Stories from Afar & Up Close

I could call this 'boom'

Yesterday yet another politician was blown up. He was the 7th political figure to lose his life by force in Lebanon in the past 2½ years

14 Feb 2005: Rafiq el-Hariri 2 June 2005: Samir Kassir 21 June 2005: George Hawi 12 Dec 2005: Gibran Tueni 21 Nov 2006: Pierre Gemayel 13 June 2007: Walid Eido 19 Sept 2007: Antoine Ghanem

and he might very well not be the last one.

Despite the frequent occurrence of assassinations, people are shocked, angered and scared after each bomb. For a while, streets are emptier, TVs louder, parents tell their kids not to go out, and emotions run high. Once the usual string of speeches (Saad el Hariri making a sad face, asking why so much blood has to be spilled; Walid Jumblatt pledging ‘not to succumb to the threat’; Syria condemning the attack despite being the first and only one to be blamed) is over, it is time to resume life – to smoke an arguileh on a terrace or take the books and sit down in a coffee shop to study. But nobody forgets, and tenser times are ahead.