On A Fucked Up Lebanese Reality

6-7-11.

The above numbers do not constitute my iPhone passcode. They are not random, arbitrary digits I chose to start a useless blog post that will have your head rolling: yet another nagging post by this guy? Meh.

6 is the number of civilians. 7 is the number of army men. 11 is the number of militia terrorists. These 24 people have all died in Tripoli over the past day, in the city’s heaviest clashes in many, many months. Not that you’d care. It’s understandable – deplorable, but understandable nonetheless. None of this goes hand in hand with Lebanese joie de vivre. What are we to tell the tourists?

It started when Lebanon’s army arrested Ahmad Miqati, a well known thug and terrorist, who also happens to be the henchman of a well-known Lebanese MP whose name roughly translates to “immortal going out.” Upon his arrest, Tripoli’s dormant cell of terrorists woke up from their deep slumber. How dare they?

Khaled Hoblos, a cleric at Haroun el Rashid mosque, then ignited their fury with a fiery Friday sermon. And the rest is undergoing present history.

The perfect summary for today

The perfect summary for today

As Tripoli’s people suffered in national silence, oblivious to the bullets and missiles, Achrafieh was having another field day. It’s funny how Achrafieh’s 2020 days always take place when something fucked up around Tripoli goes. Conspiracy, perhaps?

It does serve to show, however, exactly how divided and segregated and lala-landish some parts of Lebanon are. 80 kilometers away they may be, perhaps, but it’s an entirely different world out there. Kids playing, young adults trying to find that perfect instagram picture versus men carrying a body out of Nahr Abou Ali, taking pictures of the burned Tebbane souk as they hear bullets echo in the distance, in areas that those bullets had never visited before.

Ironically, this seems too familiar. Around the same time last year, after I had finished watching La Vie D’Adele at the European Film Festival and, while walking home, I looked at the parties taking place in Gemmayze and Mar Mkhayel. People were alive, proving whatever point they had to prove. Tripoli and the people I knew there were tucked away in corners of their houses, convincing themselves that the following day would be better, après l’éclipse le beau temps style.

Of course in times like these, everyone and their mother have an opinion. More often than not, that opinion stems from well-rooted political convictions that are, well, as worthy as garbage. But everyone’s got an opinion, right?

And, at times of national crises such as this, the least you’d expect people is to at least keep a united front facing the terrorism, horror and death. Well, guess again.

Exhibit A:

Tripoli - 1

Exhibit B:

Tripoli - 2

Such people’s logic wants to have a city of half a million people eradicated from the Lebanese scene just because they don’t agree with that city’s sect, politics. Of course, young as these people are, they probably got their ideas from their parents. Do you think blinded hate is a recessive or dominant trait? I’d go with the latter.

What’s sadder is that such a point of view is not a lone cry in the Lebanese wilderness. It is shared by many. The saddest part is that the people who have such ideas are the upcoming generation on whom everyone’s hope resides. I suppose you better find better foundations for that hope you have of a one-day prosperous Lebanese nation of understanding and love and intra-sectarian mating and whatnot.

Those people in question don’t know that there are people from that city they want burned who know exactly what’s wrong with their hometown and who are trying to change it, unlike useless hateful tweets:

By Mu'taz Salloum

By Mu’taz Salloum

People such as Mu’taz Salloum, who have no problem blaming everything and everyone for the situation in their city and their country, make me happy. Is it because I’m a natural-born downer?

The situation, however, is not Muslim-exclusive. Lebanese Christians have their own share of messed up stuff taking place, from extremism against the Syrians, to self-appointed guarding duties across Lebanese towns, to their sheer inability to govern amidst self-conviction that their existence in the country is the greatest thing since sliced bread. The people of Achrafieh at today’s event were probably having the following conversation with each other:

– T’as entendu qu’est ce qui se passe à Tghipoli?

– Tghipoli? C’est quoi ça?

– Ben, j’en sais pas. Je crois qu’ils ont quelque chose qui s’appelle Daesh.

– Daesh? C’est bien demodé chez eux. La vie est jolie chez nous à Ach.

The Lebanese South, prior to its liberation in 2000, was not as disassociated from Lebanon as Tripoli and effectively much of the North and Northern Beqaa are. If that’s not saying something, I don’t know what could.

This is beautiful <3

This is beautiful ❤

However, ladies and gentlemen, things are not all bleak. There is news to brighten your day, news that will make all of the above disappear. Or at least that was the case for some people to pretend that we have the Paris of the Middle East again, Switzerland of the East, *insert some other possible cliche about Lebanon here.*

It’s that time of the year again. No, not Christmas. According to Siri, that’s in sixty days. It’s time for Conde Naste to publish their yearly list of the world’s best cities according to that magazine’s touristy readers. Drumroll please *drrrrrr.* For the third year in a row, Beirut has found itself a nice little spot on that list. Not only that, but Beirut has made great advances in ranks, up from number 20 last year, based on the voting of the tourists that read that magazine and have visited Beirut recently, which amounts to how many people exactly?

Beirut beat Sydney, and Paris, and Vienna, and *insert other eye-grabbing capital that makes Beirut’s feat all the more impressive.* Our very own capital. Can you believe it? The little city that could, with all its characteristic buildings, well-kept roads, clean sidewalks, enriching cultural life and activities, diverse touristic options within its boundaries, the insane amount of tourists and its charm that is overflowing.

What’s the mark of greatness in a city that’s destroying its own heritage, has little to no respect to its people and is making sure it becomes what it believes everyone wants: another Dubai, effectively losing everything that made it, once upon a time, charming?

Between people dying, people wanting those dying to be eradicated from existence, people who have no idea the former two categories exist and people who have massive orgasms every time a Western publication mentions Lebanon somehow, the Lebanese situation is utterly, devastatingly and surely, beyond measures, fucked.

