(My Middle East)

77 days with a journalist, Lebanon, and a list of non sequiturs

Reporting from Aisha Bakkar

with one comment

I got assigned to write the sider for the Aisha Bakkar story in the paper tomorrow. So I spent all day traveling around the area and talking to people. Even if the fighting went into other neighborhoods like people reported, it was mostly concentrated in Aisha Bakka. The Lebanese Armed Forces presence there was incredible, small wheeled tanks, armored personnel carriers, jeeps and tons of soldiers with machine guns. They were stationed on every street corner for around a mile and long trains LAF would rotate through periodically.

The situation in the neighborhood was intense. On one side of the main road was the Sunni neighborhood that suports the Future Movement and the other the Shia neighborhood. In the Sunni side, people were standing around, in groups obviously agitated, listening to older figures or talking among themselves. There were about 75 people just sitting and standing in the street, apparently talking about what to do. They were unperturbed by the continuous Police motorcycle that went through the neighborhood. I spoke to several people on the street and and they all said about the same thing. They were pissed off about the fighting and thought there would be retaliations for the killing of the woman (who was shot in the Sunni area).

The line from the Sunni’s was that Shia angry about celebratory fire came into the neighborhood and started shooting. That shouldn’t be trusted because that was all from sources in the Sunni area. But unfortunately I can’t offer a counter perspective because almost everyone in the Shia area wouldn’t talk to me. The most I got out of the Shia side after trying to talk to about 15 people was “everybody here waits”

One store keeper I spoke to said he saw men with guns from both sides getting ready to fight at around noon. So I’m sure there is more to it than what appears.

Either way the situation was tense on both sides of the road, and I think it will come down to how effectively the LAF can control the area and that further fighting doesn’t break out in other neighborhoods. Check for the story tomorrow and I’ll post it here as well.

Written by stephenddockery

June 29, 2009 at 10:06 pm

One Response

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  1. […] a comment » As  I mentioned yesterday in my post about reporting from Aisha Bakkar, where street clashes broke out Sunday, heres my story that ran in The Daily Star […]


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