From Pop to Politics

Sick and Tyred | Vintage Videocrat

In Vintage Videocrat on June 10, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Published on GNN – Sat, 16 Sep 2006 12:18:51

Location: Tyre, Lebanon.

Video Still: A Lebanese soldier stands by as Spanish troops arrive in Tyre, looking rather confused...

I’ve been in Tyre for almost a week now and my arrival was…well… anti-climactic. On the road from Beirut I was expecting Kabul when really I was in a Lebanese Sharm El Sheikh: One of the oldest port cities in the World, Tyre is a modest resort town with postcard perfect beachfront views and colorful seafood restaurants. It’s quite small though, our fixer drove me around when I first got here and pointed out a couple of buildings that had been deleted by the Israelis, but overall the city is alive and well with residents driving around in motorbikes and tourists (or UN officials / journalists who look like tourists) lazing about on the beach. However, the damage here is in the numbers, Tyre’s most lucrative season was out the window as of the 12th of July… taking with it millions of dollars. It’ll take quite some time for them to recover.

It’s been a bit boring working out of here, I’m getting more and more impatient with the urgency of covering ‘world news stories’ as opposed to more meaningful human interest pieces. But such is the nature of the news agency beast. The priority for us right now is European foreign troops coming in to reinforce UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon). Loud choppers and boxy armored vehicles zooming across the horizon everyday.

A lot of people here are happy that these so-called peacekeeping forces (note that they are armed to the teeth) are pouring into Lebanon, presumably to protect them, but many are dubious and sense that their presence here is purely in Israel’s defense. And I don’t blame them- a whopping 15 000 troops from various countries will be stationed in Southern Lebanon and from what I’ve seen so far, none of them are parking at the border: Their bases are mainly scattered below the Litani River.

Video Still: "Hola!" An amphibious Spanish tank emerges at the beach in Tyre.

The Spaniards made a bizarrely dramatic entrance yesterday right on the beach outside our hotel: Picture sun burnt ladies in bright bikinis and children frolicking in the waves. It’s high noon and all of a sudden these monstrous amphibious tanks adorned with machine guns emerge from the water in a convoy and cruise along the sandy shoreline in single file. Nearby a Lebanese dude in bermuda shorts gives the finger to the sky as Israeli jets crisscross above the clouds. Crazy shit!

Video Still: "Is this for real?" Two Lebanese kids look on as Spanish UNIFIL troops arrive.

I’ve been traveling around almost everyday to villages around Tyre and near the Israeli border (where there was a bizarre standoff between me, my Sony videocamera and two Merkava tanks across the valley in Markaba). It’s fucking heartbreaking. A more extensive look at the brutal destruction of Bint Jbeil in my next post.

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