This Is Lebanon: A Braindead Country

Over the past couple of days, the entirety of our Facebook timelines has been overtaken by an overzealous, self-indulgent, horrifyingly cheesy, overtly saccharine, grossly inaccurate and utterly comical display of Lebanese nationalistic pride manifesting in a guy who runs a model agency publishing a set of pictures dubbing them “This is Lebanon” to the backdrop of a few self-described facts about this country.

You can check out that post here. And this is a screenshot if you don’t want to expose yourself to the atrocity:

Tony Medawar THis is Lebanon

About 10,000 likes to that album later, and countless of shares of its content – both photographical and linguistic – one can officially dub this land braindead; not only are we self-indulgent enough to think we are the shit of the shits where anything can be shat, no. We are so entranced by our Lebanese-ness that we fail to see what’s staring us right in the eye: this is a country where 1% of the cup is full and the other 99% is emptier than space – a space that doesn’t even have gravitational waves – and where most of the population likes to look at the 1% because it gives them a peaceful state of mind.

Mr. Tony Medawar. I understand there’s a very big need for you to drive tourism in the country to get business and models to your agency. Work must be slow. You can blame the garbage piling up outside your window, or did you forget that to include that in your manifesto?

Before I tell you what Lebanon is, let me tell you what it is not.

No we are not a desert. 

No we’re not. But then again how is the randomness of having a country be on a piece of land be any sort of achievement? That’s like saying one should be proud that one had one’s parents. I mean, did you choose them? (I love you mom and dad. <3).

No we don’t ride camels like others.

Oh look at those barbaric Arabs. They ride camels. How horrifying. That’s such a disgusting and backward thing to do that they are definitely nowhere near as advanced as those who don’t ride camels. Like us. Except, you know, Dubai. It’s such a shame though, riding camels would have cut down on the traffic. Did you forget that was Lebanon too?

We have natural ski slopes.

So do most countries north of the equator. Europe says hi. North America too. Some people are freezing in the Arctic.

We are a free country.

Yes, you are a free country that hasn’t had an election since 2009, where you haven’t had a president in 2 years. Is the mark of freedom only that you can wear, drink and eat whatever you want? Is the mark of freedom only what is allowed to some people and forbidden from the absolute majority?

Lebanon is 6000 years old.

Dude. Read a history book. Lebanon was founded by the French and Patriarch Elias Howayek in September 1920. We are literally less than a hundred years old. Some of the patients on my geriatrics ward are older than my country. That is unless you don’t think the Beqaa, half of the North, Beirut and most of the South are part of the country and you want to go back to the days of the Motasarrifiyat, in which case Lebanon would still not be 6000 years old. Maybe you mean Phoenicia? But that wasn’t Lebanon and also had parts of Syria and Palestine. Maybe you mean planet Earth?

The Bible is named after Byblos.

Oh my god, yes. #TeamJesus. Except there’s a little thing called etymology to prove you wrong. You see, Byblos is greek in origin for Egyptian papyrus. The word bible is latin for biblia, which is to say they have nothing to do with each other.

Europe was named after a Phoenician princess.

There was no such thing as a Phoenician princess called Europa. It’s a legend. But then again, what are Lebanese but people who love to live in legends and ignore reality?

Jesus did his first miracle in Qana.

I fail to see how where Jesus did a miracle of turning water into wine 2000 years ago is something that speaks of the caliber of the land or people that live in that land today. But no one really knows where Jesus did that miracle. Scholars say it was in a town called Kafr Qana in Northern Palestine. A debate does not a fact make.

You are reading and commenting on this post because our ancestors created the alphabet.

The Phoenician alphabet is the first documented alphabet. But it did not exist out of the blue. Over the years, what the Phoenicians did was also changed into a whole lot of other languages that died, gave birth to other languages that got mixed with each other to give some of the languages we have today. Such as Arabic, Hebrew, Syriac. You know, semite languages. English is actually of a different origin.

