Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Grey Wednesday so far

Many people expected a Black Wednesday today because of the labor union demonstrations that could turn into riots and worse. So far, though, the situation is relatively calm. Sure, people are blocking the roads by burning tires but it seems to be limited to Shiite areas only. Despite Aoun's support for the demonstrations, he has been unable to mobilize his supporters, or so it seems: all roads in the Christian areas are open.

What's equally interesting is that his TV station, O-TV, is not covering the events. You would expect them to be fully "out there" to film every burning tire but they have chosen otherwise, at least up until 9:30 or so. Funny enough, they were broadcasting video clips glorifying the Lebanese army. One of the clip even showed the Army fighting some guerrilla warriors who looked suspiciously like Hezbollah fighters!

Switching to NBN at 8:30 brought aerobics lessons: half naked women showing their sweaty skin while doing their exercises. Always make me wonder what their female target audience thinks of this. Anyway...only after 9AM they started showing footage of the demonstrations. A subtle snub to the union and Hezbollah?

Flipping to Hezbollah's Manar TV showed the most remarkable "reportage" of the day: people getting out of their cars, removing the burning tires and driving through. Surely that must not be the image they want to give of the demonstrations! Whereas normally the TV stations would repeat any video they have in a loop until the reporters bring them new material by car (most stations cannot afford live satellite uplinks), I didn't see this clip anymore.

Sure enough though, Hezbollah mostly has some, quite photogenic, footage of burning tires against the backdrop of the Lebanese Serail, where Siniora is holding office.

True to political beliefs, the March 14 TV stations (LBC and FutureTV) mostly showed people driving in their cars and tried to avoid showing any roadblock: wishful thinking that all is fine.

Compared to Black Tuesday of January 2007, my first impression is that things are not as bad: the road blocks are limited to certain, mostly Shiite areas only, it seems limited to Beirut so far and Christian areas are not participating at all.

The labor union has called off the strike for today due to lack of protesters...apparantly becaue they couldn't reach the demo site due to the roadblocks. Anyway, Grey Wednesday is becoming even more of a lighter shade.


nona said...

unfortunately it is now officially a super charcol-black dirt wedensday, happy now?