Tent City on Google Earth

Beirut Spring, a blog maintained by a Tripolitan in the US Ghana (sorry Mustapha…), links to the newly updated pictures of Beirut on Google Earth, featuring clear views of Tent City, the continuing sit-in of the opposition which is often blamed for ruining this year’s tourist season of Lebanon. I personally think the battle at Nahr al-Bared had more to do with that, as well as the persistent rumours of a new Israeli ‘summer campaign’ in an effort to save the severely damaged face of the IDF after their defeat of last summer. The irony of it all is that there are actually no more than a dozen people present at any time on Riyadh as-Sulh square, most of the tents are continuously empty. Of course, if necessary (or opportune), Hizbollah and Aoun can probably mobilize tens of thousands of people and cart them there in coaches at a few hours’ notice. Still, Downtown, at least at night, seems more lively now than when I arrived here in the beginning of august. You can go and watch the ladies gossiping in the newly-built, preposterously trendy grand cafés between shopping, while their children are tended to by young Philippine and African maids outside on the street. When they want to go home, a valet drives the Jaguar or Porsche Jeep up to the door.

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