International -- Readers Report
BAALBEK HAS NO TRUCK WITH TERRORISM (int'l edition)
I read both your articles with great interest ("U.S. business tests the waters," Spotlight on Lebanon, June 22; and "Where Hezbollah meets Herbie Hancock," Letter from Lebanon, June 22). Amateurish U.S. politics and overzealous paranoia toward the Mideast opened the way for more sober and realistic Europeans to reap the benefits of the country's rebuilding efforts after a long, devastating civil war. That enabled the country's pool of talented people and its strategic location to act as a springboard to improve market share and geopolitical relationships with other countries in the region.
As for Baalbek and its so-called dark history during the civil war that ended in 1990: The kidnappings and other acts of terror that took place are common phenomena in many countries around the world. Furthermore, your depiction of Baalbek as being the lion's cage of terrorists is unfair, as the city has a large and thriving Shia community as well as Christians, Sunni Moslems, and other moderate Shiites who want nothing to do with Hezbollah. Look at the municipal elections held in the city last week, where Hezbollah was soundly defeated and ousted by ordinary town folks who don't subscribe to their doctrine. The city is trying to restore its image as a vibrant cosmopolitan city with magnificent old ruins that tourists flocked from around the globe to see.