During a large bomb explosion in Beirut, Lebanon on October 19 eight people were killed, as well as eighty wounded. This bomb has unnerved the nation where memories from the sectarian violence during Lebanon’s long civil war are still ingrained in many people’s minds. The bomb is thought to has been sectarian fueled from Syria’s civil war. The scare is now that these attacks will spill over the borders and engulf the region.
The bomb also killed a top security official General Wissam al-Hassan, whom the Syrians have longed viewed as an enemy. Hassan was the intelligence chief of Lebanon’s Internal security Forces and played a leading role in the arrest of a former information minister, Michel Samaha. Samaha was close with Syrian leadership and accused of plotting campaigns of bombings and assassinations in Lebanon. His arrest was a very big deal because it was seen of the Lebanese governments effort to prevent the spread of sectarian mayhem in the country. The loss of Hassan was felt through out the country.
Nobody knows who is behind the blast yet. Politicians pleaded that the country not get dragged into tit-for-tat killings or return to anything that could possibly lead to the sectarian conflict that has previously engulfed the city. This may be difficult however because many of the Lebanese feel personally attacked. This can be seen after the explosion when thousands of mourners from across Lebanon flocked to a central Beirut square for a funeral service for the victims. The anger at the Syrians could be seen when mourners chanted angry slogans against Syrian’s president, Bashar al-Assad, and against Hezbollah, its ally. Hezbollah being attacked is also a new thing for many Lebanese since it is a dominant force in Lebanon’s coalition government. Many of the mourners carried the flag of the Syrian rebels and the chants of anger towards Hezbollah rose.
After the funeral, Lebanese soldiers were forced throw tear gas and fired bullets into the air because protesters attempted to scale a fence protecting government offices. The protestors were wearing masks and wielding sticks and were facing off the soldiers in the street. The day after the small riot the Lebanese military moved forcefully to stop any simmering sectarian tensions around the country, deploying troops in areas worst affected. They also demanded politicians calm their supporters.
This act in Lebanon of terrorism or visual is similar in ways to the terrorist attack on the United States on 9/11. Although on 9/11 more lives were lost, the fear of a major uprising towards the Middle Eastern community living in the United States was a fear for many. Although the riots in Lebanon differ in those that were in the United States the fears each citizen feels when their leaders and country are in harms way leads people to have these angry feelings. The governments job is to monitor these angry feelings and attempt to keep them under control, which is not always easy.