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April 07, 2005

Son of a Bitch, Part II: Totten Blogging From Beirut

Just doing minor little inconsequential things like meeting with the leaders of the student opposition and helping them get their message out and maybe advising them on the pathway to democracy:

Jim Hake and I met for the first time one of the key student leaders, Nabil Abou-Charaf, for coffee in Mejnah Square across the street from Lebanon's parliament.

...

"We have a few key demands," he said. "First, all Syrian soldiers and intelligence agents must leave Lebanon now and forever. We need an international inquiry into the assasination of Rafik Hariri. And we demand free and fair elections - on time, without delay - in May."

...

"The movement is totally led by young people," Nabil said. "Both Christians and Muslims. We are living together in the same tents. We stay up all night strategizing and getting to know each other. It's amazing, but it's also sad. We Christians and Muslims never really knew each other until now. Hariri's assasination broke down that wall. We are talking together - really talking and getting to know each other - for the first time.

"It is so important," he said, "that we heal the old wounds. We cannot go back to the past, to the civil war. We want to rebuild our country." He tapped the side of his head. "And that includes rebuilding our minds. Lebanon has been so divided. We stand not only for freedom and independence, but also national unity and a new, modern, common, tolerant Lebanese identity."

Nabil is 24 years old, but he belongs to the old cadre of activists.

"When I got started," he said, "there were only 200 of us. We held demonstrations and were arrested, beaten, and tortured. But we kept going anyway. Now we number one million. The Syrians, their Lebanese puppets, and Hezbollah can't stop us now. We are too strong and too many."

...

"We are not free, but we are no longer afraid to express ourselves," he said. "The climate of fear still exists, but it is breaking. Next time you visit Lebanon, it will be a free country."

He also talks about his round-the-clock surveillance by the secret police.

The student leader, I mean. The only one stalking Michael Totten is Ace. Ace is so insanely jealous he's leaving dead rabbits on Totten's doorstep.

Yeah, he's not around, he's in Beirut, but when he comes back home... man, all those dead rabbits are going to be fragrant.

And... More bad news for Ace. GOPBloggers interview Ken Mehlman.

It's almost as if people don't respect a guy who spends all of his free time making up American Idol parodies and inventing "crazy Morning-Zoo-style characters" like horny talking ducks (scan down to "Never Waste a Good Premise Update").


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