February 23, 2009

Back from Beirut

Sometimes I’m a bit cagey about my travel plans, not because I’m paranoid but because I think it’s a good habit to cultivate even when I don’t think it’s necessary. Even so, it seems like half the known universe found out I was in Beirut, Lebanon, last week when my colleague Christopher Hitchens was roughed up on Hamra Street after defacing a commemorative sign guarded by the Syrian Social Nationalist Party. I was with him when it happened, as was Jonathan Foreman from Standpoint Magazine. I must have received fifty emails from concerned friends and readers asking if I was okay when the rumor spread from the blogosphere to the media.

Yes, I am fine. I got one scratch and one bruise when I tried to extract Christopher from the mob. I wouldn’t have even been scratched had I simply stepped aside and let the angry young men go to work on him without interference.

Almost every narrative yet published of this minor battle in Beirut is wrong in at least one detail. Now that I’m home and have time to write, I’ll knock out the real story and publish it here. Stay tuned. This won’t take long.

In the meantime, here is an excellent interview with Christopher in NOW Lebanon that was conducted over dinner in Saad Hariri’s house a few nights ago. Read it all.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at February 23, 2009 2:31 PM

By the time I heard about this, it seemed pretty clear from the initial reports that you were okay.

The Syrian leadership wouldn't see the upside to really hurting a Western journalist inside Lebanon, especially not in a public and traceable manner like that, but there was no guarantee what the low-level thugs might have come up with.

Posted by: glasnost Author Profile Page at February 23, 2009 7:33 PM

Something makes everything after the banner go offset half a page to the right (in IE 6, at work).

The Hitch interview was a bit too much about Hitch, and his side comments (nicely quoted), not enough about what his current thoughts are on the serious Lebanon and Syria issue.

What is to be done?

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad Author Profile Page at February 26, 2009 8:01 AM
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Winner, The 2008 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

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