The War of Lebanon is a 15-part documentary produced by Al Jazeera Satellite Channel. This 2-year project cost several hundred thousand dollars and entailed filming over 150 hours of interviews with the major players in the events that took place in Lebanon between 1976 - 1990. more>>
In Beirut, people are moving out of their homes, just as they have in Baghdad
Published: 24 November 2007
So where do we go from here? I am talking into blackness because there is no electricity in Beirut. And everyone, of course, is frightened. A president was supposed to be elected today. He was not elected. The corniche outside my home is empty. No one wants to walk beside the sea.
When I went to get my usual breakfast cheese manouche there were no other guests in the café. We are all afraid. My driver, Abed, who has loyally travelled with me across all the war zones of Lebanon, is frightened to drive by night. I was supposed to go to Rome yesterday. I spared him the journey to the airport.
It was one of those bleak, wet and cold London mornings back on January 18, 1990 when this observer exited the Marks and Spencer’s store on Oxford Street, having purchased a Scottish Shetland wool cardigan for protection against the damp chill. As he walked to the Underground he noticed that some of the London street corner tabloids were running full page photos of his former boss, the Mayor of Washington DC.
The police photo showed Marion Shepilov Barry, Jr. finally caught in a police sting after a decade of government attempts, pulling hard on a hit of crack cocaine after complaining to his sister, Ms. Hazel ‘Rasheeda’ Moore that she was taking too long in the Vista Hotel bathroom and her presence would be appreciated in the bedroom.
Terrorism is a contested terrain, a political landscape on which the highest levels of international military power engage in a deadly war. In 2007 terrorism remains an ominous threat, a political ghost invoked in the foreign policy rhetoric of Canada’s Conservative government surrounding the ‘War on Terror’.
In 2002 Canada unveiled an official list of ‘terrorist’ organizations, strikingly similar to the US governmental list of an equivalent nature. Today the Lebanese political movement Hezbollah, both the military and political wings, is officially considered a ‘terrorist’ organization by the government of Canada, a policy only endorsed by two additional countries internationally, the US and Israel.
In the Middle East, from Lebanon, to Palestine, Hezbollah is commonly viewed as a national liberation movement, which in 2006 successfully halted Israel’s major military assault, to the shock of the world. As a political and social force in Lebanon, Hezbollah remains a major player at the highest levels of government and in the most impoverished sectors of society.
In Canada a public debate on the listing of Hezbollah as a ‘terrorist’ organization was ignited in 2006 as Israeli military forces attacked Lebanon killing over 1100 civilians. Debate on Hezbollah’s categorization as a ‘terrorist’ organization draws attention to Canada’s post 9/11 ‘national security’ laws and regulations which included the formalization of a Canadian list of ‘terrorist’ organizations in 2002.
In the context of the debate on Canada’s categorization of Hezbollah as ‘terrorist’ I had an opportunity to interview novelist, historian, political campaigner Tariq Ali on Hezbollah. This interview was conducted in Montreal, touching on the history of Hezbollah as a political force in Lebanon & the Middle East, while also addressing Canada’s designation of the movement as ‘terrorist’ in the post 9/11 political environment.
* Radio Tadamon! is produced by the Tadamon! collective, a group of social justice activists working to build ties of solidarity between movements for social / economic justice in the Middle East / Montreal, while organizing within the Diaspora community of Montreal.
* Tadamon! Montreal is current organizing a political campaign to challenge Canada’s listing of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.