Now let me tell you what Lebanon is.

This is Lebanon, the land turned into a dumpster because its people are so inept that they’d rather take humiliation than seek out change.

This is Lebanon, the land where pictures taken in Spain or Japan are shared widely as part of it, and try to tell people otherwise. *collects head off the floor.*

This is Lebanon, the land whose people don’t ride camels, yes, but ride the backs of foreigners they deem of lesser importance for anything that comes their way.

This is Lebanon, the land whose people are so stuck on the glories of days past, glories that only faintly existed to begin with, that they can’t even begin to think of a future for themselves.

This is Lebanon, where so many people live in their own fictive lala land they think their country is all night life, joie de vivre, Mar Mkhayel on Fridays and Rikkyz on Sundays.

This is Lebanon, where so many of its people have never been past the airport or past the Madfoun checkpoint and think there’s no such thing as poverty, unfairness, and horrifying living conditions in the land of the Cedars.

This is Lebanon, a country with one of the highest braindrains in the world. You’d think such a wonderful place would at least manage to keep its people put.

This is Lebanon, where a girl posing naked in a bikini at our slopes caused a national outrage.

This is Lebanon, the land where people think that criticizing posts like Tony Medawar’s is what’s wrong with the country but fail to see the actual perils behind self-indulgence in a land where next to nothing actually works.

This is Lebanon, the land whose people are so braindead they’d rather gloat in their own death than seek out the reality that tells them of their own demise.

 

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121 thoughts on “This Is Lebanon: A Braindead Country

  1. Lebanese ego does need a reality check from time to time, but your article here goes a little too far: this is a complete national self-bashing. And even though Mr. Medawar’s article may sound a bit cheesy, it does contain many true points (the Phoenician heritage, the alphabet, etc. …). While we’d better focus more on solving our immediate problems, a little ego boost will not do us any harm. So just chill 🙂

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  2. Hi! Although I do agree with everything in this post, I would like to rectify a point: bible comes from the greek biblos ( later biblia in latin), which means Papyrus. This name was given to Byblos by the Greeks because it controlled the trade of papyruses waaay before christianity. Also, Jbeil is probably the word Phoenicians gave to the city before Byblos. Definitely nothing to boast about anyway.

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  3. You are one ignorant buffoon and your type and leaning are screaming loudly. Almost all your points rebuffing the article are being. I will get to it when I have a minute, in the meantime, your blatant ignorance and complete disregard for an amazing history is repulsive. You are either half Lebanese and half we all know what(those who hate everything Lebanon stands for), or, you are an indoctrinated Hizb Kaoomee Sooree. Either way, and I usually hate name calling, either way, you’re s pig, i can sense your disgusting personality coming thrue the hate you hold for bearers of the alphabet. Scum bag. I’ll be coming back to this and replying point by point you filthy dog. I will NOT let your ignorance and hate diminish 6000 years of history, yes, ASSHOLE 6000 years of LEBANESE history, you dick.

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  4. The whole Middle East is chaos, Lebanon is in the middle of the storm and not on a different planet like you consider. However, despite anomalies you see everyday in Lebanon, it showed that it is much stronger and in much better shape than its surroundings. Positive thinking, raising up hopes, pleasant propagandas support morale of people, Lebanese people need that very badly nowadays. You as a physician should know that too, unless you also got your degree the way you think of Lebanon and Lebanese. I do not understand the difference between these pictures displayed from Japan and Spain and what is usually and actually happens in Lebanon from that sort, big deal, hate and hate and hate, why ? talking about Lebanese heritage, I do not know what references you Mr.historian went through, if you are originally lebanese which I doubt, you should know that history of Lebanon is written through the ancient world and authenticated by ancient historians and churches through facts, it is not written in that distorted manner as you think, or I should believe that you are a poor bad luck hater and not even a true physician.

