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The War Nerd September 21, 2007
 
Lebanese Democracy: One Man, One Boom
By Gary Brecher Browse author Email
 
Page 3 of 3
 

The rest of the Lebanese hate each other but in a family way; the Pals were like being forced to take in boarders, and worse yet boarders who claim to be related to you: “Help us, fellow Arabs!” That didn’t go down well at all with the Maronites, who call themselves Phoenicians and don’t want to hear any of that Arab crap; and it wasn’t much more musical to the Sunni or Shia’s ears. They needed work, and suddenly they were undercut by these desperate refugees who’d work for nothing. The Lebanese passed laws forbidding Pals to work at any decent trades, meanwhile talking loud about solidarity with the PLO. The Pals had a saying: “Lebanon is for Palestine but against the Palestinians.”

There used to be 15 Palestinian camps in Lebanon, pocket ghettos like the Western Addition in San Francisco, only with more minarets than projects. Then came a wacky little Israeli dude with buck teeth named Menachem Begin, sort of a Jewish Phalangist, and he invaded in 1982. That was bad news for the Pals, especially the ones in two camps you may have heard of: Sabra and Shatilla. Begin and Sharon sicced Bashir Gemayel's killing teams, the "BG Squads," into those camps and a few hours later a couple thousand Pal civvies were dead. It was so embarrassing they had to close down three of the 15 Pal camps; today, there are 12 Palestinian camps in Lebanon, 12 little tumors popping out unemployed Jihadis who have a career choice pretty much limited to driving a one of two types of car: either a taxi or a car bomb.

Just to show you why Pals in Lebanon don’t mind martrydom so much, it’s against the law for Pals to own taxis in Lebanon. In fact it’s illegal for them to own property at all! But they can drive taxis, under the table, for next to nothing. Like one Pal whined, “We are less than the Sri Lankans here!” Which is pretty low on the scale, because Sri Lankan girls are imported to Beirut to be “maids,” meaning beaten in the daytime by “Madam” and raped at night by “Monsieur.” And even they’re respected more than the Pals.


And that is why one of these twelve hellholes exploded this summer in a very interesting flare-up: Nahr al-Bared camp, where the Lebanese Army lost 200 men trying to boot out a little gang called Fatah al-Islam with less than that many members in it. It was a good look at the misery of urban combat under the current set of rules, with all that nonsense about sparing civilians.

In my next installment of this Lebanese soap opera, which I’m going to try to keep going day by day thanks to the new eXile website, I’ll go into detail about what happened at Nahr al-Bared. But just for a tease, and sort of a punchline, lemme tell you what one "prominent Christian politician" just said about the Pal camps: "I see no reason why the Palestinians should be armed."

The kicker is, the dude who said that was Dori Chamoun, son of ol' man Camille (I guess girl's names are cool with the Christians—call the kid anything but Muhammad). Dori's brother Dani used to be the official spokesperson of the family, till he got zapped. Now his brother's totally shocked that the Pals would want to hold onto their guns: what have they got to be paranoid about? What's wrong with those suspicious sons'a-bitches? What could happen?

Ah, you gotta love Lebanon—just to be able to say that with a straight face, that's pure style, Phoenician class, baby!


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Gary Brecher
Browse author
Email Gary at war_nerd@exile.ru, but, more importantly, buy his book.
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