Christopher Hitchens Attacked in Beirut

Christopher Hitchens is visiting Lebanon, and apparently was attacked and beaten by pro-Syrian neo-Nazis after he wrote some … unflattering graffiti on an SSNP poster: Hot Air: Report: Hitchens beaten by Syrian thugs in Beirut?

Some Hot Air commenters are applauding the SSNP thugs.

UPDATE at 2/18/09 2:55:38 pm:

Looks like Michael Totten was in this fight too: Weekend In Lebanon: A Dispatch From Beirut.

But later that night, three of our “scoop” brigade—Jonathan Foreman, Michael Totten and Christopher Hitchens—got involved in a street brawl with some thugs of a Syria-loving skinhead party called the SNPN after Hitchens rather gallantly insulted their swastika flag. On our way to a meeting with Minister of State Nissib Lahoud, Hitchens showed me the gashed knuckles and bruises suffered during the punch up. The attackers had apparently come out of nowhere on posh Hamda Street, where they had gone to buy shoes. “I was on the ground,” Hitchens said, “and getting it in the head.” It was a miracle they didn’t pull Kalashnikovs.

UPDATE at 2/18/09 3:22:37 pm:

Apparently it’s not popular to say it, but I applaud Hitchens for flipping the bird to those creeps. If more people had the guts to do things like this (and a few drinks in them to loosen them up) skinhead punks like the SSNP might not have so much power.

UPDATE at 2/18/09 5:32:06 pm:

Ace has the low down on this dust up: What Happened With Hitchens.

Hitch and two others were out on some or such errand. One guy was just telling Hitchens that the Syrian Nazi party had little support in the country but was paid by Syria to kill people, and that he’d been told they’re the one party you don’t f-ck with.

So five minutes later they come across the poster for the Syrian Nazi Party on an abandoned bagel shop — abandoned, if I had this right, after Hezballah had attacked it last year due to the overly Jewish connotations of bagelry.

So Hitchens immediately takes out a pen and writes “No, no, F-ck You” on the poster. I don’t know if he’d digested the story and decided to fuck with them anyway, or else he was just reacting to the modified swastika on the poster.

Now, the Syrian Nazis are not popular and neighborhoods have tried to get their posters taken down. But then they threaten people and cause problems.

So the state leaves them up. To avoid getting their posters defaced or torn down, they post a paid Nazi watcher to keep an eye on their posters.

Well, when this Syrian Nazi goon saw Hitch do this, he confronted him and kinda-sorta attacked him. I say kinda sorta attacked, because what his main intent was was to delay Hitchens from leaving — until the ten Nazi goons he had just texted on his cell phone could arrive.

There was some kicking and pulling and hitting. Hitch and the others attempted to get into a cab — the Syrian Nazi goon got right in the cab with them, still hitting Hitchens. They could not force him out. Eventually they all exited, and attempted to get a fresh cab, but other cabbies were now hip to the fact the Syrian Nazis had been riled and wanted no business from them, so two cabs passed refusing their fare.

Now at this point the ten Nazi goons showed up (about five minutes into this— they came quickly) and Hitch and the other two were probably going to get the crap beaten out of them, at best. However, they finally managed to get a cabbie who was either brave or didn’t know the trouble he was getting into and got in, this time without the goon, and left the other ten behind.

Now, as far as the damage Hitch suffered, it wasn’t much. He did get some lumps — a knock on the leg, a scrape on the face. And also his writing hand had been stomped on. He’d been roughed up a bit, but didn’t have “the sh-t beaten out of him.” If I hadn’t been told the story I wouldn’t have known he’d been f-cked with at all. Apart from a bit of pain walking and some more pain typing, he was fine.

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