It's also the anniversary of the assassination of Rafic Hariri in 2005. "Who the hell is that then?" I hear you ask. He was the man largely credited with rebuilding Beirut after the Lebanese civil war. You know, the one that went for 15 year and ended in 1990? That had been going on for almost my entire life at the time, to the point where it was just a constant background on the news?
When I was on my way to Hong Kong, I had 5 hours to kill in the transit lounge in Bandar Seri Begawan airport. They had a CNN news feed showing the news considered important for that part of the world. The things I remember were exceprts about the rioting in Tunisia, which was still going on at that time, about a bunch of resignations in the Japanese cabinet*, and about Lebanon. At the time, I recall there being dire warnings that Lebanon was on the brink of civil war (again), and that the Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, was refusing to stand for another term. I believe it was something about their law being similar to the US's (two terms only), and his not wanting to change the law just so he could carry on ruling. His cabinet collapsed on the 12th of January when their coalition partner resigned and joined the opposition, who appears to be siding with Syria**. Till then, Lebanon had been relatively stable (read: not in the news every day) for a good long time.
Then that whole area blew up. The Tunisian people got what they wanted, Egypt riveted the attention of the world, Algeria, Yemen and Jordan followed suit. Speaking of which, here's an interesting analysis of the hows and whys of the success of these protests. And Lebanon disappeared off the news.
Today, a month later, I was wondering what was up with Lebanon, so I looked it up. Seems that they have reached a bit of an impasse. Hezbollah is pressuring political actors to side with them, while Hariri has decided to stand for another term as Prime Minister. There are 'parliamentary talks' going on but they are not going anywhere. Hariri seems to believe he'll be ousted but wants proper political process. It appears that what Hezbollah wants is to silence the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which is widely expected to implicate Hezbollah members in the assassination of Rafic Hariri. Hezbollah have guns, Hariri does not. He says he refuses to enter civil war, and it seems to me that civil war is unlikely to happen - if it does it'll be a bloodbath and most people there will remember the last one. It also seems that were an election called right now, Hezbollah would probably take power anyway - but whether that's actually what the people of Lebanon want raises a very big question mark in my head.
Why am I writing about this? Mostly because of all the news I saw while sitting in that airport, that was the bit that seemed to have the most potential to turn into something nasty. And it still does. And the whole world's now watching Egypt, Algeria, Yemen and Jordan, not Lebanon.
Here's a picture of Lebanon:
Reminds me of Southland in summer.
* The news I saw definitely said that a whole lot of people had resigned from the Japanese cabinet, expecting to be ousted anyway under a collapsing economy. A month later, I see nothing online about the resignations, only about the 'reshuffle'.
** Everyone in that area wants a piece of Lebanon.
Meanwhile, it took LinkedIn three days to sort out my account after their mistaken suspension. Then they sent me a feedback form. They wanted feedback, they certainly got it. ;-)
And the wee holes in my back are more painful than the cuts were, but less plentiful. I still have most of my movement although my neck's a bit stiff and I stuck to my sheets last night (ew!). I doubt I'll be hooping tonight but I think I'll be ok for the Forest. And the design looks a lot more finished with the nodes on the ends. *is pleased*
PS A few people have been noticing the turn of the season lately. It was full dark when I got up this morning. It's still warm, the most settled late summer weather is in front of us, but.. the days are noticeably shorter. *nostalgic sniff*