CounterPunch Website By Sonja Karkar Sept.16, 2012
It happened thirty years ago – 16 September 1982. A massacre so awful that people who know about it cannot forget it. The photos are gruesome reminders – charred, decapitated, indecently violated corpses, the smell of rotting flesh, still as foul to those who remember it as when they were recoiling from it all those years ago.
For the victims and the handful of survivors, it was a 36-hour holocaust without mercy. It was deliberate, it was planned and it was overseen. But to this day, the killers have gone unpunished.
Sabra and Shatila – two Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon – were the theatres for this staged slaughter. The former is no longer there and the other is a ghostly and ghastly reminder of man’s inhumanity to men, women and children – more specifically, Israel’s inhumanity, the inhumanity of the people who did Israel’s bidding and the world’s inhumanity for pretending it was of no consequence.
There were international witnesses – doctors, nurses, journalists – who saw the macabre scenes and have tried to tell the world in vain ever since.
Each act was barbarous enough on its own to warrant fear and loathing. It was human savagery at its worst and Dr Ang Swee Chai was an eye witness as she worked with the Palestinian Red Crescent Society on the dying and the wounded amongst the dead.
What she saw was so unimaginable that the atrocities committed need to be separated from each other to even begin comprehending the viciousness of the crimes.
People Tortured. Blackened bodies smelling of roasted flesh from the power shocks that had convulsed their bodies before their hearts gave out – the electric wires still tied around their lifeless limbs
People with gouged out eye sockets. Faces unrecognisable with the gaping holes that had plunged them into darkness before their lives were thankfully ended.
Women raped. Not once – but two, three, four times – horribly violated, their legs shamelessly ripped apart with not even the cover of clothing to preserve their dignity at the moment of death.
Children dynamited alive. So many body parts ripped from their tiny torsos, so hard to know to whom they belonged – just mounds of bloodied limbs amongst the tousled heads of children in pools of blood.
Families executed. Blood, blood and more blood sprayed on the walls of homes where whole families had been axed to death in a frenzy or lined up for a more orderly execution.
There were also journalists who were there in the aftermath and who had equally gruesome stories to tell, none of which made the sort of screaming front page headlines that should have caused lawmakers to demand immediate answers.
What they saw led them to write shell-shocked accounts that have vanished now into the archives, but are no less disturbing now. These accounts too need to be individually absorbed, lest they be lumped together as just the collective dead rather than the systematic torture and killing of individual, innocent human beings.
 Women gunned down while cooking in their kitchens.
 The headless body of a baby in diapers lying next to two dead women.
 An infant, its tiny legs streaked with blood, shot in the back by a single bullet.
 Slaughtered babies, their bodies blackened as they decomposed, tossed into rubbish heaps together with Israeli army equipment and empty bottles of whiskey.
 An old man castrated, with flies thick upon his torn intestines.
 Children with their throats slashed.
And most numbing of all are the recollections of the survivors whose experiences were so shockingly traumatic that to recall them must have been painful beyond all imaginings. One survivor, Nohad Srour, 35 said:
“I was carrying my one year-old baby sister and she was yelling “Mama! Mama!” then suddenly nothing. I looked at her and her brain had fallen out of her head and down my arm. I looked at the man who shot us. I’ll never forget his face. Then I felt two bullets pierce my shoulder and finger. I fell. I didn’t lose consciousness, but I pretended to be dead.”
 The statistics of those killed vary, but even according to the Israeli military, the official count was 700 people killed while Israeli journalist, Amnon Kapeliouk put the figure at 3,500.
 The Palestinian Red Crescent Society put the number killed at over 2,000.
 Regardless of the numbers, they would not and could not mitigate what are clear crimes against humanity.
Fifteen years later, Robert Fisk, the journalist who had been one of the first on the scene, said:
“Had Palestinians massacred 2,000 Israelis 15 years ago, would anyone doubt that the world’s press and television would be remembering so terrible a deed this morning? Yet this week, not a single newspaper in the United States – or Britain for that matter – has even mentioned the anniversary of Sabra and Shatila.”
Thirty years later it is no different.
Continue here for the background and Israeli set-up of the savage slaughter. http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/09/16/the-massacre-at-sabra-and-shatila-thirty-years-later/