Tuesday, 9 July 2013

No Book Plugs Today, Then...

Beirut (Photo credit: Miss Lady Lee)
One of my many odd little habits is having a window on my TweetDeck dedicated to the hashtag #Beirut, on account of my having written and published a book of that name. Once again today it caught my eye as the usually lazy pace of tweets with that hashtag changed and tweets started falling at a rate of knots. Sure enough, it wasn't on account of good news.

A large car bomb had gone off in Dahieh, straight away dubbed a 'Hezbollah stronghold'. Dahieh (or however you want to spell it) is the southern suburb of Beirut, a sprawl that spreads either side of the airport road. Its population is, sure enough, in the majority Shia. And so the slumbering giant of Lebanese sectarianism is prodded once again awake and we can only stand aside and hope that tempers hold, that people don't lash out in revenge and that Lebanon's increasingly febrile peace is maintained. Already Saad Hariri has blamed Israel. Others are looking for anyone to blame. A shocking start to Ramadan.

It's a blessing and a curse that hashtag. I was just finishing a long peroration on how sexy the city was for the Beirut - An Explosive Thriller website last year when I saw the immortal tweet, "What the f*ck was that?" which triggered the wave of news breaking on #Beirut about the huge Ashrafiyeh bomb. Now it's happening all over again. Eighteen hurt, forty dead, 38 wounded, 40 lightly injured. The news sites scrambling to get the headlines out first and just adding jumble to the tweets from eye witnesses.

I'm a great deal happier when there's nothing more exciting on that screen than a tweet from me about buying my book or sharing a review or some other inanity. A slow news day in Beirut is always a good news day...
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