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  • prequel

    "Top blog/Renato Obeid's World/Today's pick: This rambling weblog is worth reading not so much for its satirical posts but more for its insight into the minutiae of life in Lebanon, including the etiquette of road accidents and how to hire a taxi.” -Jane Perrone, The Guardian

    Monday, March 14, 2005  

    The cure for the evils of democracy is more democracy
    -HL Mencken

    Hundreds of thousands of people are gathering in central Beirut for an opposition rally one month to the day since Prime Minister Hariri was assassinated.
    Although it has been erroneously called a counter-demonstration to last week's loyalist rally (CNN), it is in fact a counter counter-demonstration as last week’s rally (which it has dwarfed) was itself the irrelevant counter-demonstration to daily opposition rallies (a quite revolution) that have been occurring since February 14th.
    As to the view from Harisa today, Arlo Guthrie’s famous “The New York Thruway is closed man!” exclamation at Woodstock 36 years ago comes to mind – the Beirut bound lane of the Beirut to Damascus Highway is packed with bumper-to-bumper traffic as far as the eye can see (and has been since around 10.am this morning). With the rally proper set to begin in fifteen minutes, they might not all make it, but they don’t need to – today the whole country is the protest venue.

    The army and other security forces have been unofficially sympathetic to the protestors.
    Before the dam burst today, the authorities had tried to stop the smaller protests that were occurring but a lot of those meant to be enforcing these diktats merely made a pretence of complying but were really with their fellow citizens.
    I heard firsthand stories of soldiers pointing out weak links in the cordon they had setup around the capital to demonstrators, telling protestors to pretend to rush them so it would appear as if they were powerless to stop them and a young lady kissing a soldier and then running past him with scores of her comrades as the gobsmacked soldier just looked on.
    That was all before today.Not even China’s People’s Liberation Army could have stopped them today.

    2:45 pm

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