Sunday, February 05, 2006

Another Day In The Neighbourhood

What apparently started as a peaceful demonstration against the Danish cartoon controversy rapidly deteriorated into a thugfest. Demonstrators gathered outside the Danish consulate in Tabaris in Beirut, waving flags and banners with such choice niceties as "Freedom go to hell" and "Voici le conard (sic) qui a ose insulter le Prophete" along with a photo of a man I assume is the cartoonist in question.

It was a massive demonstration which descended into a chaos that the security forces wouldn't or couldn't contain.
There are reports of people being beaten up by the mob in Sassine Square (well away from the Danish consulate) and pictures on the news of people randomly destroying cars and buildings that again had nothing to do with the Danish consulate.
A co-ordinated group smashed the windows of the building housing the consulate and proceeded to enter it and torch anything they could find, whether it belonged to the consulate or businesses who had their premises there. There was something disturbing about the pictures I watched on the news, a randomness of the targets they chose. Cars were smashed and overturned, windows of homes stoned and even a church attacked.
Outside my home I watched a car stop among the crowd to rearrange its passengers - a family with sloganed bandannas around their heads carrying huge flags. The grandmother was put in the front seat next to the father, the mother moved into the back while the teenaged kids were sat in the trunk and told to wave the flags, chant and give the 'V' for victory. A nice family outing.

A few religious figures were seen trying to physically restrain some of the rioters but were brushed away by people caught up in a mob mentality. Frightening stuff.

Some flag burners (who probably haven't quite understood the necessity of having the correct flag) were even filmed Bic-ing a Swiss flag (ah, what the hell, it's close enough - never liked their knives anyway).

The powers that be will of course disavow any knowledge or participation, probably trundling out the old "who can control the people?" line.
For a people who so want to be respected internationally or at least taken seriously we don't seem to be doing anything to help our cause. I'm dismayed and disappointed by such a display and the inability or lack of desire of the government to clamp down. If I was a pessimist, I would say that it had all been orchestrated.
Good thing I'm not.

On a brighter note, the England rugby first XV put in a thoroughly convincing performance against Six Nations Grand Slam winners Wales. The Welsh team were impressive from the start but a resurgent England showed their true class.
Ireland won the opening game of the tournament against a formidable Italy who appear very disciplined and determined at last. Although Italy took an early lead and gave Ireland a few scares, they was no real danger of an upset.
Today my lovely Chelsea play LiverPoo but with the mood in town at the moment, methinks I shall stay home to watch it instead of propping up a bar.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.


graeme said...

well what a welcome to beirut.. one of sean's photos made it onto the bbc news website, just wish it was for something positive..

off to dubai for a day now, back for beers soon.

desmond said...

Good photo. Safe trip.

Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

It should be clear by now that PM Fuad Saniura and MP Saad Al-Hariri are Wahhabi wolfes in pseudo-modernist clothes…they wear clean-cut ties and suits but, deep inside, they’re just like the Taleban- or even worse for that matter: Hariri and Saniura were both seen several times (on Saudi Arabia’s Channel 1 TV) attending Friday prayer services at Jeddah’s Central Mosque, where the residing Hambali preacher regularly calls for the “extermination of idolatrous Shiite and Christian dogs” or “Tassfiyatt al kilâb al mushrikeen al matâweelah wal-nasârah” in Saudi parlance!

As long as they don’t RENOUNCE PUBLICLY (preferably on Saudi TV) the intolerance and perversions of Wahhabi theocratic fascism, the leaders of the Future Movement will remain under suspicion in East Beirut and Mount Lebanon.

General Michel Aoun is right to say that the gullible March 14 dupes are shooting on the wrong target: they focus their ire on hapless/impotent figures such as president Lahoud and a weakened Syrian regime on the brink of collapse, which is no threat to Lebanon’s sovereignty anymore…while blindly ignoring the mounting threat posed by the totalitarian Islamist regime of Saudi Arabia and its Grand Serail “Imam corner”.
The Lebanese public has finally seen the true face of Saad Al-Hariri’s commercialist brand of Wahhabism-Lite based on King Fahd’s neo-medieval interpretation of Koranic Law…

Today’s invasion (there’s no other word I’m afraid) of East Beirut’s upscale Achrafiyeh district by hordes of rampaging Saudi-sponsored savages was only the “great rehearsal” of things to come, as Lenin used to say of the revolt of 1905.

At least we won’t have the luxury of claiming we were not warned by the sadist disciples of Saudi “thinkers” Nasiruddin Al-Albani, Abdul-Aziz Ibin Baz and other proponents of the final solution for Christians, Shiites and “secular dogs”…

See wiki entry below for more edifying info on Saudi Arabia’s leading “Grand” Mufti

Dr Victor de la Vega
Thomas More Center for Middle-East Studies

Anonymous said...

We have to applaud the Lebanese Christians who kept calm and did not succumb to the provocation of these assholes!

However, this will not last long. We need to see arrest of these barbarians and widespread condemnation from all confessions and political parties in Lebanon!

These people are animals, they think they have brought shame to Lebanon, but they're not fooling anyone, we all know who they were and where they came from!!


ghassan said...

For a change, I find myself agreeing , to some extent:-) with Vic. We definitely need to see wholesale strong condemnation of all intoleranceand in particular the Wahabi kind. It is true that currently many of the readers are concerned with the spiralling of events out of control in Lebanon but let us not forget that this issue started as a result of official Saudi, Jordanian, Kuwaiti condemnation and even recalling back of their respective ambassadors.
Moral condemnation in strong terms must be forthcoming from all sectors of the Arab world. I ,for one, am not counting on it.

desmond said...

You're right, ghassan, Dr. DLV has a point this time around.
But you won't find a single Arab leader condemning anything Arab and certainly nothing Islamic. We have to discover the joys of self-criticism which could set us free!

MacDara said...

Well i guess you were right about the line being " who can control the people" I am particularly happy to see the old line it wasn't our fault it was the Syrians being used by politicians. Its as if No Lebanese politician was calling for protest and this quote is all but forgotten" Hassan Nasrallah the leader of Hizbullah:

Who tells them that freedom is absolute? OK, if someone decided "(or we tell them,) to blow themselves up in Norway or Denmark, then they are also free to do so."

Or maybe just burn down the Consul.PS you won well but Liverpool played the better in the first half.

Ms Levantine said...

Desmond, you are obviously missing the subtleties of "sectarian provocation 101". The advantage of the Swiss flag is that it has a "cross", hence it is convenient to burn. I am surprised they did not also burn the Red Cross flag. But don't worry, it was so subtle that most everyone missed it anyway.

graeme said...

am back, let's get pissed

GrocerJack said...

Desmond, what a game. I've posted to my blog and as well. it was marvellous. They had more posession first half but thats coz we let them.

Hope you had a few beers in celebration. GJ

Anonymous said...

I think I'm gonna have to protest to a previous blog, cos i just read it today... But i understood it quite clearly when u explained what was an "offside" to me.... And I'm a woman!!!
and didn't I?? Maybe you just gave it up???

desmond said...

Damn I'm good... I'll have to amend that list.

ScarlO said...

LOL so they burnt the Swiss flag? Oh boy that's a real drag

Oh, and flag-burning is to solve all the worlds' problems? Can we be more arsed than this? Such a civilised nation, aren't we ..

I love Swiss Army knives!! I have two and I carry one in my handbag all the time
(I've got eleven handbags, in case you want to know)

Okay pretend that what I wrote makes a lot of sense, and I'll like you a little bit more. I swear

desmond said...

A woman that carries a knife around ALWAYS makes sense and is ALWAYS right....nice to see you back.