Across the Bay

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Caveman Reports

Rich is keeping an eye for us on events in downtown Beirut. He also mentioned the Akkar incident, and how the Syrian mukhabarat is pressuring people to participate and how some people are resisting those pressures. He also mentions the bussing of Syrians to participate in the rally.

Rich has a lot of concern regarding the security risk this rally poses. Hizbullah is concerned too and they searched the area in advance for bombs. Rich says that the playing of the national anthem didn't really interest the crowd. I saw the coverage on the BBC and heard that the anthem was being played and I saw that Lebanese flags were carried. However, reader Moutain Man reports from a friend on the ground that despite orders to the contrary, Hizbullah flags are carried as well. I'm not surprised. The same happened with the anti-Syria protests, where the crowds were urged not to bring party flags, but many did anyway.

An interesting story reported by Rich is about his Shiite barber, who while belonging to Hizbullah, who have been "urging" (to use a polite term) everyone to close shop and join the rally, has refused to close his shop. Again, a reminder on the dissent, albeit small and quiet, among the Shiites, but also among the Lebanese in heavily Syrian-controlled areas in northern Lebanon, where some dissent has been much more pronounced and courageous, taking on the mukhabarat head to head.