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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Holiday in hell

Reuters journalist Paul Hughes chose to spend a holiday with his wife in Beirut. just as the violence broke out. Here’s his vivid take on what it is like in that city at the moment. When it comes to covering events in Lebanon with a salty mixture of black humour, PJ O’ Rourke, of course, remains the master.

26 comments to Holiday in hell

  • Dale Amon

    Perhaps the best thing we can do for those poor people is to plan vacations there as soon as the fighting stops. Nothing could do more good for them than tourists spending loads of dosh!

  • If I had the cash and didn’t have a 3 month old tot (whos having trouble with the heat here let alone that of more exotic climes) I’d be there in a shot. I’ve heard very nice things about Beirut over the last few years. I have a feeling that it suffers from the same media blinkering as Belfast.

  • Nick M

    Fine sentiments and it looks (looked) a fun town but if it gets truly mashed there won’t be anything to spend “loads of dosh” on.

  • Pete_London

    Nick M

    It certainly looked fun when the Lebanese were demonstrating against the Syrian occupation last year, I seem to remember. I don’t really recall ‘demonstrations’ as such, it’s more the veryfitchicks that spring to mind.

  • permanentexpat

    A sad aside: An old friend reminded me that Lebanon, at one time, had the strongest currency in the World in terms of being backed by gold. The life was lush & you could ski in the morning & bask on the beach in the afternoon.
    To quote Marlene Dietrich: “Ach, der Apfelbaum………”

  • Nick M

    You’re certainly not the first to point out the existence of all these Lebanese hotties on Samizdata. In fact it’s become something of an obsession in certain quarters…

    May I remind you that there are more important issues such as democracy and freedom at stake than a beautiful Eastern Med girl in a skimpy top…………

    Um… right, yeah, thought about it – point taken.

  • RAB

    Where the hell is the Red Leb!!
    I havent seen any for centuries.
    Do you think the Druze stopped selling it?
    Or the muslims stopped supplying it? so where did it go? And to whom?
    I think we should go to the mat with these scum!!

    Hunter S Thomson (deceased , but possibly channeled)

  • lucklucky

    Delusioned creatures…
    Blindest those who dont want to see.

  • Kim du Toit

    I bet the Al-Reuters journo is thanking Allah that he can now expense the whole trip…

    Why should I believe anything Reuters reports?

  • guy herbert

    No specific one thing, perhaps, but as a general rule you won’t go far wrong by believing everything that Reuters reports. That’s because Reuters doesn’t exist to flatter the prejudices of its audience like consumer media. It sells information to the media and the markets – who will pay a premium for reliability – in competition with a number of other news agencies.

  • Kim du Toit


    Remind me to talk to you about a New York City bridge I have for sale…

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Reuters occasionally messes up – all news agencies do – but unlike some firms I could mention, it has an instant corrections policy, correcting the smallest error. The issue of putting the word “terrorist” inside quotes rather than use it as a descriptive word rankles with many, but I’d add that for sheer accuracy, Reuters tops the BBC and most other outlets. Remember the company was the place that trained Frederick Forsyth, Sandy Gall, Ian Fleming (yes, him) and many other fine writers and journalists.

  • Julian Taylor

    I would wonder that if you don’t trust Reuters then who in tarnation would you trust for news? FoxNews? The Sun? Dallas Morning Herald? I’ve never had a problem with Reuters reportage at all.

    Did anyone see that Omar Bakri Mohammed is now begging to be evacuated (Link)from Beirut and let back into the UK? How the tables are turned, eh?

  • Gordon

    My daughter asked me a few months ago what I thought about Lebanon as a holiday destination. I advised her not to go.
    Kaufman, an anti-Israel Jew, was on the radio the other day bleating on about how the present unpleasantness was adversely affecting the budding Lebanese tourist industry!
    Anyone who thinks that a country, whose southern half is occupied by missile wielding islamofascists , is a suitable tourist destination is out of his tiny mind.
    For a view of what the situation on the grond was about three months ago look at this.

  • J

    “Why should I believe anything Reuters reports?”

