In what would appear to be a shining moment in the history of the construction industry, road clearing suddenly became live breaking news across the Arab world today. For over half an hour, audiences around the region were gripped by the action: the methodical and utterly predictable motions of bulldozers picking up a load, hoisting it up into the air, releasing it into a dump truck and then repeating the cycle, over and over again. It was almost therapeutic. A bit of mundane earth removal (courtesy of Hezbollah) to seal a semblance of closure on a week of chaos.
In addition to the Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. or LBC (top photo), which carried a live shot of the airport road being unblocked, local station New TV also carried the event live, from a major Beirut intersection that has also been rendered inoperable by a series of sand berms.
As did Al Manar, the Hezbollah channel, which panned to show a shot of the Lebanese army standing by to observe the dirt removal. It seemed to be quite a show for the soldiers, who vied for space on the roof of their APC to get a good view:
But Al Manar TV had already claimed victory earlier today, noting that the Arab league delegation (headed by Qatar) visited opposition leader and speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri, before visiting the offices of the Prime minister and the Lebanese cabinet. As we can see in the photo below, the opposition leaders had put out fruit cocktails, a favorite in the Arab gulf, for their Qatari guests.
And although some may wonder why it is seemingly normal in Lebanon for a visiting government delegation to meet first with opposition politicians before greeting the head of the country’s government, local viewers were probably just happy the lotto was back on tonight
As I type this, I can hear a plane landing at the airport, the first to do so in over a week. The streets of the city are slowly filling back up with traffic and I’ve seen some shoppers in Hamra, a major commercial area. Many are wondering: is this the new normal?