Think Of That: March 2005

Think Of That

Some things to think about

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Location: Lebanon

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Third explosion

A third explosion was heard in Bauchrieh at 9.15PM tonight (45 min ago), just 4 days after the second and 8 days after the first. The area affected is the industral area of Bauchrieh, a couple of blocks away from where I work...

Update 1 (10:23PM): Three injured persons so far. The damage seen on TV is significant, at least 3 buildings are in flames.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Another bomb

Another bomb exploded in an empty shopping center after midnight (1:20AM). Three foreign workers were killed. Similarities with the first one: Bomb set to detonate after midnight (minimal human casualties), target: shopping area (Christian neighborhood). Still no clues of who the culprits might be.

On the other hand, I stumbled upon a very interesting interpretation on who killed Rafic Hariri.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

What's next?

A massive car explosion shook New Jdeideh yesterday night. Fortunately, no one was killed but about nine people were injured and a lot of damage was caused to the nearby buildings and stores. I went there today to check on a friend who lives near the explosion site: the scene reminded me of the destruction we used to see during the war. It was frightening... The big question on everyone’s mind is: Why? The bomb obviously didn’t target any political figure. It was set to detonate after midnight so it was not expected to cause lots of casualties.

There were also reports of a kidnapping that took place at the same time of the explosion and witnesses described the cars involved and even had their license plate numbers. Now that shouldn’t be a difficult task for the local police and intelligence to find out who the culprits were…or should it? Will this new investigation lead to another dead end and back the opposition’s claims that all security commanders are incapable of doing their jobs (Powerless or unwilling?) and should resign immediately?

What was the message behind this act of terror? Will this be the start of a series of terrorist acts targeting the Lebanese people? What are they expecting to accomplish? Divide us again? Make us change our mind about the withdrawal of the Syrians? Make us go back into the dark tunnel now that we’ve finally seen the light at the end?...

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

A sea of flags

No words can ever describe the crowd that swamped downtown Beirut today. Hundreds of thousands? A million? No official number has been released so far but estimates exceed 800,000. That’s for Martyrs’ square, Riad El Solh square and neighboring streets only; but what about people stuck in traffic on every road leading to the capital? What about demonstrators who could not get to Beirut because Hezbollah bribed or threatened bus drivers not to pick up anyone heading for the demonstration?

Once again, we went to Martyrs’ square on foot. The scenery was a bit different this time. There were no army roadblocks but the amount of people swarming the streets was tremendous. Young men and women were waving Lebanese flags out of crammed cars, buses and pickup trucks, chanting anti-Syrian slogans. Streets in Ashrafieh were turned into rivers of red and white. In Martyrs’ square, we had to hold each other’s hands when moving from one place to another to keep from getting lost in the crowd. Roads were not recognizable anymore, just a sea of waving flags. Even nearby buildings were invaded by the protestors…

Once more I took several pictures for this blog’s readers to enjoy.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

The Human Flag

Saturday 12th of March: Another gathering at Martyrs’ square. We went there this time to participate in the formation of a huge Lebanese human flag. We were 10,800 people coming from all parts of Lebanon to create a 27x25m Lebanese flag using colored cardboards. This initiative was launched to symbolize the unity of the Lebanese: Was it convincing? You be the judge of that.

PS: According to Guinness World Records, the world’s largest human national flag comprised 10,371 spectators at the Scotland vs Germany European Championships qualifying football match in Westfalenstadion, Dortmund, Germany, on September 10, 2003. I guess we beat this one!!!!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Another demonstration

A massive pro-Syrian crowd (counting several hundred thousands), sponsored by Hezbollah, flocked into downtown Beirut today. The protesters were showing their support for the Syrian government and its president who declared, on Saturday, he was pulling his troops from Lebanon and thus complying with the UN Resolution 1559.

What struck me the most, about this demonstration, were the similarities with yesterday’s protest against the Syrian interference in Lebanon: They were all holding Lebanese flags. They were shouting for freedom and independence. They demanded that the murderers of Hariri be found and brought to justice…

But they were also brandishing the Syrian president’s pictures whereas Syrian troops are the only occupying foreign force in Lebanon. Now where’s the logic in that???

They also condemned UN Resolution 1559, not only because it stated that Syrian army and intelligence should withdraw from Lebanon but also because it called for the disarmament of Hezbollah, the main force behind today’s demonstration. I agree that the issue of Hezbollah should not be discussed at this time but it will be, sooner or later, and that’s what’s terrifying Hezbollah leaders…

Another point I should mention: Most of the demonstrators today came from the south of Lebanon where Hezbollah has a big influence and where Syrian presence is minimal. If they had experienced the Syrian intelligence’s meddling in every little detail of every day’s life, I don’t think they would have objected to seeing them leave so soon.

What will these people have to say after the entire withdrawal of the Syrians, in a more objective atmosphere? I think we should wait and see…