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Carter Center Blogs - Deborah Hakes Blogs From 2009 Lebanon Elections

2009 Lebanon Parliamentary Elections - Deborah Hakes Blogs
From Carter Center Election Observation Mission

June 10, 2009

For the past week and a half (and for weeks before I arrived), the Carter Center office for the elections was a scene of constant intense activity at all hours of a day. Now the field staff has returned to their regular office outside the hotel, and Atlanta-based staff are flying home or to another field project.
Photo credit: Carter Center/D. Hakes
The Carter Center election observation delegation.

Our long-term observers will briefly redeploy to monitor post-election processes, and all the while the Center is completing its final statement on Lebanon's elections.

Tomorrow I leave for Israel and the Palestinian territories to cover the Carter Center's work. President Carter and senior staff already have continued on to Syria and then will come there as well to promote constructive dialogue on the Israeli-Arab conflict.

There was a special moment this afternoon that reminded me of the uniqueness and diversity of Lebanon. After the Carters had left and everyone else had dispersed for the day, I traveled to nearby Byblos with a couple of Lebanese friends.

Byblos is one of the oldest cities in the world, and according to our guide, 17 civilizations have continually inhabited the place for 6,000 years. As we walked out of an old fort built by the Crusaders and later taken over by the Ottomans, flanked by Roman and other ruins to the left and right, and the buildings of current Byblos ahead on the hills, the Muslim call to prayer started playing from the mosque in front of us – beautiful.

My friends, both refugees during the civil war here like many others were, told me that the Lebanese are survivors. The elections are done and they were peaceful, and now they can move on and hope for change.

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Deborah Hakes blogged daily June 3-10 from the Lebanon elections.