Josh Wood

A journalist's observations on Lebanon and elsewhere

The Silence of Martyrs’ Square

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Since the March 8-imposed collapse of the Lebanese government last month and the ousting of Saad Hariri from his prime minister post, momentum has shifted in Lebanese politics to say the least.  As the March 14 coalition finds itself in the opposition, its strategy has not yet been made clear.  Supporters of the alliance have also remained quiet, shying away even from Martyrs’ Square on the anniversary of Rafik Hariri’s death – an anniversary that acted as a popular show of force for the party in previous years.  The question is does this show waning support for Hariri and March 14 or is this simply a change in tactics?

In today’s International Herald Tribune I look a little deeper into this topic.  Link is below the few introductory paragraphs I have included here.

The Balance Shifts in Lebanese Politics

BEIRUT — On the sixth anniversary of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005, Martyrs’ Square in central Beirut was largely empty, in striking contrast with past anniversaries.

In the early afternoon drizzle on Monday, the crowd reached only into the hundreds as the son of the slain leader — the outgoing Lebanese prime minister, Saad Hariri — paid his respects at his father’s tomb beside the blue-domed Mohammad al-Amin Mosque on the edge of the square.

On previous anniversaries, Martyrs’ Square has had tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of supporters of Saad Hariri’s Future Movement and the March 14 Alliance that he led, itself named after the date of mass anti-Syrian protests in the square a month after his father’s death on Feb. 14, 2005.

Continue reading the article here at nytimes.com

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Written by woodenbeirut

February 17, 2011 at 7:54 pm

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