passengers, veiled women, motley baggage, many prayer
rugs. As at Rabat I spend the night on a hard bench. |
Friday morning I
leave for Beirut, where the police give me a 48-hour visa. I take a room at the
St. George Hotel and try to persuade the local press to get me into the Lebanon
Assembly. A typical response is that of Edouard Saab, editor-in-chief of Jour
and correspondent of Le Monde. "Oh, you're the lady who was at Damascus.
I can't do anything for you ... " and he hangs up. They all know that my
message has nothing in it for those to whom it is addressed. They are very much
afraid of compromising themselves.
At six o'clock two German
journalists and one from the Associated Press look me up. A few minutes later
five agents of the Lebanese Security break into my room, followed by the
manager of the hotel and a couple of employees who pack my belongings. Three
cars bring us to the security office. Several commissioners interrogate me. The
chief says, "I was in Lyon at the time of the Barbie affair. You conducted
yourself very well."
"Then why do you object to what I am doing in this
place today? The reasons that bring me here are the same as those that made me
go to La Paz."
"No, it's not the same thing. You should be concerned
about the poor Lebanese in the south who are bombed every day."
think it's all right for terrorists in the south to go into Israel and kill
children ... " It becomes another dialogue of the deaf.
Antoine Baroud takes my very succinct deposition and tells me I will be
expelled and will leave for Rome at 2 A.M. I put two armchairs together, borrow
a blanket, and try to get some rest, thinking of room 327 at the St. George
where my money was spent for nothing.
At 2 A.M. three police officers,
mustachioed and reeking of garlic, escort me to the airport, bypassing the
check-in. Inside Japan Airlines they try to examine the contents of my handbag
(perhaps fearing I was about to hi-jack the plane and force it to Tel Aviv. Why
do they not do the same for the terrorists who are based in Lebanon?). The
plane captain requests that they do this on the runway, not on Japanese
The plane leaves. The mission is concluded. No doubt there
will be others to come.