Journalism Professor Takes Family out of Beirut
JOHN YDSTIE, Host:
Joining me now is Ramez Maluf. He is a professor of Journalism at the Lebanese American University in Beirut. Welcome to the program, Mr. Maluf.
RAMEZ MALUF: Sure.
YDSTIE: What's it been like in Beirut for the last several days?
MALUF: The city is almost like a deserted town in some areas. The downtown is certainly like this, and people are very tense and worried.
YDSTIE: And were you caught in any of the bombardment?
MALUF: No, I was not. I live in Beirut, a lot of these areas that is not a target of the Israelis so far. But my family and relatives were so tense about what was happening, we could - when I say that I was not in the area, I mean I was half a mile away from it. So that was enough to put a lot of fear into hearts, and we all decided to leave and come up to our house in the mountains.
YDSTIE: Are you seeing a lot of support for Hezbollah or frustration with Hezbollah?
MALUF: I think I can say very safely that most Lebanese feel like they're caught between a Jewish state and an Islamic republic, and most people don't want either one of these two choices.
YDSTIE: Do you have fear for the democratic government of Lebanon that it may fail or become even more powerless?
MALUF: I think the democratically elected government of Lebanon stands a chance of recuperating if there's a cease fire soon. If things continue to escalate, I think the government will be in dire straits.
YDSTIE: Lebanon went through more than a decade of civil war and was just recovering. Tourists were beginning to return to your beaches and to Beirut. Do you fear now that you're back where you started again?
MALUF: I think at best, we are where we - 10 years ago. But remember, the - that these crisis which seems to be an eternal problem was always a possibility of things getting bad or worse was always there. What we all would like to see is this issue resolved in a permanent manner, and that might be just wishful thinking. But the less it is, Lebanon will go through these ups and downs forever, as long as the Middle East crises exists.
YDSTIE: Ramez Maluf is professor of journalism at the Lebanese American University in Beirut. He's staying near Bahfia(ph) in the hills overlooking Beirut. Thank you very much.
MALUF: My pleasure.
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