Monday, July 16, 2007

Two fingers

Not everyone in Dahiyeh is happy with Hezbollah's “divine victory” last summer.

“Tell me, do you know what this means?” a Shiite from south Beirut asks a reporter from the Al-Awan news website as he makes the victory sign with his two fingers. “It means that we have only two buildings still standing.”

[Photo: AP]

But which buildings? Wasn't southern Beirut flattened by brutal (is there any other kind?) Israeli (and they're the worst) bombs? Yes, and no.

I particularly remember the BBC’s hourly reports during the war, each one beginning with the following (paraphrased) sentence: “As Israel continues its relentless pounding of southern Beirut…” But according to Ahmed, and also to several other residents of the Dahiyeh with whom I spoke during my two visits to Beirut over the last month, the Israeli air strikes were actually very much pinpointed on an area in the center of the Dahiyeh that is called the “security square” – the area where the senior Hezbollah leaders lived. Of course many of those destroyed apartment blocks were also occupied by people who were not connected to the Hezbollah; unfortunately, there is no technology that allows a single apartment building in a multi-dwelling building to be destroyed, while leaving the rest intact.

Of course, that was last summer. This summer is still to play for.

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