In a remarkable show of versatility, the SSNP (Syrian Socialist Nationalist Party, i.e. another outlet of Syrian "influence" in Lebanon) showed that not only could its thugs rough up local Beirut residents who rejoice over Syria's withdrawal from the capital and the country, but that they could also do it to foreigners who might be visiting the city and disapprove of their "swastika-like symbol" on posters plastered all over Hamra street. NOWLebanon reports on the case of Christopher Hitchens, a noted columnist and author best known for his provocative attacks against organized religion:
To his credit, however, [Christopher] Hitchens does not usually resort to violence. Not so the Syrian Social Nationalist Party. This Beirut trip was nastily marked by a run-in with that party's heavies on Hamra Street, which left Hitchens limping and even more viscerally opposed to the Syrian regime and pro-Syrian Lebanese parties. Over roasted songbirds and 1985 Chateau St-Emilion, he related to NOW Lebanon his experience, which began last Saturday afternoon when he sighted the SSNP's swastika-like symbol on a poster in Hamra. "My attitude to posters with swastikas on them," he said, "has always been the same. They should be ripped down." Upon realizing that this one was too, "enshrined, plasticated," for tearing down, he wrote on it some, "essentially negative words about National Socialism," widely reported to be "F*** the SSNP."That sounds about right. The article goes on to detail the content of Hitchens' lecture at the AUB. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of his, but you have to appreciate the presence of dissenting voices in society ... unless you belong to the SSNP that is.
And no sooner had he pocketed the pen, one of the party's supporters "appeared as if he'd jumped out of the nearest drain, which perhaps he had," and assaulted Hitchens, "pulling my shirt, smacking me about." The assailant called for support, which arrived in the form of several more men who flung him to the floor and stamped on him, before Hitchens and his two colleagues managed to get away. The shocking thing, he said, was "the absolutely supine conduct of this cop who was standing not far away…what is a cop for? To patrol and reinforce swastika artists hurting people on Hamra Street?"
For more classic displays of SSNP behaviour, check out: Beating up the Free Media; Burning down the Free Media; Terror in Beirut; Terror Training; Rally Detonations; and, my personal favorite, Car Bomb Ingredients (with pictures).