Thursday, March 15, 2012

Martyrs' Square, Beirut, 14 February 2009

As the brutal events in Syria stretch on, and the hope for civil society in Egypt remains in question, the Arab Spring is looking more like a winter of discontent.  Whatever emerges from this painful gestation, it’s important to remember that things began in Beirut, in March 2005, with the Cedar Revolution.

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.


J. Bradford Linville said...

Super cool video..what an exciting place to be at the time! Poignant comments from Hitch. Thanks for sharing

James Scott Linville said...

Why thank you sir.

Stephina Suzzane said...

Charity is always help that is offered too late, just as revolution is help that is offered too soon. Cheap Flights to Beirut

Anonymous said...

Hello!, Would you please release the full Interview with Hitchens? Thanks!

James Scott Linville said...

Good idea, thanks Anon. Have to dig it out of a drive.