In July 2006, Israel attacked Lebanon.

Shortly afterwards, Belén Fernández and Amelia Opalinska, armed respectively with a reporter's notebook and a camera, stuck out their thumbs and headed off on a two-month hitchhiking tour of the devastated country to document what the Israelis could not destroy.

Coffee with Hezbollah recounts their journey through the strata of Lebanese religious and cultural sectors, a surreal mixture of tragedy and comedy replicated in text and photographs.

It is a hitchhiking trip like no other. Two young ladies - “an American and a Pole with a Green Card” - tour Lebanon’s postwar landscape, thumbs leading the way. Impromptu tour guides are found in passing motorists, ranging from Maronite shoppers to Shia militiamen to Druze hotel employees-slash-philosophers, with the Lebanese army and the United Nations force chipping in, as well.

Lebanon’s political geography proves as diverse as its physical, and each kilometer traveled adds another dimension to the complex web of national identity. With her uniquely satirical voice, Fernández uses the hitchhiking journey as a vehicle for often hilarious commentary on domestic, regional, and global politics, with great emphasis placed on US and Israeli contributions at various levels.

Spanning two and a half months and incorporating bits of Turkey, Syria, and Jordan, Coffee with Hezbollah is a new take on the age-old quest for knowledge and adventure.

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