There are skirmishes everywhere in Beirut today. The strike declared by the General Workers Union, and supported by the Opposition, did not pass very well, although the morning was quieter than expected. The airport workers declared a strike till pm and everybody is waiting to see if it will reopen at 3 pm as initially planned. There has been street fights with automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades in the districts of Ras el Nabeh, Mazraa, Nweiry, Barbour, Fakhani, Tarik al Jadideh and Msaitbeh. Media organs in Lebanon are all partisan, and so it is nearly impossible to have a clear view of what is going on. But it does not really matter who starts what and where, because what is happening is the result of the sectarian build up, practiced by politicians of all sides over the past three years. No doubt that this was precipitated by the decision of the government (and therefore the loyalist camp) to dismiss the airport's security chief and to expose and complain to the UN and therefore delegitimize the resistance's communication network.
At the end of the day, it is the civilians who suffer the most. My kid's friend just called him. He was in tears. He and his mum have been hiding in the bathroom (the least exposed room in the house) for 4 hours, while gunmen exchange views and opinions in his street. He is 10 years old.
On TV, the pictures of the fighters look like a re-run of the civil war, but with better resolution.
What did Condie call it again? Birth pangs. Rosemary's baby.