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  5. There you go;
    So let me debunk point by point your argument against that article written by Medawar while at the same time faulting Medawar for using images from other nations There is an abundance of similar images in Lebanon so the Author should have done his research first and should have used images from Lebanon. Usage of other images reduced the otherwise awesome article. 1- Cheesy? not sure where you get this from, the usage of every single image in that article as well as the wording is exactly what should be said and it is said for a reason, while under different circumstances it would be considered cheesy, in this case scenario it highlights the ignorance in the world about everything Lebanon is, so the authors usage of it, is well placed for a well intended purpose. if anything, it highlights the ignorance in the world about what Lebanon is so much so that he had to go into small details to explain to them like little children what Lebanon is, your hateful rant, while obviously attempting to use “cool” American slang, failed to see the bigger purpose of his purposeful detailed description; To use proper American slang, you must live in America, otherwise, you’re just a small time wanna be trying hard to be cool but your hate and lack of real knowledge not the typical “propagated truths” is evident, or maybe you had a fight that day with your girlfriend or boyfriend maybe? Just to be clear, I am not trying to attack your sexuality, that’s no one’s business, I am just being cool like you and being honest in order to get to the root cause of your anger that day. 2- Brain dead? The only brain dead person I see here is you, with your vitriol filled with hate and contempt, while I understand you pointing out the bad and the ugly, there is absolutely nothing wrong with pointing the good as well. Name one nation on earth that does not have problems, many problems, including the united states and Canada and sometimes we have problems that Lebanon has, now do you see people of those nations viciously attacking their own nation? and yet you feel like you are entitled “by the same freedom you attack” to do so. NO WE ARE NOT A DESERT: He did not say it is an achievement, he is simply stating the truth, he is listing what Lebanon is vis a vis the neighborhood that is all deserts and YES it is a source of pride and differentiation, deal with it, maybe you are maybe not Lebanese and your parents come from the desert and hence this struck a nerve? It is crucial for all Lebanese to emphasize this fact to people and I find myself repeating constantly to people, yes, it is VERY important for each and every one of us to be an ambassador for tourism to Lebanon, deal with it. If your mom and dad are douchebags would be a very different story then if your mom and dad are stand up citizens who raise their kids to be proud of their our nation, so yes, I would be proud of my parents if they are good citizens and despite the fact that I did not choose them; You know what I mean? 3- Again you fail to see the nuances in his attempt at telling what Lebanon is, and NO THAT WAS NOT LEBANON. The Camels are usually a symbol of nomadic tribes, tribes that have no cities and civilizations, nomads create nothing, build nothing and invent nothing and hence, NO Lebanese do not ride camels and yes, it is a very important point to bring up because yet again, you get asked these questions constantly. Again, the question begs itself, do your parents come from a place where people still ride camels? you’re so very sensitive about the camels specially and the desert, maybe you Lebanon is your native country but not your parents? Not meant as an attack, I am simply asking. 4- Again, the ski slopes is only meant to highlight Lebanon vis a vis it’s environment, it is simply saying that Lebanon is different, it has beautiful nature contrary to his IMMEDIATE surroundings or contrary to its perceived image of being a desert. DEAL WITH IT. 5- First off, DON’T USE DUDE, it does not suit you, like I said, using American lingo requires a long arduous indoctrination of how and when to use, you are in the wrong place using it at the wrong moment, drop it, DON’T EVER USE DUDE AGAIN, you sound ignorant and fake, trust me, you do. And what does election have to do with a free country? Elections are influenced by others? BOOYAA you discovered a new fu””” planet, and so it is in every part of the world, It is named differently in other places, it is called LOBBY. Deal with it.6- You have a miopic mentality, you pick the news that you choose to adopt in your argument, Lebanon is about 5000 years old to be exact, not your short sighted view of Lebanon but the people that have been here for 5000 years, that built ships and sailed to trade with the world. If we follow your model, then not european country is older then what? a few hundred years? they were all warring states if I’m not wrong.

