Wimpy Operation

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Coordinates: 33°53′43.6″N 35°29′1.3″E / 33.895444°N 35.483694°E / 33.895444; 35.483694

Poster commemorating Khaled Alwan. Main text reads 'The hero of the Wimpy Operation – Martyred Comrade Khaled Alwan'

The Wimpy Operation (Arabic: عملية الويمبي‎) was an attack on Israeli soldiers in Hamra, a neighbourhood of the western parts of the Lebanese capital Beirut on September 24, 1982.[1][2] The Wimpy Operation has a strong symbolic significance, as it marked the start of resistance actions against Israeli forces in Beirut.[1][3][4]

The attack

Located on Hamra Street, the Wimpy Cafe was an established gathering point for the cosmopolitan intelligentsia of Beirut.[2][5]

In the afternoon on September 24, 1982 Khaled Alwan, a 19-year-old member of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) walked up along the sidewalk. Reaching the Wimpy Cafe, he opened fired on Israeli soldiers at Wimpy.[1][2][6][7][8] He killed an Israeli officer with his pistol and injured two Israeli soldiers accompanying the officer (one injured in the chest, the other in the neck).[7][8] After the shooting, Alwan walked home calmly.[3] Popular legend has it that Alwan had been upset with seeing the Israeli officer insisting to pay his bill at Wimpy with shekels.[3]

The Lebanese National Resistance Front claimed responsibility for the operation.[7]

Aftermath

The Wimpy Operations prompted other residents of the city to engage in confrontations with the Israeli troops. Such acts continued until the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the capital.[6][8]

Legacy

The SSNP commemorates the Wimpy Operation annually.[6] In 2000, the site of the attack was renamed "Place Khaled Alwan" by the municipality of Beirut, in honour of his contributions to the resistance.[1][6] In 2003 Alwan, who was killed in an ambush in 1984, was awarded the Lebanese Order of Merit posthumously.[1] Writing on the political dimensions of resistance memorials, Franck Mermier notes that members of the Lebanese Communist Party claimed that Alwan had been aided in the Wimpy Operation by two persons; another SSNP member and a Communist Party member named Charbel Abboud. According to Mermier, this claim does not appear in the official SSNP narratives regarding the operation.[1]

In Memory and Conflict in Lebanon, Craig Larkin argues that the "[t]he mythical power of this act" enabled a narrative which helped subsume memories of intra-Lebanese violence in the Civil War in favour of a "more pressing narrative of Israeli aggression and violence".[3]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f Mermier, Franck. Commémorer la résistance à Beyrouth ouest, published in Franck Mermier and Christophe Varin (ed.), Memoirs of wars in Lebanon (1975–1990), Arles, Sindbad / Actes Sud / Ifpo, 2010, p. 185-204
  2. ^ a b c Daily Star. Wimpy reopens in heart of Hamra’s café society
  3. ^ a b c d Craig Larkin (15 March 2012). Memory and Conflict in Lebanon: Remembering and Forgetting the Past. Routledge. p. 126. ISBN 978-1-136-49061-3. 
  4. ^ Al-Akhbar. ذكرى عملية الويمبي
  5. ^ Aseel Sawalha (1 May 2010). Reconstructing Beirut: Memory and Space in a Postwar Arab City. University of Texas Press. p. 93. ISBN 978-0-292-77483-4. 
  6. ^ a b c d Daily Star. Alwan’s one-man war remembered
  7. ^ a b c Near East/South Asia Report (84165 ed.). Foreign Broadcast Information Service. 1984. p. 35. 
  8. ^ a b c بزي، يوسف محمد،; طعمه، كريستين; سلطي، رشا (2005). نظر الي ياسر عرفات وابتسم :: يوميات مقاتل /. الجمعية اللبنانية للفنون التشكيلية، أشكال ألوان،. p. 29. ISBN 978-9953-0-0540-9. 
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