Mob lynching…

Central state authority has never amounted to much in ‘outlying’ areas of Lebanon, and in the Bekaa valley specifically, family clans are known to take the law in their own hands as a matter of course, but in the Chouf mountains the kind of mob lynching that took place last Thursday is not a common phenomenon. An Egyptian man who had killed two elderly people and two of their grandchildren (reportedly in a particularly gruesome way and prompted by no more than the refusal of the man to mediate in the Egyptian’s rejected marriage proposal) was taken to the scene of the crime for a re-enactment when an angry crowd of villagers tore him from the darak‘s hands and stabbed and beat him. When the police took him to a hospital, they then proceeded to drag him out of intensive care, tied him to the back of a car and got dragged him back to the village of Ketermaya, where they hung his body on a telephone pole using a meathook… Before we get all paternalistic about this, let it be known that the average Lebanese is as shocked by this brutality as everybody else, even when Egyptian and Syrian immigrant workers are generally not held in high esteem in this country. This fact probably did play a role in the lynching though – if only because the guy has no family in Lebanon to avenge him and so the risk of starting up a wider feud is very low. Nevertheless, ‘Lebanon’s embassy in Cairo has asked Egypt for protection after receiving an anonymous pledge to avenge the lynching of an Egyptian by villagers near Beirut last week, a Lebanese official said Monday.’ Claims in the Israeli media, on the other hand, that this was an ‘orchestrated’ event in response to the recent conviction of Hezbollah agents in Egypt are not very likely – first because this kind of thing is not Hizbullah’s style or habit at all, and secondly because Ketermaya is a predominantly sunni village. Very graphic and uncensored pictures taken by the Daily Star’s Mohammed Zaatari of the ‘event’ can be seen here and here and here.

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