What happens on the street of this city over the next few days will likely set the tone for much of the region.
In March of 2005, the dramatic nonviolent protests following Rafik Hariri's assassination sparked a swell of grassroots activism across the region, inspiring reformers in Kuwait, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, and Tunisia. There was a sense of hope, of possibility, that the best of the human spirit could triumph over dictators and thugs. That peaceful protest could trump murder.
A year and a half later, the dictators and thugs sense weakness. The euphoria of possiblity seems to have dissipated. Repression and murder appear to have the upper hand again in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Iran, Bahrain...
But the decent people of Lebanon helped inspire the region last time, and just maybe they can do it again. May the assassination of Pierre Gemayel at least yield a positive response, and may advocates of nonviolent reform and human dignity retake the initiative.
p.s. Happy Thanksgiving to our American readers. Be thankful of the precious liberties you enjoy every day.