If you felt that the NY Times is writing way too many articles about Beirut lately, you’re not mistaken.
A new article which appeared online yesterday talks about a resurgent Beirut, becoming a haven for the whole region. The point of the article is to show Beirut as a safety zone for the Arabs of the region, escaping the woes of their own country.
Of course, the backdrop of this safety zone is a cosmopolitan city that’s reborn where women strut on yachts in heels and Louis Vitton bags – I’m not kidding, this is how the article starts.
Sure, Beirut is among the safest cities in the Middle East today. But does talking about the safety of Beirut necessitate briefly taking about the fragile political status quo of the country and focusing more on the importance of Zaitunay Bay and Cafe Younes in harboring those seeking shelter?
In a way, I think the article is too superficial, making the city look, from the perspective of Arabs this time, as a place where they can escape the torment of their regimes and the situation of their countries by sunbathing and going shopping and laughing about the situation where they’re form.
Call me critical but I think a Syrian spending her time in Zaitunay Bay and an Egyptian taking a break from the political suspense of her country are not representative of the people in their corresponding countries, most of whom cannot afford to call Beirut a haven. Perhaps if the NY Times had bothered extending its scope from the few rich Syrians enjoying la dolce vita in Beirut, ignoring whatever’s happening in their country, they’d look at the thousands in refugee camps in the North, afraid to go back to their country and not exactly sunbathing on a boardwalk?
I love that Beirut is a safe city. I love that we’ve been in a state of peace for more than 4 years now, with very minor hiccups along the way. But this very narrow journalism and drawing conclusions based on very limited observations isn’t the best way to showcase Beirut.
I guess it’s what people like. Either way, we are sure proud of our little safe haven here.