In Beirut, tensions between the factions involved in the Lebanese war paused on Sunday (1 July) when the race-course re-opened.
In Beirut, tensions between the factions involved in the Lebanese war paused on Sunday (1 July) when the race-course re-opened. Right wing Christians, leftist Moslems and Palestinians gathered to watch their favourite horses and jockeys compete for the first time in four years.
SYNOPSIS: The race-course is located near the "green line" which divides the eastern half of Beirut from the pre-dominantly Moslem half. The first week of races attracted thousands of enthusiasts to cheer on their favourites - most of whom had seen very little action since the closure of the course in 1975.
In the excitement of the race, all differences between the Lebanese spectators were put aside and all eyes were on the horses.
But as this Lebanese crowd turned to horse-racing, their Prime Minister, Selim Al-Hoss, meet Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Beirut. He called on Palestinian commandos not to take action in Lebanon that could be used by Israel as an excuse to attack it.
Though Beirut has been relatively calm recently Southern Lebanon was bombarded by Israeli gunners on Sunday and Monday. (1 & 2 July) A new government, pledging to help bring about national reconciliation in war-torn Lebanon will be formed by Dr. Hoss. His former cabinet resigned in mid-may (16 May).
But on this occasion (Sun. 1 July), politics were put aside as many people indulged in the spectator sport of kings.