Saturday, February 02, 2013

paying kids to play pinball with me while claiming that they are Hizbullah fighters--continued

From a reader:  ""It was with this -- and the situation in Syria in mind -- that I set off on a winter's evening to watch the news with a couple of guys from Beirut's Hezbollah-controlled southern suburbs. One of them (we'll call him Hassan) is a midlevel Hezbollah commander from a small village in the south. His best friend, whom we'll call Ali, is a secular Shiite with close family ties to Hezbollah and a history as a civil war-era gunman that gives him a strong dose of respect on the streets of the southern suburbs. Along with my friend who follows the situation in Syria closely and speaks near-native Arabic, we planned a night of watching Lebanese television....
It was the first of many moments that began candidly and turned into a recitation of the straight party line. Hezbollah members aren't really allowed to socialize with foreigners and don't give interviews to the media. But Hassan and I have known each other for nearly five years, and though he's comfortable in my company, getting him to say anything that isn't more or less the official line of the self-described "Party of God" can feel like an ordeal."

*A mid-level Hizbullah "commander" is somebody who charges more for his claim than someone who poses as a Hizbullah "fighter" before unsuspecting Western reporters.