Letter from Beirut: The Party's Over

As the bombs fall, the nightlife capital of the Middle East grows desperate

When the electricity finally failed in my East Beirut neighborhood, I set up shop at a rooftop hotel bar and waited for the next Israeli bombs to fall. Almost immediately, the sky erupted with what sounded like antiaircraft fire but turned out to be red and green fireworks garishly flashing over the hot, dark city. The Shi'ite residents of Beirut's southern suburbs, pummeled all day by the Israeli assault, were celebrating Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah's declaration of war with Israel.

That's what passes for a party in Beirut these days. Monot Street, Beirut's main nightclub drag, is normally throbbing with oil-rich...

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