Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Lebanese Irony Day

Today in history: Besides Earl Grey tea’s namesake becoming prime British minister in 1830, besides a more able ancestor of Geraldo’s opening Tutankhamun’s grave in 1922, besides FDR managing to find the right door to leave after a meeting with Chiang Kai-Check in Cairo in 1943, besides the JFK assassination in 1963 and the Beatles’ White Album’s release five years later (an assassination link Oliver Stone obviously missed), besides the first downing of a B-52 in Vietnam in 1972 and its transmigration, sixteen years later, into the first B-2 stealth bomber, unveiled on this day in 1988 in Palmdale, California, besides marking Margaret Thatcher’s resignation, in 1990, after a reign spanning six centuries and single-handedly reviving Britain’s steel industry, besides Ted Kopppel’s retirement after a reign almost as long as the Establishment’s Dr. Phil, and besides the date also marking the assassination, in Beirut, of the Lebanese President Renee Moawad in 1989, a Syrian-triggered hit that, unlike its more recent copycat wiping out Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, did nothing to move the world out of its lethargy regarding all things Lebanese, or move Syria out of Lebanon—besides all this, today also marks that great and ongoing irony of Lebanese history known, since 1943, as Lebanon’s Independence Day. To wit, our picture of that pitiful Lebanese flag glimpsed a few years ago atop the ruins of the Castle of the Sea, one of those Crusaders’ left-overs, in Saida.