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Christopher Hitchens and the SSNP

I've refrained from writing about the now infamous incident earlier this month when journalist Christopher Hitchens got into a scuffle with some members of the Syrian Socialist Nationalist Party on Hamra street in Beirut.

Now, the whole story has come out, which you can read at blogger Michael Totten's blog here.

To summarize, Hitchens, Totten and writer Lawrence Osborne (find his Lebanon story here), went shopping on Hamra Street. Hitchens saw the SSNP's symbol on a sign. He proceeded to pull out a pen and scribble a profanity about SSNP, or something along those lines, on the sign.

Unfortunately for Hitchens, the sign is kind of a shrine for the SSNP.  It commemorates the assasination of two Israeli soldiers on that spot, in front of the famous Wimpy's cafe,  in the early 1980s during the Israeli occupation of Beirut. It's a famous incident and even appears in modified form in Israel's 2008 Oscar nominee "Waltz with Bashir." 

Well, on this February day, one of the SSNP members saw Hitchens scribble on the sign, and the bruising began.

Hitchens was not badly hurt, and he appeared in good health when I attended his lecture at the American University of Beirut a few days later.

Blogger Abu Muqawama has his take on the whole Hitchens trip and scuffle here.

Hudson Institute Fellow Lee Smith talks about the fight and the context at NOW Lebanon, here.

Blogger Dadavidovich over at Remarkz has commentary on the trip and incident.