Complicating a ‘Hezbollah stronghold’

At least six people were reported killed in today’s bomb in Bir Hassan, near South Beirut. 
As usual, scores of people were injured and dozens of shops destroyed. One of the stores that was completely blown away was Rammal electronics, which quickly strung up a banner over the blast site reading: 
“We will carry on despite terrorism”

“We will carry on despite terrorism,” reads banner strung up at Beirut blast site by local electronics store pic.twitter.com/X6Z2OeVH5l
— Habib Battah (@habib_b) February 19, 2014

The owner, La Coste-wearing Adnan Rammal, was later interviewed on Al Manar. His shop was also destroyed during the 2006 war with Israel but he started out by saying: “These people are worse than the Israelis.”

The assumption was that the Israeli military had at least given some warning before attacking residential South Beirut, parts of which were completely flattened by its aircraft after leaflets had been dropped.

Adnan also said that the neighborhood was mixed. The orphanage next door, Dar Al Ataym–which was also devastated– was Sunni-run, he explained, adding that many of his employees were also Sunnis.

Of course some in the neighborhood were also strong supporters of Hezbollah. As is routine in these events, even victims interviewed in hospital beds pledged allegiance to Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.

But several others in the hospital did not mention Nasrallah. That’s one key idea that gets lost in the tiresome “Hezbollah neighborhood” description, parroted by pundits and the media. It ignores the more messy reality that no neighborhood–in Lebanon or elsewhere– is uniformly or even overwhelmingly supportive of one group or another.  It is a neighborhood after all, where people have lived and worked long before Hezbollah or other parities came to power. There is no stronghold. Both the mainstream media and suicide bombers need to realize that.