December 03, 2006

In Which my Mother Joins a Hezbollah Demonstration

So while we (kids and I + 91 year old father) ran the Beirut International Marathon (a bit of an overstatement, we did not do the 42K but the 10K Fun Run, and did not even run that one but just walked it), my mother decided that at the age of 85, some political activism would suit her well, and she joined the Hezbollah demonstration downtown. Yep, she was part of that group of people which caused CNN to write 'More protests as Lebanon political crisis deepens.'

Right now supporters of the pro-Syrian christian (former) general Aoun, en the Iranian backed Hezbollah have set up camp in downtown Beirut to force the government to step down. The two camps (interestingly enough) do not mix. You’ve got the Aoun supporters on the square on above Martyr’s Square, whereas Hezbollah & Co are quartered at Riad el-Solh Square. Now doesn’t that bother anyone?

And apparently, as we had just set off to the Start line, my mother - in an attempt to follow us -somehow got caught up in a parallel manifestation, which were the Aoun supporters who had decided to go ‘en masse’ to mass.
She tried to go back, but said there was no way going against the stream, so she just went along with the crowd, and somehow she ended up ‘facing a church’, she said. “They were all carrying some type of flag. Orange, or something.”
After a while she made another attempt to somehow get back to the marathon route, but stumbled upon a group of tents with yellow flags. She looked into one, she was quite curious, until somehow asked her if they could help her. Well, she was waiting for her husband who was walking the marathon. Oh, that one finished quite some time ago, they replied. Now we had been trying to call her for over an hour already, but her phone was at the bottom of her bag, and she did not reply.
So finally she did, but she did not know where she was. Someone else helped me out. “She’s at Riad el-Sol, at the Hezbollah camp.” I went to pick her up, barely could get through with my car.

I think there were as many people as there were Hezbollah security people. This is no people’s movement; this is a movement run by paid professionals who take their business very serious. No wonder they call it a state within a state. Some bloggers write that they had friends going there saying that there were barely any people and that there were many Syrians out there. Maybe they should go out there and have a look for themselves. This is something worrying. No Syrians in sight. And lots (and I mane LOTS) of people.

Anyway, Mom was retrieved, everyone had been extremely pleasant and helpful, and we went back home. And that was show my Mom ended up in a Hezbollah demonstration.


Ibn Bint Jbeil said...

when you wrote "pro-Syrian christian (former) general Aoun", what noun does the adgective "(former)" refer to?

Ibn Bint Jbeil said...

very fun reading the story. that's one for the diary.