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February 25, 2011

Civil War In Beirut?

Gun fire has rocked the city of Beirut over the past two days. After the government announced that the Hezbollah communication systems were illegal, the leader of Hezbollah stated that this proclamation was a declaration or war. Violence broke out in the area of the city called the Green Zone, a place where Shiite and Sunni Muslim neighborhoods meet.

Western journalists were trapped in the region were the fighting is raging. Families were shown sheltering their children on the street as shots range out. Hezbollah reportedly wants the government to withdraw the statement and the fighting will cease. So that is all it takes to start a war? Someone says something and you begin firing shots? Seems a little extreme to me.

The thing that I have never been able to understand about groups that want change, is why they always start riots and wars in their own territories. Throughout the United States and other parts of the world, there are times when groups start riots in their own neighborhoods because they want change. Destroying where you live does not bring about change and the message that violence sends is never productive. If you want people to listen, you have to find a way to make them understand what you have to say and you have to understand what they are saying. Gun fire can not do this.

This conflict has been brewing for some time now. Rumors that Hezbollah had installed video cameras at the airport were reported to have lead to the firing of the head of airport security. This was seen as an act of vengeance from the Sunni-led government and began to stir things up between the government and Hezbollah.

Other issues are alive and well in Beirut. There was a labor strike the other day and it is reported that Hezbollah used it as a starting point for their own conflict. Now the situation has spiraled out of control and the Lebanese army may be needed to resort peace.

The good news is that outside of the Green Zone, the neighborhoods are not having a disturbance. If the situation can be contained then the rest of the country that is living in calmness may not be disturbed.

The Lebanese government has offered to sit down and talk with Hezbollah in the past. Unfortunately the group has not agreed to do so. Lebanon ended civil war in 1989 and starting one up now is not in the best interest of Hezbollah or the government. While I can understand standing up for your way of life and believing that your way of living is right, I can not understand senseless violence. There are things to die for, I know that, but if you have to die for what you believe in, make it an honorable death. Don’t die in cross fire from random street violence and don’t kill some baby with a stray bullet. If you must fight, make it a real fight. Fight because someone wounded your leader or your home was attacked, not because someone said something that you did not like. Add some structure to your fight and your point of view gains respect.

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