My favourite sentence of the year:
“O Fatfat, o tough guy, one coffee, one tea.”
(notice the Lipton teabags!)
I went down to check out the tents and atmosphere, and eventually made it there (after being stopped by a dozen army officers telling me I cannot go from this street or that, and telling me to take the next street… and moving on to the next street and finding nothing but barbed wire and, well, army officers…). There were hundreds of tents, people of all ages and backgrounds, street vendors, picnickers, argileh-smokers, school kids with their teachers, flag sellers, media crew (I was asked to be interviewed by Al-Manar TV, but declined for a simple reason – although I would’ve loved to bash Sa’ad el Hariri & Future TV while at it – I hate being on TV. But I think I regret not having taken up the offer. sigh). I was amazed by how friendly people were, whether they were non-bearded or *gasp* bearded (you know, the ones you call “terrorists”). The first tent I passed by, I got called up and the people sitting inside said, please please take our picture. I said… OK… I wasn’t sure what else to say. I mean, when someone says take my picture I presume they want me to actually send it to them (??). But no, these people just wanted to have their pics taken. So I took their pics. A funny incident, among many: One (bearded, if it matters) guy from a group whose picture I was asked to take, kept asking me questions. How old are you? What’s your name? (I didn’t tell him of course), and then concluded, “I hope you will find a good husband”….. ok… But to get them excited, I said, when they asked me who I was with (one of the guys said: “I feel you are with Siniora”…), “I’m with HezbAllah”. A chorus of loud (very loud) cheers went up as soon as I said that.
Moving on, another group asked me to take their picture. We had a little chat, then off to the “communist” section. These people had taken up the area under the bridge and had put up flags and pictures of Che Guevara. I wonder, do they actually know what Marxism and communism stand for? I did not ask them, I was just not in that frame of mind to initiate such a discussion. Then there was a huge commotion, and I went to check out what it was. It turned out that they were school kids (aged around 12-13) on a “school trip”, chanting “Abu Hadi” (Hadi is Hassan Nasrallah’s son who was martyred, and Abu Hadi means Father of Hadi) and slogans against Siniora.
I didn’t mention all the parties that had set up tents. For example, the Karameh picnickers were still sound asleep (???). One of the tents had an interesting sentence spray-painted on it: “el-karameh aghla men el-mel” (Dignity is more expensive than money).
Overall, FPM had the biggest presence there, along with HezbAllah. I got the impression that these people are here to stay for as long as it takes.
Off to drink some tea.