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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Mr. Green Helmet Speaks

According to EU Referendum, the German Magazine "Stern" has an interview with Mr. Green Helmet. He's just a 30-something father who rescues things in Lebanon especially lately. Mr. Green Helmet denies being a member of Hezbollah (don't they all). His real name is Salem Daher per the article so I guess he is not the morgue truck driver. Here's part of the interview...

"Green Helmet" is called Salam Daher. He is 38 years old, lives in Marjayoun, has three sons and has been working for the Lebanese civil protection agency for ten years. He is not a member of Hezbollah. Usually, he helps with forest fires, car accidents or other catastrophies."

Here is his explanation for the Qana photos. Mr. Green Helmet (I just can't call him "Salem Daher") denies staging the photos - he claims it was an attempt to get the media to leave him alone. Yeah - right... That's why he was taking kids out of other rescuers arms and running up and down the various streets with the dead children...

"He was informed of the Qana incident one o'clock in the night, but he wasn't able to get there before seven o'clock in the morning, because Israel's warplanes shot at the roads. Being asked by Stern of allegations of having staged everything, he said: “That's ridiculous. I pulled more than ten children out of the remains, I was close to breakdown in the end. There were photographers everywere, you nearly couldn't work. Once I held a child into the lenses so everybody was able to make a shot – but just to get rid of them and continue my work."

One interesting tidbit did come out in the interview - he admitted to being the rescuer holding up the headless baby for photographers after the FIRST Qana incident in 1996. (I'm not going to post the pic but you can find it all over the Internet)..

"The bloggers see it as an indication that Daher was being photographed with a dead child in his arms ten years ago after an Israeli air raid on an UN refugee camp in Qana. It was April 96, recalls the rescue worker. More than 100 died then. "In the wreckage I found a small child without a head. At first glance I thought it was a puppet. When I recognized it was a human body, I was shocked".

Does this change my mind about the "staged photos"? Nope. It actually reinforces my believe because Mr. Green Helmet has a history of holding up dead babies for the greatest propaganda effect. He may not be a card-carrying member of Hezbollah but Mr. Green Helmet has done plenty to advance their cause. A leopard can't change his spots and neither can a terrorist enabler..

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