If you read nothing else today, be sure to read this Jadaliyya anonymous account of an attack on a group of protesters outside the Syrian Embassy in Beirut. As anyone who lives, works, or pub crawls in Hamra knows, this area is SSNP territory.
Every six months or so, when I visit my family in Beirut (who live in this neighborhood), there are more and more SSNP banners hanging from walls and lampposts. Lately, it seems, they’ve been getting out their frustration with the situation in Syria by intimidating peaceful protesters.
As`ad Abu-Khalil has heard from a source he trusts that the attackers were not SSNP but rather Ba`ath party thugs, who have been throwing their weight around in Lebanon ever since the Syrian uprisings began. You may have heard about the incident of the Ba`ath Party official who walked into a pharmacy in Saida a few weeks ago, announced his full name and position, and proceeded to terrorize the owner and her employees because they had declined to sell something to his nephew earlier in the day. Unfortunately for him, the whole episode was caught on tape and put on YouTube (the action starts around 2:53; see here for a transcribed English translation).
This is beside the point, but I think it’s worth highlighting something the author of the Jadaliyya post insisted upon: these protesters were brought together by their condemnation of the atrocities in Syria as well as their disgust with “the March 14-March 8 political schism that has polarized Lebanon for six years now.” They deliberately chose to demonstrate in this neighborhood so as to avoid being labeled as supporters of any particular political party.
I encourage any like-minded readers of this blog who are living in Lebanon to find a way to get involved, join these protests, speak out, and help to end the rule of amped-up Baathist goons on the streets of Hamra.