In the afternoon in the village of Sidiqin, the men play boule, introduced in the French period after the second world war. Sidiqin is in the southern part in Lebanon not far from areas recently occupied by Israel, but villagers here don´t fear a return of Israeli forces.

Ali Saad
-We are protected, thank God. We protect ourselves.

Hussein Haydar
-We know how to deal with them now. They tried and we threw them out.

The belief in their own strength stems from different islamic movements in southern Lebanon, mostly Hezbollah which is branded a "terrorist" organisation by USA. Hezbollah is funded and strongly influenced by Iran whose former leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, looks down on the Lebanese citizens.

The Shia muslims is the largest religious group in Lebanon, and Hezbollah, claims to be heavily supplied by rockets from Syria in their struggle against Israel, can easily mobilize thousands of fighters.

Hassan Marhas
-If Hezbollah wasn´t here, Israel would invade us in the morning, afternoon, evening and not just that, they would kill us, destroy our houses and attack us from airplanes.

In the city of Tyr, Imam Sadrs founadtion runs a hospital and also a huge social program. Here is a school for nurses with about hundred girl students.

Zaha, nurse student
-Most students here are from Lebanon but we have also students from Kuwait and Iran.

-This is an islamic foundation and it is the customs here to wear scarf.

Imam Sadr foundation is financed by contributions from the citizens as well as by international support. It has vocational training for adults, children day-care centers, education for farmers and runs clinics where about 20.000 people every month receive treatment, so it takes a huge
social responsibility in the war-torn area.

Maha Salman, Imam Sadr foundation, Tyr
-The government is still weak in covering the needs of the people, especially in the south.

In the absence of governmental power in the southern Lebanon, also the islamic movements run social programs. Besides Hezbollah, Haraket Amal has a strong presence here.

Ali Kdouh
-We are going to support Haraket Amal as long as we are alive because they give us lots of things, socially and educationally.

In the abandoned Syrian army camps, the Lebanese army performs training. But their strength is not ready for fighting, the villagers beleieve.

Ali Bistani
-The resistance movements should take care of the national security here in the south because of their armed strength. Without their arms Israel could invade us anytime because Lebanese military isn´t ready for battle.

Daily Star in Beirut, the second largest english daily in the Middle East, has for a long time reported about the islamic movements. Especially the largest, Hezbollah, is now in a process of transforming itself into a political movement.

Michael Glackin, editor in chief, Daily Star, Beirut
-They (Hezbollah) are already mainstreaming themselves into the political process. They have about a dozen MPs in the Lebanese parliament already. They see themselves for the most part "above politics", they don´t want to get involved in the bickering and petiness as they see party politics in Lebanon.

More than a month since the assassination many pay a visit to the grave of former Lebanese Premier Hariri at the Martyrs Square in Beirut. Hariri was behind huge reconstruction projects and heavily critiscised Syria´s
dominance of Lebanon.

Fatima Fatallah
-I wish to see those who commited this crime killed too.

The huge unemployment of Syria makes nearly one million seek employment in Lebanon. Hassan Ali has worked here intermittently for ten years and receives about 200 euro monthly.

Hassan Ali
-We work mostly at construction sites, maybe we can not get work for a full month. Anyhow, what we earn here is two, three times better than in Syria.

Syria is claimed to control large parts of business in Lebanon and wants to keep this grip, as well as political control. During the civil war Syrian troops enforced peace and served as a strong counterbalance to the Israeli forces, which the Lebanese in general are thankful for.

Now when UN resolution 1559 demand a Syrian total withdrawal, Hezbollah protests and looks upon that as a unjustified pressure from abroad, especially as the resolution demands disarmament of their military. But many want an end to Syria´s total control, economically, military and politically, of Lebanon, and receive international support in their protests, especially from USA and France.

Siham, lady demonstrating
-Without international pressure, they (Syria) will never leave.

But international pressure is usually one-sided when it comes to the Middle East, many here think.

Semir, man demonstrating
-By helping Libanon is to implement all UN resolutions. Stop making monkey business, stop playing with us. If the American and French want to help us they should instead put pressure on Israel to force it to implement all UN resolutions. We have been hijacked by the Syrian, by the Palestinian, we have been hijacked by so many people.

Michael Glackin, editor in chief, Daily Star, Beirut
-The west is seen as very selective about which UN resolution it wants to see implemented. We have had countless resolutions against Israel and the occupied territories, not one has even been enforced, not one.

Lebanon is an integrated part of the Arab world. Among youths, who usually smoke traditional water-pipe in the cafées, this pressure from abroad is felt.

Khaled Hamad
-We arabs know that the pressure on the region from abroad is just for their own benefits. I don´t think Lebanon and Syria will accept this pressure to continue.

Among the youths there is an interest for politics and a strong will for democracy, something enhanced by recent developments,

Michel Zyade
-The main opposition demand (the truth behind the killing of Hariri) will never be met unless Syria withdraws totally from Lebanon so we get rid of it´s meddling in everything and pitting political parties against each other.

Charbel Ajaltony
-Our main demand is democracy, it´s a priority because it is the only way forward. That´s why we insist on this and will stay in the streets demonstrating.

Mohammad Karouf
-If we dont sit down together and come to a conclusion, people will just go into the streets and protest and protest and tensions will get worse. We don´t want it to escalate that far.

© 2019 Journeyman Pictures
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