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February 19, 2009

What Happened With Hitchens

Lefty blogs have the details of this wrong.

I wasn't there. I was there, however, for the immediate after-action report, and have heard it told ten times by now, including most of it from Hitchens. Although I didn't really bother asking much, as I'd already heard it.

Hitch and two others were out on some or such errand. One guy was just telling Hitchens that the Syrian Nazi party had little support in the country but was paid by Syria to kill people, and that he'd been told they're the one party you don't fuck with.

So five minutes later they come across the poster for the Syrian Nazi Party on an abandoned bagel shop -- abandoned, if I had this right, after Hezballah had attacked it last year due to the overly Jewish connotations of bagelry.

So Hitchens immediately takes out a pen and writes "No, no, Fuck You" on the poster. I don't know if he'd digested the story and decided to fuck with them anyway, or else he was just reacting to the modified swastika on the poster.

Now, the Syrian Nazis are not popular and neighborhoods have tried to get their posters taken down. But then they threaten people and cause problems.

So the state leaves them up. To avoid getting their posters defaced or torn down, they post a paid Nazi watcher to keep an eye on their posters.

Well, when this Syrian Nazi goon saw Hitch do this, he confronted him and kinda-sorta attacked him. I say kinda sorta attacked, because what his main intent was was to delay Hitchens from leaving -- until the ten Nazi goons he had just texted on his cell phone could arrive.

There was some kicking and pulling and hitting. Hitch and the others attempted to get into a cab -- the Syrian Nazi goon got right in the cab with them, still hitting Hitchens. They could not force him out. Eventually they all exited, and attempted to get a fresh cab, but other cabbies were now hip to the fact the Syrian Nazis had been riled and wanted no business from them, so two cabs passed refusing their fare.

Now at this point the ten Nazi goons showed up (about five minutes into this-- they came quickly) and Hitch and the other two were probably going to get the crap beaten out of them, at best. However, they finally managed to get a cabbie who was either brave or didn't know the trouble he was getting into and got in, this time without the goon, and left the other ten behind.

Now, as far as the damage Hitch suffered, it wasn't much. He did get some lumps -- a knock on the leg, a scrape on the face. And also his writing hand had been stomped on. He'd been roughed up a bit, but didn't have "the shit beaten out of him." If I hadn't been told the story I wouldn't have known he'd been fucked with at all. Apart from a bit of pain walking and some more pain typing, he was fine.

So, that's the story. I was holding off on it until we were out of the country, but some rat we ran into apparently began blabbing it to his rat-like kin.

And to be honest, I'm personally kinda sick of hearing it myself, and it felt like gossip, but as the early reports are wrong in the details, I'll have a go.

It didn't happen in a bar. It happened mid-day on the street. It wasn't a drunken brawl. I have no idea if Hitchens had drank at all, but if he had, it was like his typical lunch-time bloody mary. (I'm not saying he didn't get drunk-- just not then.)

And no one had the shit beaten out of him. The lefty bloggers saying they've "confirmed" this are apparently talking to people not in a position to confirm it at all.


Re-Posted: I took this down but I see it's everywhere, including Forbes, so I guess I'm not protecting anything. I'm not confirming any other details though.

Update: I got it a bit wrong on how much Hitchens had been roughed up and the exact sequence here.

He had underplayed it, I guess. From another witness I got that he'd been roughed up more than he let on.

First of all, there weren't ten goons, but around six.

Second, the goon squad, and not just the look-out man, did in fact get to Hitchens. They knocked him down to the ground, kicked him while he was down, and stamped on his writing hand (which I'd known). I had thought they escaped the gang, but they didn't, not quite; they got roughed up by them before a cabbie got them away.

Oh, and the errand they were on: Well, they were on their way to a bar. But they hadn't gotten there yet. It was about, oh, 3 or so in the afternoon. We had downtime between events (which were scheduled around the clock pretty much) and I guess they just wanted to check out a local watering hole.

Here's what I know word-of-mouth about the Syrian Nazis: They're actual Nazis, first of all, having taken inspiration from Hitler and sporting a modified swastika on their posters and flags. They're a small party, I'm told. They had been banned years ago but are back, but not in force. There are about 300 of them (again, this is what I am told) and are more of a street-gang of bullyboys than an actual party. However, they have the backing of Syria, and they do, when called upon, murder people.



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