December 22, 2012

POPULAR GOVERNMENT:

In Hezbollah stronghold, Lebanese Christians find respect, stability : In a Christian home in a Shiite suburb of Beirut, images of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah share mantel and wall space with the Virgin Mary. (Ariel Zirulnick, December 21, 2012, CS Monitor)

Lebanon's sectarian divides are legendary, and the residents of the historically Christian neighborhood of Harat Hreik, now a Hezbollah stronghold, remember well the civil war that set Beirut on fire. They were literally caught in the middle of some of the most vicious fighting, with factions firing shots off at one another from either side of their apartment buildings.

But in the intervening years, as Hezbollah cemented its control over the suburb of Dahiyeh, which includes Harat Hreik, the militant group has been an unexpected source of stability and even protection for the few remaining Christian families. Just a few blocks away from Nasrallah's compound is St. Joseph's Church, a vibrant church that Maronite Christians from across Beirut flock to every Sunday. 

"I feel honored to be here. They are honest. They are not extremists. It's not like everyone describes," Gholam says. "I can speak on behalf of all my Christian friends. They would say the same thing." 

Posted by at December 22, 2012 7:40 PM
  

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