Page 8 - The Michigan Daily -Friday, July 27, 1984
LIFE GOES ON IN BEIRUT DESPITE FIGHTING
Park survives amidst turmoil
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) - The
soldiers carrying rifles don't draw a
second glance as they line up to ride the
bumper cars behind gleeful children
clutching balloons and cotton candy.
If asked, the fatigues-clad members
of the Lebanese army's Moslem 6th
Brigade grin self-consciously and say
they visit the rickety Beirut
amusement park for the same reason
the laughing families around them
come when the area is free of fighting:
to have fun and to forget.
TIME AND an occasional artillery
round have taken their toll on Luna
Park, but the creaking carnival on the
Mediterranean shore has offered a tiny
enclave of escape through nearly a
decade of civil war.
Built 20 years ago, Luna Park over-
flowed with visitors until the fighting
erupted in 1975, recalls owner Noured-
dine Alrifai, a beefy man with
bodyguards who also runs a profitable
ferry shuttle between Beirut and the
island of Cyprus.
A giant ferris wheel serves as center-
piece among the dozen rusting rides at
Luna Park, spinning like a colossal
pinwheel in the soft sea breeze.
WHEN DARKNESS falls, it beckons
as a fantasy in colored fairy lights, a
carefree memory of a once-sparkling
city now shrouded in violence and un-
The ferris wheel hasn't changed since
Maya Shadlue used to come to Luna
Park "all the time" when she was a lit-
tle girl growing up in the Lebanese
capital before it was torn by war.
Now, she brings daughters Rima, 4,
and Nouhad, 6, "every Sunday, when
it's not dangerous. Children need to
have fun, and this is the only place to
find it. Here, we feel we still have a life
to enjoy," she said.
TWO 6th Brigade soldiers wandering
among the hundreds of rambunctious
youngsters who flocked to the park on a
recent Moslem holiday weekend
claimed to be daily customers.
"We normally come everyday, just to
enjoy ourselves and watch the kids
having fun," said Hassan Fneash, an
28-year-old soldier with traditional
Arabic "worry beads" around his
Wagdieh Badr, sharing a bag of cany
with daughters Rima, 4, and Hikmar, 5,
also brings his family on quiet weeken-
"WHEN THERE is shelling in our
neighborhood, we go to the basement
and the girls are afraid," he said. "I
bring them here to forget wartime, to
play and forget the sound of explosion."
Luna Park sits in one of the safer
neighborhoods of mostly Moslem west
Beirut, but still comes under fire
sometimes, usually after it is closed at
Alrifai said he has spent 1 million
Lebanese pounds $166,700 repairing war
damage to Luna Park over the past
decade. No one has ever been killed or
wounded at the park, he added.
REPAIRS, FEWER visitors and
Alrifai's refusal to lay off any of his 40
employees - including five armed
security guards - mean the park is
operating at a loss, the owner said.
Ask him how much, and Alrifai
merely gestures expansively. But the
ferry service supports the struggling
amusement park, he added, "and even
if I had no boat, I would leave it open."
Alrifai said he enjoys looking out his
office window and "seeing children
happy during wartime. We want the
children to forget."
BUT REMINDERS of war
nonetheless find their way into this fan-
Soldiers from the 6th Brigade man a
sandbag post outside the park gate, just
a few steps from the vendors hawking
popcorn and sous, a drink made of
raisins and nuts.
Outside the park's House of Horrors,
three handbills plastered on the wall
depict a smiling young man extolled as
a "martyr" for a suicide bomb attack
against an Israeli patrol in southern
One of the most popular attractions is
a punching bag game, where youths
test their strength.
A wiry, 17-year-old named Ahmed
Mousa explained that he was building
up his muscles so he can someday
"become a fighter in the south and kill
all our enemies."
Regents approve new
campuses will be replaced with push
button telephones. The phone numbers
will stillibe five digits.
"WE HOPE the disruption will be
minimal," said Samuel Puice, director
of administrative systems and financial
analysis, adding that the installation of
the telephones will require a lot of
Eac phone will have several special
features - including call forwarding,
hold, call waiting, call transfer, and
conference calling. Each admin-
sitrative telephone will.have a message
waiting light that can be answered by a
secretary or an answering service.
Under the new network, an additional
55 telephones will be placed around
campus for emergency use. The
telephones will be full service units that
permit a call anywhere in the campus
THE NEW system will allow greater
voice and data transmision as well as
cheaper long-distance rates. The com-
puterized network will be able to chan-
nel a long-distance call along the
cheapest route depending on the
destination - whether through AT&T
or one of the other long-distance
telephone companies. The network will
also enable more effective use of the
MEC% % A
desktop personal computer and linking
them with other computers on campus.
The new equipment is expected to last 10
to 15 years while the wiring systems are
expected to last 25 years. The cost of the
new system will be recouped in about 10
years, according to Brinkerhoff._
TheFlint odDearborn campuses will
have the same capabilities as the Ann
Arbor campus, although the main
switching circuit will be located in Ann
Arbor. The three campuses will be
linked by microwave relay stations.
The University has also made
arrangements to provide the College of
Engineering with special equipment to
transmit computer graphic images
through the network.
The system will have a single large
switching unit, housed in the School of
Education Building, which will be
equipped to handle 30,000 telephone
lines. The University now has
approximately 26,000 telephones.
The University decided not to connect
the three campuses with a video.
microwave system because the
engineering college was the only user
and they are pursuing alternate
arrangements, according to
Showing velvet summer antlers, this young buck ignores a channel marker
and hoofs it across the mouth of the Charlotte River in Michigan's Upper
Peninsula toward the green pastures of Neebish Island, MI.
Reagan takes campaign to Dems' backyard
HOBOKEN, N.J. (AP) - President Reagan, battling
Walter Mondale from the South to the industrial Northeast,
said yesterday the race for the White House offers a choice
between a strong America and "a nation that begs on its
knees for kindness from tyranta."
With tough rhetoric and appeals to patriotism and family
values, Reagan wooed political support from southerners,
women, Italians, and blue-collar workers at rallies in Atlanta
and Elizabeth, N.J., and at a spaghetti supper at a
Catholic parish just a cab ride away from New York home of
Mondale's running mate, Geraldine Ferraro.
To offset Ferraro's appeal in a heavily Italian-American
neighborhood, Reagan enlisted hometown hero Frank
Sinatra to accompany him to Hoboken for a festival and
supper at St. Ann's Church, named after the patron saint of
Appealing for a second term in the White House, Reagan
told the Italian-American audience, "I have no reservations
about throwing my candidacy on the mercies of the good
people of St. Ann's church in Hoboken, N.J., and asking them
to give a kida chance."
The crowd cheered. As he left they chanted, "Four more
In Atlanta, Reagan slashed away at the Democrats and the
legacy of native son Jimmy Carter at a suburban shopping
Reagan painted the Democrats as the party of despair and
complained their "great dramatic rhetoric" has ignored his
achievements in correcting economic and Carter's foreign
Alluding to his career as an actor, he said: "In 1980, they
tried to make me 'Reagan the Barbarian.' This year, it looks
like the sequel is 'Reagan the Destroyer."'
Reagan strategists believe the election will be won or lost
in the South and industrial Northeast.