A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

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

all the news one can use: listening in on the strike

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on January 24, 2007

After Siniora spoke yesterday evening, the neighborhood behind mine erupted in volleys of gunfire.

The rat-tat-tats and deeper booms went on for nearly forty minutes, long enough for my forgotten supper to go from “lentil soup” to “cajun [blackened] lentil pate” while I stood in my garden and watched the tracers in the sky and the flashes lighting up the nearby high-rises.

My aunt Intlxpatr has said that she and my uncle lead not exciting lives but ordinary lives in exciting places. Yesterday was a bit too exciting for quiet me.

When not blithering on about my recent pleasure reading, I spent much of yesterday working to the sounds of local radio stations.

Lebanese news channels are not like those in the United States or Europe, where each channel attempts to present a holistic view of events. Here each party, each interest group, each religious faction has a television news channel (or, in the case of Michel Aoun and, most recently, the Future Party, wants one) to present their view of events.

Many also have radio stations. So to get the full, or at least a fuller, story, I spent the day alternating between Hizbullah’s al-Nour and the Future Party’s Radio Orient. My little system worked quite well, and I felt rather smugly ‘in-the-know’ all day.

Then the evening gunfire started, and I found myself abandoned by both stations just when I really needed to know what was going on.

Radio Orient was broadcasting a paean to Jacques Chirac, while al-Nour was ushering in Ashura with a retelling of the Karbala story.

On the one hand, it was good to know that nothing urgent was happening. On the other hand, … pfft. I wanted news.

In the end, the first news I had of the strike’s ending came from a totally unexpected source: the Bahrain News Agency. A tantalizing headline reporting Lebanese Opposition Strike Ends was posted at 9:21. I read it moments later, while talking on Skype with a friend in forbidden lands, and thought: silly Bahrainis, reporting on rumors as if they are news.

Happily, I was the silly one, as Reuters and Jazeera soon pointed out.

This morning was blissfully normal, and I am back to my usual ordinary routines: stocking up on chewing gum and tuna, and working away on my laptop, cup of tea at the ready.

No grey polluting the skies (I smiled when I saw last night that Cyberia had changed its Beirut forecast back from “smoky” to “clear” after news of the strike’s halt had spread) , no pursed lips on passersby in the streets, and no gunshots in the air. Oh, what a beautiful morning.

Sietske in Beiroet has posted a fascinating account of her day out and about in the striking city. I don’t know her personally, but I read her blog religiously. I adore the way her writing blends sharp wit with her keen affection for this place.

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One Response to “all the news one can use: listening in on the strike”

  1. fadi420 said

    may the powers of good overcome the powers of the evil forces running our world

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