View from a ’72 Benz C250 series, issue no. 2
I took a taxi from Hazmieh to Ras Beirut yesterday evening. The cabbie, a polite 50 year-old man from Achrafieh, engaged me in a discussion of Christian politics and the much-discussed proposed “reconciliation” between the various Christian zu’ama’‘.
He explained to me that he was an ex-LFer who was now a Aoun supporter.
“I was driven from my home twice, both times because of the Ouwet. The first time was from Saida, after the Israelis invaded. The second time was from Achrafieh, when the party told me to come help fight the Lebanese Army. I had been a member of the party, and I fought the Palestinians with them. When I refused to fight the Army, they told me to leave the neighborhood.”
“So what did you do?”
“At the time, I had a small hair salon. I picked up my electric generator — I had a small one, enough to power two hair dryers — and my bag of combs and scissors, and left the store. I walked down the hill until I came to an army checkpoint. There, I put my generator on the ground and sat on it to rest. A soldier walked up to me and asked me if I had proof of ownership of the generator. I remember throwing my hands up in the air and shouting at him: ‘What, you want it as well?! Take it! To hell with all of you!’ Of course, he wasn’t trying to take it away, he just wanted to make sure it wasn’t stolen.”
“So… you were saying, about the Christian leaders…?”
“Yes, sorry. They are all, pardon my expression, crooks and thieves. They have no plan. They are all out for themselves. Look at Hizbullah… they couldn’t be more different. They are organized, effective, consistent, and unified.”
“So do you think the Christians will reconcile?”
“They have no interest in reconciling. They have an interest in keeping the tension high so that the people turn on their TVs at night to keep watching them, listening to them, paying attention. That’s it.”
I think from reading your comments, you must be in line with the following article:
Yes, more or less.
Wow, my (Christian) relatives all had to flee the Saida area in 85, also because of the Ouwet. Luckily for them they were able to return, and most were able to reclaim homes and property. (Not all).
The generator detail is too rich – and too real. Absolutely believable.
My cousin estimates that about 70% of our village are now Aounistes, while the remaining 30% are pretty much Ouwet. That’s not a scientific poll mind you, just a village gossip’s guess.
The same cousin (residing in the village since the return in 1990) says that local sentiment re: Hizbullah runs sort of like this: “we were worried after Israel left in 2000 that Hizbullah would take revenge on all of us, or some of us. But they issued an order not to touch a hair on any Christian head in the South. Then we saw that they are organized and honest. We think they are not so bad after all. At least they don’t steal like the other people, and they fight back against Israel.” THus spaketh a middle-aged housewife and schoolteacher who works in a Sidon area public school among Shi’ites, Sunnis and Christians.