By Robert Fisk in Beirut
Sunday, 11 May 2008
I went to cover a demonstration in West Beirut yesterday morning – yes, please note the capital W on “West” – and then I get a text from a Lebanese woman on my mobile phone, asking if she will have to wear a veil when she returns to Lebanon. How do I reply? That the restaurants are still open? That you can still drink wine with your dinner?
That is the problem. For the war in West Beirut is not about religion. It is about the political legitimacy of the Lebanese government and its “pro-American” support (the latter an essential adjective to any US news agency report), which Iran understandably challenges.
A few days ago, I went to view an exhibition – here, in Beirut – of posters of the terrible 15-year civil war which cost the Lebanese and Palestinians 150,000 lives. It was called “Signs of Conflict: Political Posters of Lebanon’s Civil War, 1975-1990”, and I came to the conclusion that there would never be a civil war in Lebanon again. How could a people who were prepared to show such outrageous placards re-fight this hopeless conflict? But, am I not seeing almost identical posters in the streets of West Beirut?
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