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Christopher Hitchens’s Beirut brawl

It appears that FP contributor and public intellectual, Chrisopher Hitchens was involved in a “vicious street brawl with shoe-shopping thugs” while in Lebanon this past weekend, and it was not of the intellectual variety. While the writer is no stranger to public altercations, this time around Hitchens used fists, not brains to fend off attackers, ...

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WESTWOOD, CA - APRIL 25: Writers Mark Danner and Christopher Hitchens (L-R) sign copies of their books at the 9th Annual LA Times Festival of Books on April 25, 2004 at UCLA in Westwood, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

It appears that FP contributor and public intellectual, Chrisopher Hitchens was involved in a “vicious street brawl with shoe-shopping thugs” while in Lebanon this past weekend, and it was not of the intellectual variety.

While the writer is no stranger to public altercations, this time around Hitchens used fists, not brains to fend off attackers, even taking a punch through a taxi window.

It all started when Hitchens, accompanied by two other Western journalists who, after attending an event commemorating the assassination of Rafik Hariri, noticed a poster of the “Syrian Social Nationalist Party, a far-right group whose logo bears an uncanny resemblance to the Nazi swastika.”

Here’s his account as he told it to the Guardian:

I couldn’t tear it down but I got my marker out and wrote on it, effectively telling them to ‘fuck off’.”

Hitchens’ political statement was witnessed by a group of SSNP activists, who have a strong presence in Beirut. “With amazing speed, in broad daylight on this fashionable street, these guys appeared from nowhere, grabbed me by the collar and said: ‘You’re coming with us’. I said: ‘No I’m not’. They kept on coming. About six or seven at first with more on the way,” he said.

He described how he was knocked to the floor, ended up with his shirt covered with blood after he cut his arm in the fall, and “skinned” two fingers on one hand. Hitchens added that was walking with a limp for several days after. “They were after me because I was the one who had defaced the poster,” he said.

Golly, that’s hardcore.

Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

Rebecca Frankel is the executive editor of Foreign Policy’s print magazine. She is the author of War Dogs: Tales of Canine Heroism, History, and Love, a New York Times bestselling book about canines in combat. She has appeared as a guest on Conan, BBC World News, and the Diane Rehm Show, among others. In 2016, she adopted Dyngo, a military working dog who is now happily retired from his bomb-sniffing career in the Air Force. @becksfrankel

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