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.
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.
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:
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.
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).