Monday, March 14, 2005

Working-class Shi'a


The speech was also remarkable for its venue - downtown Beirut - and the absence of the trademark Hezbollah backdrop, its green and yellow banner with a fist brandishing a Kalashnikov rifle. Manar Television, the organization's satellite channel, ended its somewhat triumphant reporting with a tight shot of Sheik Nasrallah, standing on the balcony of a sparkling white sandstone building and in front of a Lebanese flag.

"Today Sayyid Nasrallah has become a national leader," the announcer intoned.
March 13, 2005, Hezbollah Leader's New Fray: Lebanese Politics, NEIL MacFARQUHAR on  Sheik Hassan Nasrallah. On the significance of 'downtown':
Sheik Nasrallah... spoke from a balcony right above the trendy Buddha Bar and just a few buildings away from Bank Street, lined with the country's premier financial institutions, which together hold an estimated $65 billion to $85 billion.

It is not turf frequented by the bulk of the working-class Shiite Muslims from the capital's unkempt southern suburbs who form Hezbollah's backbone.
'Mr. Hariri was a Sunni Muslim who believed in Arab causes, but he also spoke to the many Lebanese, particularly Christians, who consider themselves misplaced Europeans.'  Thus, it was coalition of Christians, Sunni Muslims and Druze who have led the opposition to Syria's presence since his death.

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