BUT YOU GUYS BEIRUT IS THE WORLD’S #14 CITY. TAKE THAT PARIS. (Paris <3).

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5 thoughts on “On A Fucked Up Lebanese Reality

  1. All you have wrote is very relevant, except for the part where you imagine the conversations people in Ashrafieh 2020’s event had. I am convinced that Tripoli has a great, great potential, and can become the cultural and intellectual bastion of the Arab world, and it is the most beautiful city in Lebanon.
    But why are you attacking Ashrafieh residents who were enjoying a nice sunday during this event? Are they supposed, because Tripoli is suffering, to stay in their homes and not be happy? No they are not supposed to, because everyone else in Lebanon, including tripoli residents, never actually cared how messed up the situation might be 10 km away from them while planning their entertainments. They are many restaurants in Miten quarter in Tripoli drawing crowds of tripoli residents every night, and while their activity is praised as a”resistance to violence”, the very same activity in Ashrafieh is dismissed as “isolationist behavior”. In all Lebanon, people just want to live, think and act freely. Unconsciously or not, they are all resisting to barbarism.
    Plus, don’t fall in generalization; this Kassem Chahrour guy is representing only his opinions, not those of half the lebanese people, just as the extremist speeches said in Tripoli are not representing the opinions of 500000 people. Lebanese Christians, and Ahl el Achrafieh are the strongest supporters of Tripoli’s development, they are not snobby people despising everything not from Ashrafieh.
    Unfortunately, when comparing Tripoli street life and Ashrafieh street life, you can’t say there isn’t a huge gap between the two.
    Achrafieh 2020 is a Nadim Gemayel presided association. Which means its activities aims ‘in fine’ to encourage people to vote for him during the following elections. Which is why, apart from organizing punctual pedestrian events on Sundays in Achrafieh, they are undergoing no serious projects for “a greener Beirut and Achrafieh for the future, with less cars and more pedestrians and trees etc.”. Which is why today’s event was sponsored by Sama Beirut (which is a tall, luxurious 54 stories building rising where there used to be two old Lebanese houses, and from which recently fell a concrete block from the 54th floor to the sodeco street, in broad daylight, fortunately making no injuries, and which construction contributed to the exponential raise of prices in Achrafieh).
    But, while gaining voices in Achrafieh can be made through car-free days, in Tripoli it is made through enrollment in militias or financial help(it is less prominent in Achrafieh). What makes the difference between christians and muslims in Lebanon is education. When the french, american, russian, german, international christian missionaries came and established their schools in Lebanon, way more christians than muslims sent their children to learn in these schools, which gave excellent education and helped lebanese open their minds and finally, had the decisive role in allowing us to gain our independence from the Turks and become the intellectual tribune of the Arab world. Muslims preferred to send their children in bad ottoman-supported muslim schools, which gave poor education, ensuring that lebanese people stay dependent of the ottoman system (like the Sanayeh Ottoman school). Therefore,until today, there is more education in christian than in muslim communities. That is why lebanese christians are freer than syrian or iraqi christians. And its thanks to education that lebanese muslims are freer than syrian muslims or any middle east muslims. That is why lebanese christians were on the front line in the Arab insurrection against the Turks and in the Palestinian struggle against Israelis (there was a Lebanese Greek-orthodox between those who planned the attack on the israelian athletes in Munich, and Georges Habache went to the AUB). So let’s stop saying that Lebanese Christians are isolationist. No one more than they cares about Lebanon and the Arab world’s real problems.

    Aussi,pourquoi se moquer du fait que le francais est très courant à Achrafieh? Est-ce une marque d’isolationisme? L’anglais que vous pratiquez est beaucoup moins répandu au Liban que le français, et c’est la langue de l’impérialisme par excellence. Il est beaucoup plus snob et élitiste de parler anglais que français ou arabe.

    Reply
  2. We’re beyond fucked mate, I can’t even start to explain my experience of being a resident in tripoli since birth, It’s beyond horrible, in every little tiny detail, thank fucking lord for beirut… Gladly that’s where I’ve been going for years now; Anyway, regarding what you wrote, Bravo, Chappeaux on the humor as well, but please comprehend something, regardless of how truly ” Unique ” lebanon is, It’s full of backstabbing, disgusting and insanely stupid and shallow people, from the ” OMG INSTAGRAM ” to the ” LESH MENAK SAYIM WLE 3ARS? ”

    For example, of my stories go way back when i was physically threatened by a Sheikh and his fucking minions because I was smoking a cigarette, peacefully, alone on the street as I was waiting for a friend, It’s not about not respecting the customs or anything, it’s about the idea to what extent they can take their bullshit and shove it down our throats… if anything? Tripoli made me an all-out misanthrope, I’m no angel, I have my fare share of bad things I’ve done in my life, but they are nowhere near the shit I used to see on a daily basis in my childhood when i used to frequently hang-out in tripoli.

    Plus 0% Aphex Twin fans in tripoli, that only means it requires to be completely eradicated and annihilated from the face of the earth. nah, just joking, but the ” Hammi Fernik Ya Emm 7sein ” and the ” Miley/Justin/whatfuckingever ” ignorance bullshit is also to be taken as a part of an epidemic in this city, aswell…

    Ahh the smell of gun powder and bomb residue as I’m writing this.. the debris is beyond man..
    Thank fucking whatever the fuck coexists within our universe that I’m leaving this piece of shit country very soon.

    Reply
    • You’re a fucking idiot. i hope you are aware of that. god forbid you don’t find fans of the same music. You sound like a self entitled spoiled little twat very common to those lwho live in Beirut.

      Reply

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