Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine: sects have a ball

The big demonstration organized by the March 14 coalition to mark the assassination of Rafiq Hariri took place today in Martyr square, in central Beirut. I saw tens of cars and buses on the Corniche near Rawsheh this morning, whith flag waving youth hanging out of the windows. The predominant flags were the Future Movement's (Hariri's Party, Sunni Muslim) and the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP, Druze, Jumblat). There was a car with flags of the PSP and the Lebanese Forces (Maronite Christians, Geagea) something that would have been unthinkable a couple of decades ago when they were massacring each others in the Mountains. The PSP buses were all congregated near the Druze Religious Center (Dar al Ta'ifah) in Verdun Street. Later, I saw from my in-laws' balcony in Hamra a group of youth walking towards a Future Movement center shouting loudly slogans like: "There is no God but God, Sheikh Saad (Hariri) is loved by God" and "To Dahiyeh, To Dahiyeh" (Beirut's predominantly Shi`a Southern suburb).


Leila Abu-Saba said...

I am reading Trabulsi's "History of Modern Lebanon", up to the mid-19th century right now. It's astonishing how many of the same players are on the stage today. I read of how Christians from Dayr al Qamar fled to Sayda and were protected by the Zaims of Zaharani among other areas. My ancestor came from Dayr al Qamar and sure enough, in 2000 I found myself in Zaharani having dinner with the zaim there. Many Christians from surrounding villages also attended the dinner.

The Shi'a were landless and oppressed then and now. Taxation without representation, big wealthy families controlling all resources, sectarian conflicts, attempts to unify the poor that failed etc. etc.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday's oppressed became today's oppressors; beating an innocent man to death and wounding his son ! They are driving everyone towards extremism and this is dangerous.