Back in Beirut … For Now
BEIRUT — Sorry for the weekend silence. I meant to write yesterday, but with the events in Qana and the riot/demonstration in Beirut, as well as me running around trying to find a driver and a way to file when I’m down in Tyre, time got away from me. I also, sorry to say, had to take a little break.
Beirut is split and strange. I have no real data on this, but after a week away from Beirut, it feels like it’s whistling past the graveyard. The city is full of refugees from the south and Dahiyeh, but it’s not been hit in sevveral days. (This is before the 48-hour cease fire has gone into effect.) On my street, which is normally very quiet, by early evening, there are dozens of people I’ve never seen before hanging out on balconies, milling about in the street. Children are much more common as are women dressed in conservative hijabs. The south has come to the city, and the city has gone to the mountains. Beirut has become much more Shi’ite in the past three weeks.
The infrastructure situation is iffy. Internet is iffy, power is dominated by rolling blackouts. We still have water and taxis are still running. I hear there’s still a bit of night-life, but I was only here for two days and didn’t feel much like going out.
My week in the south was instructive. Most roads south of Tyre are free-fire zones. People are dying every day and Lebanese Red Cross can’t get to the bodies. The massacre in Qana was one of the most horrible things I’ve ever seen but if this cease-fire doesn’t hold, we may see more of these things.
Some recent stories:
* “A piece on the growing anti-Americanism in Lebanon”:http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/07/28/MNG2RK79R81.DTL&hw=allbritton&sn=002&sc=409
* “An analysis of the political map in Beiriut — and what Siniora must do”:http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/07/30/INGA0K5COQ1.DTL&hw=allbritton&sn=001&sc=1000
I head back to Tyre today after I buy a new laptop that will work with my sat phone to file. With a 48-hour window to move without air strikes, this is an opportunity to see get to some of these villages that we’ve not been able to get to.