January 10, 2007

The Lebanese Street

As the rainy season arrives in Lebanon, the Lebanese opposition protests have dwindled in size to a few hundred full-time protestors, joined by a festive crowd of opposition supporters in the evenings. The soldiers that watch over the protests stationed in their APCs are now described as somehow more relaxed in their mission to keep the peace. And Hizbollah's promised escalation of citywide protests at government ministries this week have turned out to be small, peaceful affairs so far.

This continuing not-news in Lebanon seems like history in the making to me.

The anger on the street that began as a rolling boil with assasinations and millions in the streets of Beirut has now been reduced to a simmering stew, a melting pot of sorts. I found this opinion piece by Rami G. Khouri in the Lebanon Daily Star a colorful and optimistic take on the situation. He suggests that with the food and music and barbed wire and tanks, the extended presence of both peaceful opposition protesters and soldiers has transformed the center of Beirut into strange sort of "paradise" of urban congregation. He seems to believe this will lead to an inevitable compromise if given enough time (without foreign meddling), and that this might be the beginning of a more robust and peaceful Lebanese democratic ethos, maybe even a "beacon" of future, more peaceful democratic powersharing in the Arab world.

Posted by David at January 10, 2007 09:59 PM
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