We have had a windy, stormy night followed by a cold and rainy day here in Beirut. The main subject of discussion in the street (or in the shops and bars, to be more precise – it is winter here) is, beside the riots, legendary singer and national symbol Fairouz (now 73 years old) performing in Damascus, the official Arab cultural capital for 2008. Whereas one position holds that she is an artist and shouldn’t be dragged into the murky and volatile politics of the day, look here for an example of the intense emotions this has engendered at the other end of the opinion scale.

On another subject, the Lebanese government is finally opening an investigation into the looting and destruction of Nahr el-Bared by the army last year.


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