Clarissa's Middle East Diary: Wednesday, February 14

Photoessay: Clarissa's Travels

Wednesday, February 14, 11:30 a.m.

Lebanese people love a good rally. It doesn’t whether you are a man or a woman, young or old, the Lebanese love massing together, waving flags and chanting political slogans.

Journalists tend not to enjoy rallies as much. While the pictures are often great, you have to shout to be heard and there is the persistent fear that you are going to be crushed and your equipment will be ruined. As a woman, there is also the added nuisance of groping, which occurs regularly in large crowds. When you combine these factors with the probability that there will be no food, water or bathrooms, covering demonstrations is not something I normally look forward to.

Today I forgot to bring a banana. As a general rule I always bring bananas and water for sustenance. But today, wedged into Martyr’s Square in downtown Beirut with tens of thousands of people, I forgot. When I first realized that I had broken my cardinal rule, I had a moment of panic. Then the speeches started and more and more people continued to stream into the square, carrying pictures of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was assassinated two years ago today. They held banners that read, "Seriously, we miss you."

At 12:55, the moment when Hariri was killed, they held a moment of silence … the only sounds were the Muslim calls of prayer, mingled with ringing church bells. After the silence, people were cheering and praying, and a mass of blue balloons was released into the air. It gave me goosebumps ... and I realized that I didn’t feel hungry at all

Clarissa Ward is a reporter based out of Beirut, Lebanon. She has reported for the FOX News Channel from Beirut and Baghdad, covering stories such as Saddam's execution and the current unrest in Lebanon.