“BEIRUT - Flags fluttering, horns honking, and fingers flashing V for victory, Lebanon's opposition converged on downtown Beirut yesterday in the biggest democratic protest in the history of the modern Middle East.
Their numbers - about a million strong - were a retort to the rival protests staged last week by the terrorist group Hezbollah, and a message to each other and the world that the Lebanese people are serious in their demands for - as the crowd chanted over and over - "Freedom, Sovereignty, Independence."
In Beirut yesterday, it was clear that message has been heard. Unlike the Hezbollah demonstrators with their chants of "Death to America," many in the crowd were friendly to Americans. "Thank's Free World," (sic) said one poster, held high by a woman in a bright red jacket, Rawya Okal, who told me: "We thank Mr. Bush for his position." Overhearing this in the throng, a middle-aged man in a green baseball cap, Louis Nahanna, leaned over to say, "We love the American people" - adding, "Please don't let Bush forget us. Your support is very important."
Asking more people what they thought of Americans turned up the same refrain. From a young driver, Fadi Mrad, came the message: "We want to change. We need freedom. Please don't let Bush forget us." From a group of young men came not only the message "Our hope is America," and "We believe in democracy in the Middle East," but also praise for Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. There was also an invitation from one of them, young Edgard Baradhy, for his heroine, Ms. Rice, to come to Beirut "and I am ready to take her for coffee."
At one point, two young men sitting on a sidewalk mistook this reporter for a Frenchwoman, and called out "Vive la France!" The European nation's president, Jacques Chirac, has also come out in support of the democratic movement. When I told them that I was American, they got to their feet and came over to say, "Welcome to Lebanon.”
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
The power of positive thinking
Claudia Rosett writing in the New York Sun on 15 March points out the clear contrast between the optimistic pro-democracy, pro-sovereignty movement which feels optimistic with the Hizballah reinforced Pro-Syrian faction which chants about death and tries to raise it’s tired old tirades and personal hobgoblins: Israel, Europe, the USA. Their negativism reflects the pessimism of the anti-everything, marching left in the west, and seems to be madly in love with death.
Posted by Joe at 23:12