By the time you read this, I should be somewhere over the Indian Ocean after eleven fascinating and wonderful days in Lebanon, in the company of Christopher Hitchens and whole other cast of distinguished characters. It was a trip in two acts about one subject: Lebanese Democracy. Sunnis, Shia, Christians and Druze turned out in force in Martyr’s Square to commemorate the 4th anniversary of the assassination of Rafik Hariri, which brought on an unprecedented backlash against Syria. We saw the principal speakers from a distance from the midst of a vast crowd. That was the first act. In the subsequent days, we would meet them personally. Walid Jumblatt in his castle, Samir Geagea in his mountaintop eyrie, and the Lebanese Prime Minister, Fouad Siniora. As often happens in plays, the most fascinating action took place offstage.
I should say that the New Opinion Group which is associated with the Lebanon Rennaissance Foundation, sponsored my trip. At least they paid for the airfare and the hotel room. But in a larger sense I went courtesy of you readers. I didn’t go in my day job capacity; it was the Belmont Club they wanted along. Thanks guys.