Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The vote for the speaker in parliament in Lebanon, and the celebrations by supporters of Amal-Hizbullah yesterday, reveal the deep sectarian divisions in this country. Mostly Christian candidates did not vote for Birri, while Muslim candidates did. Birri is now set for "four more years" as they say in the US. The Shi`ite political ranks are unified. Some of the celebrations for Birri's victory yesterday (which included tens of cars in long convoys--and I was astonished to see them hoisting the flags of Amal and of Hizbullah together--a very uncommon scene until very recently--included gunfire, and two innocent people were killed. The Shi`ites in those convoys were clearly sending messages to Sunnis and to Christians in Lebanon. A Christian woman who was slightly injured was interviewed on New TV: she wondered why "they" could not be "more civilized." If you only can hear how common the "word" civilized appear in the mouth of the supporters of the Lebanese right-wing opposition. Everybody here wants to be seen as civilized. Not me. The Lebanese Communist Party today officially accused Israel of the assassination of George Hawi, and rejected FBI help in the investigation. In other news, Lebanese Army units held joint maneuvers with US personnel. The right-wing propaganda sheet known as An-Nahar, had a headline today: "US ambassador feeds sweets to children." The new US-Saudi era requires that kind of propaganda.