Monday, March 31, 2003

Too sanguine
Matthias on this website disagrees with my assessment that things are heating up in Beirut: "Yeah, there are some 'incidents'," he writes, "but nothing truly dangerous has happened."

In fact several incidents have been ignored or consciously played down in the Lebanese media. A large bomb in Sidon was placed outside the home of a Dutch woman, injuring several people. A bomb blew up outside the British Council not long afterward. A few days ago an American had a gun pulled on him in a taxi, and he soon intends to leave the country. And the suicide bomb threat at the HSBC bank on Saturday has reportedly scared another foreigner away.

No, I certainly don't think it's time to panic, nor are these threats organized. Moreover, the Lebanese authorities have a vested interest in ensuring that foreigners are well protected. However, in times like these it's the lone nut who poses the greatest threat, which is why it is best not to be too sanguine about the mood in the country.

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