Since I started talking to people living in Dahyeh and the South I have been collecting tremendous amount of narratives that opens on various social changes that never received the attention of the media. Here I just want to talk about one such instance. According to a young Hizbullah partisan who, along with friends, had put a tent in downtown when opposition demonstrations started earlier this year, the interaction with other political group partisans was very significant.
This guy explained to me how they used to meet everyday and talk about everything from political views, to hobbies, or life in general, around narguileh tea and coffee in and out of these tents. Just one note on the side: Nobody took money from anyone and people were there out of their own will. Actually it was a nice hang out place for most people. One of the reason why it dropped in level of participation according to this guy is that most of them are students and have exams during this period. I would stupidly speculate that others needed to work and can’t just stay there waiting for the elites to decide on future course of events.
So Hizbullah youngsters used to sit with Tayyar and other (mostly Christian movements) and basically socialized. So much so that thanks to that, this Hizbullah partisan ended up making new friends with whom he occasionally go out. A couple of days for example, he was hanging out in… Sassine.
The ad hoc social interactions that were created following these demonstrations I’m sure run deeper than we think. Lives crossed paths and myriad of new images and expressions ran through the discourse of all these protagonists. This is something that should be further researched.
Another note on the side: During the last infamous Metn elections, I was in Dahyeh (in the run up), and Aynata (the day of the elections), and these places had the orange color pretty much apparent on clothes, flags, etc. In Aynata people were glued to their television sets watching New TV (pro opposition non sectarian Lebanese TV channel) as if this was their own elections. These people were watching the unfolding of a minor intra-Christian petty fight as if it was their own fight. Through the various statements that came out during the day people’s enthusiasm or anxiety was bouncing all over the place. Since when did other Lebanese follow Shi’a politics that closely?