A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

the joys of google (iii)

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on January 19, 2007

This morning I awoke hoping that some kind soul would have posted the second episode of Little Mosque on the Prairie on either YouTube or Google Video. No such luck – but I remain hopeful! Perhaps Apple will step in, allowing me to download each episode along with the week’s Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives.

Instead I had a little visual adventure of my own. On my walk to the gym I noticed an increased military presence on Bliss Street, where Prime Minister Siniora lives – barricades and a few SUVs and more personnel, rather than the two men sans barricades or SUVs that seems to be the norm now when he is either absent or bunking at the Serail. I smiled to myself, thinking: after his trip to Jordan, etc. he must have decided to stop at home for a change of clothes.

On the way home from the gym, I noticed more uniformed military – not at attention, and few carrying machine guns, but many more than is usual for Hamra’s back streets: 8 men standing together in front of the old gas station on Sidani Street, with a few barricades placed here and there around the corners of the intersection, 6 men in line for saj on Yafet. On Hamra, shops were closed, which initially gave me pause, until I realized that it was still before 9:00. (Hamra shops often stay open on Fridays and close on Sundays – more Beirut eclecticism in a “Sunni” neighborhood.)

When I returned to Sanayeh, I saw something else: a line of Jeep Cherokees (as opposed to “jeeps”, the generic Lebanese term for SUVs) and other SUVs parked on the street that marks the western perimeter of the park. Ordinarily, no cars are allowed to park there (the street runs towards the Interior Ministry); MPs patrol the street and barricades slow passing cars. The parked Jeeps all had army or dif3a madani (civil defense) plates.

It was a good morning to head inside and catch up on some work. Not that I imagine any of those military personnel will be needed for whatever anti-Paris III protest is scheduled today – as far as I can tell, the military display serves only one purpose: backing up the government’s claims that the opposition engenders an inherent threat of violence.

With all this in mind, it was a relief to read Google Alert’s take on the present situation:

an “eventful” Lebanon Moms Meet-up (ME)

a hope for Paris III: Lebanon Seeks Conference Prize (IN)

concern over the dangers of politicized sport: Mt. Lebanon May Add Security for Hoop Rematch (PA)

a dimming hope that the country’s politicians will one day act like adults?:

Lebanon Reschedules Meeting to Discuss Graduation Requirements (NY)

the rebuilding continues: Lebanon Road Projects Around the Corner (OH)

and finally, one truly relevant news item:

Nasrallah Interview with al-Manar at 9 pm Friday

I predict more fireworks this evening, after Nasrallah speaks – fireworks from the opposition downtown and fire-y words from those who support the government.


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