It looks like Dom blogged too soon! Since he wrote that posting there has been another assassination (of an investigator from the Internal Security Forces) which killed another 3 people, followed by violent riots on Sunday which left dead. And today I am sitting indoors while a storm rages outside (although, to be fair, that isn't really anyone's fault).
So where to begin? Well, the bomb on Friday (25th) killed Capt Wissam Eid, who had been investigating many of the bombings that have been going on in Lebanon since 2005, when Hariri was assassinated. The bomb was only about 1.5 km from where I live, but I didn't hear it as I had my iPod on at the time. It was a pretty big bomb - bigger than many others, although again, it was clearly targeted.
Then on Sunday there were demonstrations in parts of Beirut and Lebanon against the cuts in electric power that happen on a very regular basis. Most parts (and more often than not, the poorer, Shia parts) of Beirut are without power for 3 hours at a time, 2-3 times a day. This has been going on for some time and, understandably, people are getting pissed off. Sadly, the demos turned nasty, and, depending on which account/biased newspaper you read, snipers fired at the army, or snipers fired at the demonstrators. Either way, seven people died needlessly on Sunday and yesterday was declared to be a day of national mourning. I'm not particularly in favour of shutting down the country every time something happens (it's mainly the schools, universities and government offices that close, private businesses tend to operate as normal), particularly as its happening all the time at the moment and children in particular need the stability of school, but when tensions are as high as they are, closing the universities is probably a good measure, especially as that is where it all kicked off this time last year.
So that is where we are at the moment. I am sure that there is a level of coordination about these disturbances on all sides at the moment (i.e. getting their people to fight, I am sure the opposing parties are not coordinating with each other!) especially as everyone knew that there was a massive storm coming yesterday and today, and that the Arab League (I think) were meeting on Sunday to talk about Lebanon. Naturally, nothing came of it.
Dom is in Dubai - he got to the airport a couple of hours before the airport road was closed by the rioters - and is most annoyed to be there. Especially as his hotel appears to be on a building site. Still, he is talking to people about 'Arab Health' - one of the biggest exhibitions in the world that takes place in Dubai. Not sure what is different about Arab Health to Everyone's Health, but I am sure marketing plays a part!
I am just taking things easy, and beginning to sort out the house for the return home (sob!). I've got some work lined up for the end of February, and we also have visitors - hurray! Siobhan and Dom's friend Jeremy in about 10 days, and then Pete and Sarah at the end of Feb. Can't wait! And just to re-emphasise... Lebanon is normally really peaceful, and has much less crime, violent or otherwise, than London. Unless you are really unlucky, it is perfectly safe to visit here - you just have to have a chilled out attitude!