Conflict & Justice

Divided loyalties in Lebanon

The pictures of the new President are everywhere. A week ago the posters represented euphoria over the resolution of selecting a president, but today they serve as political advertisement for Christian parties to which the President is aligned. Beirut's Vice Mayor wants them taken down and says the president's election only went so far healing the wound inflicted by last month's violence. You could remove every picture and poster of the new President and still not even scratch the surface; the Lebanese have a thousand ways to express their party loyalties. Young men routinely drive through Beirut streets on curfews as they honk political party themes and wave flags. This behavior has enflamed tensions for months and last week, the police implemented a scooter curfew. But this store owner says this action has only caused more anger. Targeting scooters may have been more about business than politics. This analyst says the hooter hooligans could've ignited trouble again. This analyst thinks it's a marketing strategy and says the political parties control everything from the scooter-riders to posters. For all the apparent chaos in the streets, it's utterly conventional and just way politics function in Lebanon.

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