The Lebanese daily Al-Mudun and the Shi'ite Janoubia.com website, both known to be anti-Hizbullah, published articles bemoaning the situation in
The articles also highlighted the continuing Islamization of the region, as manifested in Hizbullah's banning of alcohol sales, of secular New Year's celebrations, and of parties, on pretexts such as the death of a martyr in some village or other or bereavement for Iranians killed in an earthquake in Iran. Also noted was the marked proliferation of loudspeakers through which Shi'ite prayers were regularly piped.
The following are translated excerpts of the two articles:
Shi'ite journalist and author Muhammad Barakat wrote on Janoubia.com that those who pride themselves for liberating South Lebanon from
"When we said that all Lebanese must oppose the oppression of the residents of
"It is difficult, perhaps impossible, to develop an idea or an initiative in
No Selling Alcohol – Anyone Doing So Is Attacked
In Al-Mudun, author Qassem Marwani described life in South Lebanon since Hizbullah took over: "My trip to Tyre began in Bint Jbeil, one of Hizbullah's vital strongholds, and I had to pass through several villages full of portraits of martyrs and leaders. I found nowhere to buy alcohol until I reached the coastal villages, the Amal stronghold. Once, before Hizbullah tightened its hold on the mountain villages, it was possible to find a few liquor stores, but all their owners were forced to shut down. If anyone refused, his business was set on fire. When we wanted to buy liquor, we had to drive long distances to reach one of the Christian villages.
"In 2011, we decided to spend New Year's Eve [December 31] at the Al-Tirus restaurant in
"It didn't stop with the alcohol [ban]... We used to throw parties in the village every weekend. There was music in the courtyard or garden of one of our friends, and we would dance. I remember well those days, in 2003, and the years before that. But suddenly, during one party, a Hizbullah official came and said, '40,000 martyrs were killed in an earthquake in
"At a restaurant in the village, a singer was performing at an engagement party. Then a vehicle pulled up with some gunmen in it; they stopped the party and silenced the music, claiming that in the next village people were holding a memorial for a martyr. Instead of music, there were Shi'ite prayers.
"I sat alone in the town square one evening after everyone had gone to dinner, and listened sorrowfully to the voice of the Shi'ite preacher coming from the village mosque. Every day, the voice gets louder, and the number of loudspeakers increases. Every time anyone builds a house, they have to include a loudspeaker. They sound the preacher's prayers every Friday and every day during Ramadan. [There is only] this prayer, and endless houses of mourning. Sometimes I wonder: Were I God, how would I bear all the continuous sadness and bitterness?"