For now, the Lebanese troubles have been exported to Doha in Qatar. Poor Qataris...
At the other hand, according to some, the government and the opposition have reached an agreement in Qatar. If true, that would be nothing less than amazing.
So these days Beirut is suddenly nice and calm.
Below some pics I shot during the recent troubles.
[You have to realize though that it is in 99.99 percent of the cases ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN by Hezbollah & Sons to make any pictures of their actions, troops, movements etc. Army- and pro-government people equally aren't very excited about the camera. But Hezbollah absolutely turns mental the moment they notice somebody with a camera (still or video, really doesn't matter).
Hamra street, West Beirut. Friday. Heavily armed Hezbollah soldiers patrol the streets. Hezbollah guy walks up to me, and shows a handful of already confiscated flash memory cards. Then points at my camera and says: "Do not even try it..." That is, making pictures of what you see around you.
Couple of days later I aim my camera at three black SUV's. Uuups...Hezbollah convoy. A fourth car immediately tries to ram me. (Great of course, because I am on foot...). Bunch of smartly dressed guys jump out of the vehicles. One carries a little machine gun, other a trendy flag jacket. "Smash his camera," one of the men suggests. My interpreter pleads for the camera, I hand them the tape. They confiscate it. "Keep an eye on the guy," one of the men says, before jumping back in the black jeep and driving off.]
Ok, enough words. Here a couple of pictures.
Nora Jumblatt, wife of Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid. Photographed on Friday May 9th, in the couples' villa in Clemenceau, Beirut.
When I parked my beloved car (Audi A8) in front of this brand new building, on May 9th in Hamra, it was still, well, brand new.
When I returned, two hours later, some guys of the SSNP (pro-Syrian Arab fascists) had shot all the windows out of the first couple of floors of the building. This because, according to some, the building belongs to the Hariri family.
Something I of course did not know. My car, miraculously, survived. Lots of glass, no holes...
In Tripoli (Northern Lebanon) pro-government supporters drive around with on their car the Lebanese flag and a picture of Saad Hariri, son of the murdered ex-PM, Rafik Hariri. Just before we arrived in Tripoli, two buildings belonging to Hezbollah were burnt down. No pictures please...
Eh...doesn't the symbol on this SSNP flag, flying last week in West-Beirut, look a little bit similar to a swastika?
Yes. And that is not a coincidence.
Because the SSNP (the Syrian Social Nationalist Party) isn't a hardcore Hindu party, but was created in the 1930's, inspired by, well, you guessed it, Hitler and Mussolini.
The SSNP fuhrer was a Christian Lebanese who wanted to create Greater Syria (Syria including current Lebanon, parts of Iraq, Turkey and Jordan).
The SSNP is, together with AMAL, one of the main allies of the Hezbollah-led opposition. Their gunmen played an important role in the capture of West-Beirut.
A serious plus with the SSNP is that they aren't a religious organisation like many Lebanese political parties (For example, you have to be a Shi'ite Muslim to become member of Hezbollah's armed wing, the Islamic Resistance).
But a rather serious minus is the SSNP's adoration of extreme nationalism...
Didn't anybody tell these guys that Hitler LOST WW II?
BTW: Don't think that only Lebanon's opposition flirts with fascism. The current Lebanese government is supported by the, mainly christian, Falange party. Literally 200 meters from my house there's a statue of some Falange-leader doing the Hitler salute...To be fair though, the current Falange party is much more moderate than the guys who started it in - again - the thirties.
But, frankly, everyday I drive passed this Hitler salute-statue, I feel the urge to crash my (German made) Audi into it...