Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Flags, flags, flags

It was only a week ago when riots broke out in the Beirut suburb of Basta because Hezbollah supporters had torn down a flag of Rafiq Hariri. The Lebanese take flags of their leaders quite seriously. Perhaps in response to this incident, the Future Youth Movement has put up a large flag at the entrance road to the American University Hospital of Beirut. Now let’s see how long this flag will last.

Photo 1: Flag of Future Youth Movement at entrance of AUH

The hospital is close to Ain Mreisseh, which is an area that shows that Sunni and Shiite posters can coexist peacefully. In fact, right next to a huge poster of Berri there is a sign directing people to the Hariri Foundation. See pics below.

Photo 2/3: Huge poster of Nabih Berri with sign to Hariri Foundation

The last flag of today is a huge Rafiq Hariri flag located some 100 meters away from the Nabih Berri poster shown above. Last Saturday it seemed as if it was torn down, but when I came back the next day to take a picture of yet another vandalized flag (SENSATIONALIST, who, me??), it was already repaired, albeit provisionally. Anyway, most likely the wind had blown it off.

Photo 4: Flag of Hariri, vandalized or torn by the wind?

What’s most important to notice in this time of increasing polarization is that these two huge flags of Berri and Hariri have been there hanging peacefully almost next to each other since quite some time already. Somehow, that’s hopeful.


adiamondinsunlight said...

I noticed the Mustaqbal flag last weekend and was very surprised by it. Billboards & banners supporting Rafiq Hariri as a national martyr are one thing, but a party flag is a bit different. I've seen posters and spray-painted support for Amal & other minor parties in Ras Beirut, but I don't recall seeing flags.