What We Are Reading Today: Killing Mr. Lebanon, by Nicholas Blanford

Updated 07 May 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: Killing Mr. Lebanon, by Nicholas Blanford

Before the Arab Spring, the Syrian war and fears of another conflict between Hezbollah and Israel, one story dominated Lebanon: The killing of Rafik Hariri. 
The former prime minister and architect of Beirut’s revival after decades of war, Hariri was one of the most powerful men in the country’s history. He was killed by a car bomb near Beirut’s seafront in 2005. 
This book was written before the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon indicted four Hezbollah members for the assassination. 
Their trial in absentia has been ongoing since 2014. But despite the painfully slow legal process that has unfolded since its publication, Nicholas Blanford’s detailed and compelling account of the final weeks of Hariri’s life still paints a fascinating picture of the murky figures and complex layers that make up the higher echelons of power in the divided nation. 
With the country holding its first election in nine years this week, “Killing Mr. Lebanon” is a reminder of Lebanon’s fragility and the challenges faced by the current generation of leaders in holding it together.


What We Are Watching Today: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised 

Updated 21 May 2018
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What We Are Watching Today: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised 

In Venezuela, where elections took place on Sunday, the legacy of the late firebrand socialist leader Hugo Chavez still dominates the country.

President Nicolas Maduro was the hand-picked successor to Chavez and campaigns on a platform of continuing the “Chavismo” policies.

Those policies have plunged the country into a deep economic crisis, despite it having some of the world’s largest oil reserves.

“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” is a 2003 documentary, which was filmed by an Irish crew, in the buildup to and during an attempted coup against Chavez in 2002.

It focuses on the role of the private media and the coverage of violent protests.

While it has been accused of pro-Chavez bias, the filmmakers’ close proximity to the unfolding events gives an uncomfortable view of the political schisms that threaten to tear Venezuela apart.