    You shouldn’t. They are run by a conspiracy made up of George Soros, Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan and all the muslims. They are intent on bringing dhimmitude and sharia to the civilized world. You should instead look to reliable news sources such as http://www.littlegreenfootballs.com. The editors of this excellent news site have a sensible distrust of anything tainted by the long arm of global jihad, eurabia, Robert Fisk (here the devout shall spit once on the ground), moonbats or other liberals.

    P.S. Can I interest you in a tinfoil hat, an ‘amusing’ bumper sticker about handguns and democrats, and a recording of John Ashcroft’s unforgettable “Let the Eagle Soar”? They are available at very reasonable costs, although for patriotic reasons, I cannot ship outside of the US.

  • They are called Adventure Holidays…there are people who seem to enjoy going on holiday in or near a war zone. It makes em’ feel alive or something.

    Several years ago I was invited to a conference in Beirut that I was seriously tempted to go to.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    J, the trick with sarcasm is not to overplay your hand. There are legitimate grounds for complaint over the way that news biz puts “terrorist” inside inverted commas. By any reasonable grounds, the folk who carried out 9/11 were proud practitioners of terror.

  • Nick M

    Lebanon is for wimps. That’s why I’m holidaying in Somalia this year.

    That’s if they can stabilise that shell-splinter I got last year in Congo…

    Don’t bring back souvenirs, bring back shrapnel.

  • Tatyana

    Johnathan, regarding “Paris of the Middle East”: this is where I met this expression again.

  • Believe Reuters? Yes, but I must declare and interest as I used to work for them!

    If you think Reuters are biased, I suggest you first try to remove that cracked prism through which you view the world. Once you have, take a long look before reconsidering your position.

    As for another “holidaymaker” in Lebannon I see Omar Bakri Mohd tried to wangle his sorry behind onto a British warship. Thankfully the RN saw fit to refuse embarkation. Excellent.

    Of course Bakri then used an interview that followed to repeat his disingenuous line about “condemning the killing of innocents” in 9/11 and 7/7, when we all know this goat does not consider any non-Muslim capable of being “innocent”.

  • lucklucky

    “I would wonder that if you don’t trust Reuters then who in tarnation would you trust for news? FoxNews? The Sun? Dallas Morning Herald? I’ve never had a problem with Reuters reportage at all.”

    Maybe you havent read Reuters much lately and what changed in it in last decade or so. Reuters markets are a very diferent beast of Reuters political.

  • Julian Taylor

    Actually I read Reuters at least three to four times a day, but with my current RSS aggregator its probably more like 20 times a day nowadays. Even though you quote my comment you don’t seem to have read what I write … i.e who WOULD you trust for news? I’d still prefer Reuters whether “pussified” (as M. Du Toit might say) or not to PA International, The Daily Telegraph, The Times, Ananova.com or any other castrated British news service.

  • And who runs Reuters now? An American M&A Lawyer.

    Bring back the likes of Renfrew, I say, for he was the MD I joined under and worked as if I still did until Coco took the helm.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Renfrew? Nah, Tom Glocer, the current CEO, may be a hard nut, but he had to be after the firm got bloated under Peter Job. Job is a journalist, fine man, nice fellow to work for but allowed the firm to get flabby during the easy-money years. Reuters was totally vulnerable to Bloomberg, which, with its nifty boxes and great customer services, took big chunks of Reuters’ market share. That picture has now stabilised a bit and I think Glocer deserves some credit.

    I did not mean this thread to turn into a sort of Reuters-bashing event, but given that I know a lot of people who work there, I find some of the stuff written about it to be absurd. Yes, a lot of journalists there are quite PC and I am pissed at its treatment of some issues, but on the whole it cleans the clock of pretty much most news services, including the BBC World Service.

  • Kim du Toit


    I don’t trust ANY of the major media outlets. Reuters is just one of them.

    Slant and bias are, I suppose, inevitable. But I’ve noted that Reuters has shown just as much prejudice against anything done by Bush, the United States or Israel as the BBC or the other Euro news orgs.

    I can live with the occasional mistake. Consistent bias is another story.

  • Ordinary citizen

    I will never trust Reuters ever again…I had negative experience with them and discovered that they are not impartial…and this was not even something political. I complained to them about a photographer who was abusing their trust principles and they did nothing. It’s disgusting..I think Associated Press is more reliable. The American people shouldn’t tolerate press like Reuters