Amman, Jordan | Visiting King Hussein of Jordan

Mid-November 1977 The Royal Jordanian Airlines flight had touched down at Amman International Airport with as little fuss as possible. No hand-clapping nor a mad rush to vacate the aircraft. I passed through passport control without holding my breath. <feature photo Amman, Jordan by atlas tours.net Although it wasn’t a modern air terminal my baggage…

Beirut, Lebanon | As Raw as Steak Tartare

November 1977 I finished the secure voice radio installation at the ambassador’s residence at Mount Lebanon. George, the post security officer and purveyor of odd jobs at the American Embassy Beirut, had shown me a great view of the city below before we packed up and went to lunch. <Feature photo by oldbeirut.com My experiences…

Beirut, Lebanon | A View Through a Narrow Lens

November 1977 We arrived at the U.S. ambassador’s part time residence atop Mount Lebanon around ten a.m. unscathed. George had borrowed Ryan’s Saab sedan. He said it was less obtrusive that an embassy vehicle. I didn’t ask him what he thought about the ambassador cruising around in a black Lincoln Continental. I did ask George if…

American Embassy Beirut | A Night on the Town

November 1977 Communications & Records Officer Ryan B. cruised the deserted streets of Beirut at close to midnight. I thought I was pushing the envelope of Norm Bates’ 60/40 Hypothesis, which stated that 60% of our Foreign Service job was technical and 40% involved… Well, other stuff. Ryan had slipped an eight-track tape into the…

American Embassy Beirut | From Then Until Now

November 1977 George, the duty officer, had booked me into a small hotel less than two hundred yards down the street from the American embassy. Like its neighbors, the hotel had sustained damage during the civil war clashes last year. But nothing could compare to the ravaged Holiday Inn at the other end. The American…

American Embassy Beirut | Welcome to Heartbreak City

November 1977–Beirut, Lebanon I was surprised to learn that the Intercontinental Hotel was near the American Embassy in Beirut. I kept my mouth shut while the marines negotiated the streets in the Chevy Suburban. <Rescue worker aids wounded woman during Lebanese civil war in 1976 (apimages.com) When we arrived I was even more surprised that…

The Lebanese Civil War in Beirut | The Invisible Green Line

November 1977 I woke up early at the Phoenicia Intercontinental Hotel. Last night’s tense taxi ride from the airport to the hotel was a fractured nightmare. After the drama of the first checkpoint (where I suddenly feared for my life) the second checkpoint had waved us through. Needless to say I was relieved to arrive…

Beirut Arrival | A Matter of Security

Mid-November 1977 The Olympic Airlines flight landed at Beirut International Airport at close to ten p.m. The quiet on the tarmac soon gave way to chaos. <Feature photo by theimageworks.com Inside the terminal, passport control screamed of verbal abuses initiated by immigration officials who acted more like military. Weary passengers used physical gestures to support…