Christopher Hitchens vs. Syria-supported Nazis in Beiru

Ace, who was traveling with the group of journalists, describes “What Happened with Hitchens”

I wasn’t there. I was there, however, for the immediate after-action report, and have heard it told ten times by now, including most of it from Hitchens. Although I didn’t really bother asking much, as I’d already heard it.

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 fuck 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, Fuck 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…

I first saw the SSNP’s swastika-based flag when I was in Beirut photographing Hezbollah’s rally in Dec. 2006. Since I had taken a picture of every other group and flag, I was going to take a picture of theirs too, but I stopped when I noticed how all the other Lebanese reacted to this group. They moved away from them, they glared at them – they hated them. The Christians in the neighborhood openly showed their hatred, but the were even, more subtly, treated as dangerous pariahs by their fellow Syria/Hezbollah supporters.


It’s generally assumed that they are responsible for the car bombings that terrorized most of Beirut and targeted Lebanese politicians and journalists. When police found explosives in one of their lairs, one SSNP member said “we are a resistance force, and we use different methods of resisting, among which is using explosives.”

The group was banned for a while but unfortunately, Hezbollah and concurrent Syrian influence have gotten more powerful lately. The SSNP is coming out of the shadows. I was there last August and saw that their swastika emblems are painted all over West Beirut. Their flags are on display on the road to Baalbeck.


Although most Lebanese hate this group, they usually don’t paint over the symbol or tear down these flags because they know how dangerous this group is. Since Hitchens knows the area, I assume he did too. Given the way they drive, I’d guess that many Lebanese admire this kind of crazy bravery. A lot of people would probably like to buy him a beer.

Allahpundit has more

Gene at Harry’s Place says:

“Coincidentally or not, Hitchens’s old nemesis, George Galloway, addressed a 2006 celebration in Canada commemorating the 74th anniversary of the founding of– yes– the Syrian Social Nationalist Party…So once again we gaze in bewilderment upon a world in which someone who confronted and physically fought fascists is routinely accused of selling out to the Right, while someone who celebrated with their Canadian fellow fascists is viewed by some as a hero of the Left.

Charles at LGF says:

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.

I wrote about growing SSNP influence in Lebanon after my last visit, but the issue didn’t get much attention. I should have started a fight –


About marypmadigan

Writer/photographer (profession), foreign policy wonk (hobby).
This entry was posted in Politics/Foreign correspondents. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Christopher Hitchens vs. Syria-supported Nazis in Beiru

  1. Fausta's Blog says:

    Fausta’s Blog » Blog Archive » Ace tells what happened with Hitchens Says:

    May 15, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    […] Mary, cross-posting at Solomonia, has photos of the […]

  2. A free lebanese says:

    A free lebanese Says:

    June 12, 2009 at 8:28 am

    ohh.. why is hitchens considered a victim here while he wrote f*** the ssnp on the poster… its a normal reaction with all the parties not only ssnp…
    and if you consider the ssnp “syria-supported nazis in beirut”.. why dont write about the lebanese forces – whose loyalty belongs to israel… we all saw what they did in the war and where they got their weapons from to destroy lebanon and fight other parties

  3. marypmadigan says:

    marypmadigan Says:

    June 12, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    ‘free lebanese’, did you leave the nasty comment from “Adam s.” my ‘About me’ page?

    I have to assume that you did, since the messages were sent thru the same Network coordination centre, they were sent at about the same time and the misspellings/grammatical mistakes are similar to those in your post.

    While calling people nasty names is becoming a standard for political dialogue in the US too, we haven’t descended to the level where we beat people up for defacing a poster.

    It’s not acceptable behavior in Lebanon either. Many Lebanese complained about the SSNP’s campaign of intimidation in places like Hamra st.

    The resentment created by the SSNP, Syria and Hezbollah’s bullying probably lost them the election. You have no one to blame but yourselves.

  4. A free lebanese says:

    A free lebanese Says:

    June 12, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    My friend posted that nasty comment and I’m sorry for that… And I’m afraid you’re right, that is becoming a standard for political dialogue everywhere.
    What really lost them the elections was the sectarianism. And I think you’re saying that if we hate the SSNP we should vote for 14 March candidates even if we know they aren’t the right choice… They’ve been ruling the country for four years now and look where we are – fifty billion dollars of debt. They were in charge when the Syrian dependence epoch and remained after their “second independence” in 2005 and nothing changed.
    And I think you should know that the ones you call Nazis were the first to lead a resistance against Israel in the 80s…
    If you haven’t read the SSNP’s founder’s principles yet I recommend you to, even if you hate them. And their logo is not a swastika, it is a combination of the crescent and the cross and it is called in Arabic “zawba3a” which means tornado.

  5. A free lebanese says:

    A free lebanese Says:

    June 12, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    I’m sorry but I wanted to post this comment and I really want to continue this discussion even though you blocked my address from posting comments. ;)

  6. marypmadigan says:

    marypmadigan Says:

    June 13, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    I didn’t block your address from posting comments (as you can see). There may be a glitch somewhere in the comments software that makes posting slow..?

  7. marypmadigan says:

    marypmadigan Says:

    June 13, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    If you haven’t read the SSNP’s founder’s principles yet I recommend you to, even if you hate them. And their logo is not a swastika, it is a combination of the crescent and the cross and it is called in Arabic “zawba3a” which means tornado.

    And does does the phrase “Social Nationalist” also mean something other than National Socialism?

    I don’t ‘hate’ the SSNP, but I don’t support any group that uses bullying, intimidation and attacks against unarmed citizens as a way of enforcing political power.

    If the SSNP’s founding principles were free ice cream for everyone and skies that rain donuts, I still couldn’t support them because they use these tactics as a way of maintaining political power. That’s just not right.

  8. A free lebanese says:

    A free lebanese Says:

    June 13, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    but where did you see the ssnp attacking unarmed citizens?.. there may be a number of hooligans and especially in hamra street, but the party also contains most educated and creative people in the country…
    And it’s not ‘national socialism’, it means a ‘social party’ and a ‘national party’, and you can check the history of the ssnp fighting against communism in lebanon.

  9. Kenan Alqurhaly Says:

    August 8, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    stupid post

  10. It’s very simple really. Christopher Hitchens took the social justice rhetoric of the Left far too seriously, and therefore like George Orwell was cast out of this criminal faction. As for George Galloway, he’s clearly a Left fascist. As the Bolshevik Empire was Left fascist, so are their surviving colonies and sympathetic factions overseas. So it makes perfect sense that Christopher Hitchens, who was an anti-fascist Leftist, was not welcome in Left fascist circles, while George Galloway most enthusiastically is.

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