In 2009, while in Beirut as part of a press delegation I attended a memorial on February 14th in Place des Martyrs for Rafik Hariri, the Lebanese Prime Minister slain four years before. That day, the memorial became a political rally for the parties who launched the Cedar Revolution. While in Martyr’s Square I interviewed journalists Christopher Hitchens, Lee Smith, as well as a number of Lebanese journalists. As Hitchens reminded me, it was also the twentieth anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa against Salman Rushdie.
Later that afternoon, Hitchens along with companions Michael Totten and Jonathan Foreman were confronted on a street in the Hamra neighborhood by toughs from the SSNP, who made a point of stomping on the fingers of his right hand. Later, somewhat recovered, Hitchens commented, “I make it a rule never to pass a swastika without graffitiing upon it. It can lead to trouble, but it must be done.”
Accounts of that afternoon by Hitchens, Totten, and Foreman, may be found here, here, and here.
I recorded that morning’s events, and these interviews, on a Flip Video Recorder ($85 via Amazon, but now no more), and edited this short video on a MacBook using iMovie software.