It was perfectly clear to all of us that the Hezbollah, heroes of the Lebanese resistance until they began sacrificing themselves on the battlefields of Syria, were attempting to sabotage the entire protest movement
Those tens of thousands of largely young protesters demanding a non-sectarian Lebanon were joyful, filled with happiness, determined that this time they would change the wretched confessional nature of their state forever. Then the Hezbollah turned up, a truckload of them, dressed in black and shouting through loudspeakers and holding up posters of their all-Shia militia heroes. Squads of Lebanese interior ministry police appeared in the side streets.
It was perfectly clear to all of us that the Hezbollah, heroes of the Lebanese resistance until they began sacrificing themselves on the battlefields of Syria, were attempting to sabotage the entire protest movement. The young men and women in the street shouted as one: “The government is corrupt, the sectarian leaders are corrupt, all members of parliament are thieves — thieves, thieves, thieves.” But they never – deliberately – mentioned the name of the Hezbollah chairman Sayed Hassan Nasrallah. Hezbollah serves in the Lebanese government.
And two of the men jumped down from the truck – big, tough figures towering over the younger protesters – dodging the police line and moved into the demonstrators, shouting and demanding they end their curses about sectarianism. “The Sayed [Nasrallah] is the only one who is not corrupt!” one of them screamed. These men did not come to talk to the protesters or discuss their objections or even argue. They preached at them, raising their voices and bellowing their words. For a moment I wondered if I was perhaps in the holy city of Kerbala or Najaf. There is in fact no evidence that Nasrallah is corrupt; but thanks to US sanctions on Syria and Iran, the Hezbollah may be running out of cash.
Then the cops, all riot shields and batons, formed two ranks between the Hezbollah and their adversaries.
“I have come from Nabatieh and I have been here eight days and nothing has happened,” the Shiite – no friend of the Hezbollah even though Nabatieh is in the militia’s effective area of control – shouted back.
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