Sunday, December 10, 2006

Changing media tune on Beirut protests

Demonstrator holds poster of showing speaker of parliament Nabi Berri of the Amal Party, Christian General Michel Aoun, and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah -- together.

After a week of reports demonizing and minimizing the protests, today the BBC seems to be taking a slightly different slant on anti-government demonstrations in Beirut:

Hundreds of thousands of Lebanese are taking part in the latest protest to press the government to cede more power to the opposition or step down.

Led by Hezbollah and its pro-Syrian allies, the rally is possibly the largest demonstration Beirut has seen. ...

Fully-veiled Shia women, Christian students wearing t-shirts and fathers hoisting children on their shoulders were among crowds who cheered a series of opposition speakers urging the government's resignation, the AFP news agency reported.

My Lebanese friends have been furious with BBC reporting. (See their account of Lebanon's crisis of political legitimacy here.)

The snippet above still promotes what my friends contend is the BBC's (and the Americans') central lie: that the anti-government demonstrations are simply "pro-Syrian" manifestations cooked up by the "terrorist" Hezbollah. But it also admits the size and breadth of protests -- and highlights the unity of Christians with Shia and other Lebanese nationalist groups. On Friday, the BBC even admitted that a Sunni cleric "led thousands of Sunni and Shia anti-government protesters in a show of unity during Friday prayers." A broader picture is breaking through Western denial.

More pictures from the demonstrations:

A Shia protester wears the orange scarf of the Aoun movement while waving the Lebanese national flag.

This Vespa promotes enthusiasms that belie the central theme of Western reporting. We may not be able to imagine that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrullah and Christianity can coexist and cooperate, but apparently many Lebanese do think so.

See also this site for more on the Lebanon crisis.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Thank you for the fressh perspective.

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