Hitchens not attacked?

From the Angry Arab:

According to a Lebanese police sources cited in Al-Akhbar, Hitchens was not attackedin Beirut. And the SSNP also denied the story and said that they had no posters in Beirut. If this story is made up it would not be a first: remember that Hitchens claimed to have interviewed Abu Nidal, when there is no evidence whatsoever for that interview. (The source who first sent me the story need to follow up NOW). (thanks Saeed)

For those who don’t read Arabic the story is basically a two paragraph piece saying exactly what the above says.    Maybe its just me but reading the words “F…Off”  in English mixed into an Arabic article is funny:

وإنه عندما رأى شعاراً للحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي، لم يتمكن من تحمُّل ذلك، فحمل قلمه وبدأ يكتب على الشعار. وأوضح أنه أراد أن يقول للحزب السوري «f.. off». عندها

When trying to judge the seriousness of these claims, keep in mind that Al-Akhbar is generally pro-Syrian, pro-Hezbollah, and anti-US foreign policy.   Therefore,  by definition, they hate and have an interest in embarrasing someone like Hitchens, an ardent supporter of the Iraq war whose trip to Lebanon was paid for by a Pro-March 14th group.  It would make their day if it turned out that the fight story turned out not to be true.

Traffic Week

My good friend Joseph Simmons (who, by the way, happens to  speaks Arabic at what linguists commonly refer to as the “far-out sick nasty level”)  has a good post on traffic in Egypt:

Traffic accidents in Egypt continue to be a major problem as over 30 people have been killed and over scores injured on the roads just this month. Official estimates place the number of deaths in road accidents in Egypt at around 6000 to 8000 per year with tens of thousands of injuries. In August 2008, the government began to implement a new traffic lawin an attempt to fix some of Egypt’s traffic problems, including banning the use of cell phones without headsets, the requirement for taxi drivers to wear seatbelts (which they usually only do when they see a policeman, and even so often just sling the belt over themselves without securing it), and fines for driving in the wrong direction. It’s not clear that the new law has had any real effect.

Traffic problems in Egypt result from human error as well as legal and physical deficiencies .

Word is that Blackstar has a long rantpost about traffic deficiencies in Lebanon on the way so let me take this occasion to announce “Traffic Week” at MediaShack.  Each day  I will be tell a different story about life behind the wheels in Egypt.