blood and destruction. And the world is silent. It expresses solidarity, offers help, but shuts up.

I come from the village of Aishiya in southern Lebanon, but also lived for many years in Beirut. I still have family and friends there. The city flows through my veins. Since the explosion, I’ve lost all contact with them. There are no telephones. Facebook—just barely. It’s still hard to evaluate the damage, the extent of the blast. But the heart is full of longing, and the explosion in the port has left a deep crater in my heart.

In fact, my Lebanese heart has been broken for a long time now. Lebanese society is crumbling, the Paris of the Mediterranean is sinking. The economic difficulties and political crises have only brought despair. Hezbollah has kidnapped a whole country, under the auspices of Iran. Weapon depots hidden under homes, missiles stockpiled all over the country.

They kill civilians, assassinate rivals, torture protesters, assassinate the spirit and soul of a whole country. A people without water and no electricity, without money, without air, without a future. A horrible entity is devouring the Lebanese people from the inside, and the Lebanese people cry in pain. In their despair, the youth—and not only them—take to the streets. Despairing at the economy, the politics, the corruption; risking a violent response from the regime. They have nothing to lose.

And then came the blast.

But what has happened is not just another disaster. A church collapsing on its congregants mid-prayer, a father killed while tending for his baby, brothers losing their lives together, numerous people injured. A terrible illustration of another outbreak, of the bomb ticking inside the state and society in Lebanon.

The Lebanese people are under the fascist occupation of Hezbollah.

Don’t treat it as another humanitarian disaster or multiple-casualty incident. Don’t take it out of context. See it as a clear signal, a call to awaken, a desperate call: The Lebanese people are under the fascist occupation of Hezbollah, and need the world’s help.

Youngsters who want to progress, families who want to blossom, adults who want to enjoy the beautiful years—Hezbollah has taken it all from them.

The freedom, the prosperity, the life; they are under no less than an Iranian occupation, and this occupation sees them as cannon fodder no more. If the world really wants to help Lebanon, it must not only be through medical assistance or help in rebuilding infrastructure. Help the Lebanese people free themselves from the Iranian stranglehold. That’s the only way.

Helen Nesser Assad was born in Lebanon to a family of Southern Lebanon Army officers. She currently lives with her family in Haifa.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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