A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

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

strength and independence: Lebanese stamps in 1959

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on September 16, 2008

This is post #2 on my “collection” of old Lebanese stamps. I’ll get to the “strength and independence” of the title, but I couldn’t pass up this wonderful article from Naharnet:

Police Have Clue to Mazraa Bomber

A surveillance camera has recorded shots of the car from which bombs were hurled into Beirut’s Mazraa thoroughfare inflicting severe damage. Security sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the tape also includes footage of a biker “wondering suspiciously in the area.”

The camera, according to the sources, is owned by one of the shops that was targeted Monday by a bomb explosion.

Police investigators are launching a hunt both for the biker and the white BMW vehicle, they added.

One thing that has amazed us is the almost total inability of the Lebanese police, forensics and other investigation to identify suspects for the major crimes committed in the country. Yes, they always manage to round up a few “suspicious persons” seen near the scene of the crime, but their likely culpability usually appears to have more to do with their Syrian nationality than any evidence.

So the idea that the police actually “have [a] clue” in the case of the hand grenades thrown Sunday night around Corniche al-Mazraa is a big step in the right direction – and despite my initial skepticism, maybe it is a sign that the ISF’s American-sponsored training is actually working.

Their focus on the suspicious biker, though, worries me. After all, I wonder at a lot of things when I am in Beirut. I hope that this doesn’t make me the target of some future investigation.

Back to the stamp collection. These stamps celebrate Lebanon’s “3azza w istiqlal” – its strength and independence, which seems to be guaranteed by the World War II-looking soldier saluting behind the Lebanese flag.

All well and good, except that the cancellation mark on the row of stamps above seems to suggest that they were processed by the Baabda post office in 1959 – a year after the country’s strength and independence had been sorely challenged. (Not to mention its unity, which happily the stamp designers did not mention.)

The graphic is a bit clumsy, and the Arabic text below is just the standard typeface, which I believe is taken from the old thuluth script. But there’s a sweet decorative mark between the ayn and the zaa – a little calligraphic moment in an otherwise very sober design.


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