Reporters on the Job

Lebanese Fatalism : Correspondent Nicholas Blanford dropped by the home of Walid Jumblatt, one of the key Lebanese opposition figures (page 1), last Saturday. "He gave me, and a journalist from the French newspaper Le Figaro, a tour of his mansion. At one point, I asked him how he felt about his own security in the wake of the [Feb. 14] Rafik Hariri murder.

"He told me that 'I'm trusting God and my own instincts.' Then he told us that two weeks before Hariri's assassination, he and Hariri had been talking about the possibility of an attempt on their lives. It was a time of growing tension and they sensed that something was going to happen. Hariri said, 'It's going to be you or me.' Of course, we now know it was Hariri."

The tour of the house continued, and Nick got a clearer understanding of the roots of that fatalism. "We went into a room where there was a black-and-white photo of his father and two bodyguards. They were assassinated by the Syrians in 1977, he said, for opposing Syrian forces coming into Lebanon on the side of Christians. There was another photo of a guy with a bushy mustache. He said that was his grandfather, who was also assassinated. And there was a photo of one of Jumblatt's bodyguards, who was killed in a 1982 assassination attempt on Jumblatt," says Nick.

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Nick then remarked that "this entire room seems to commemorate the violent deaths in the Jumblatt family. And Jumblatt turned to me and said: "My father used to say, 'A Jumblatt never dies in his bed.' "

David Clark Scott
World editor

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