Sunday, August 06, 2006

Stressed out and anxious in Beirut

Hugh Sykes BBC News, Beirut

People keep asking me, "Do you know when it will stop?"
I shrug my shoulders, and say: "Your guess is as good as mine." Then they ask: "But Beirut - will they bomb Beirut again?" "What would be the point?" I reply.

Then they bombed Beirut again.

People keep saying to me, "We are not Hezbollah - why are they bombing our homes?"

The Israelis say that these renewed attacks on Beirut are justified because they are targeting Hezbollah. But for the hundreds of thousands of people in this city who don't support Hezbollah it feels like collective punishment.

Many Lebanese readily agree that Hezbollah gravely miscalculated when they captured those two Israeli soldiers on 12 July - but now they go on to say: "We were never Hezbollah. But we are all Hezbollah now. The Israeli response is completely unjustified."

I have met some who curse Hezbollah, and who say the Israeli bombardment is understandable. Some, but not many.

And I don't think "But we are all Hezbollah now" is just talk. The more Israel destroys, the more supporters Hezbollah will be able to recruit.