    There is such a thing called Europa and history has been written intentionally to hide the contributions of the Phoenicians to western civilizations, the victor writes history and hence, given that Carthage was defeated, the Romans wrote the history moving forward and they were known for their hatred of the Phoenicians and hence they wrote history with the intent of erasing Phoenician history much like later conquests of the Levant attempted to erase the brilliant history of the Phoenician and replace it with a somewhat tribal primitive so called civilization. Experts on the Phoenicians rave about their achievements and their way of governing including the Greeks who confessed that the Phoenician way of governing is better then the celebrated way of the Greeks because it is based on merit not inherited positions. The birth of western civilization started in Crete which is a port city built by the Phoenicians who intermarried with the Crete people to form the nucleus of western civilization. Europa was the first Phoenician princess in a wave of immigrants from the coast of Lebanon who made Crete their home, I won’t stress too much here, your ignorance of this fact is no big deal, I read many books of experts to know this fact. 6- Team Jesus and proud of it, how is that any of your business and how is that cause for criticism, your tone on this particular issue is repulsive, you are doing what every atheist asshole does, critisizing others for their beliefs, whether Team Jesus, Team Mohammad or Team David, how is that any of your god damn business or anyone elses? Medawar emphasizes this point simply to show there is diversity in Lebanon and while there are muslims there is also Christians. This strikes a chord because European and north American Christians have this vibe when they talk about it as if Jesus was born in Paris, I often remind them that Jesus was a jew from the Middle East and that Jesus had his first miracle in Lebanon. This point is merely to amplify the religious diversity in Lebanon nothing else. DEAL WITH IT.8- Last but not least, yes, there were many languages that were created before the Phoenician alphabet, but the LATIN one, which is the base for ALL Latin languages you know, such as French, English, etc etc WAS BASED ON PHOENICIAN ALPHABET. While you may be right in many of your “what os wrong with Lebanon” rant and I may completely agree with you on many if not and maybe even add some, I must close my answer by asking you a couple of questions, one, are you fully Lebanese are do you have Palestinian of Syrian parents? 2- Do you or your parnets belong to the Hizb Kaoomee soorree? nothing against any of these entities or countries, I am simply trying to understand the background of your thoughts.

    Reply
  6. You’re right. But unless you write posts like these with the intention to change things for the better, then your post is as useless as the “overzealous, self-indulgent, horrifyingly cheesy, overtly saccharine, grossly inaccurate and utterly comical display of Lebanese nationalistic pride”.

    You have a platform with many people subscribed and always reading your material. Don’t write to feel mighty and powerful, write you can make an impact.

    Reply
  7. Pingback: When Lebanon’s Trash Becomes International… But We Are Too Busy Kissing Saudi Arabia’s Ass | A Separate State of Mind | A Blog by Elie Fares

  8. Pingback: When Lebanon’s Trash Becomes International, But We Are Too Busy Kissing Saudi Arabia’s Ass | A Separate State of Mind | A Blog by Elie Fares

  9. one word for the haters . Keep yourself in denial and you’ll find yourself in a shittier situation in the next few years. The author of the article has a point, many many relevant points and he’s not just bashing the country and its people for fun, he’s frustrated of those who refuse to acknowledge what this country has become. He wants you to stop wearing your pinky sunglasses and see things as they Are Now. Yes. It’s a massive garbage bin with all kind of rubbish you can possibly think of! Human, intellectual, political, financial, social, ethical … this country is about to implode and all you are doing is criticizing a sincere author for his personal view of things
    For the author, ignore the haters and use your energy instead to think and write what you ever think of. Those who are personally criticizing you in a demeaning way, are themselves frustrated from all the above, but refuse to acknowledge. It’s always someone else’s mistake, not theirs. It’s always the Iranians, Russians, Syrians, USA, Saudi, Italians, and Martians … meddling into our affairs and making it shittier. It’s never US! Which goes to show that, this country and its tenants have never evolved from the Neanderthal age, come down from trees, and start using their brains to advance things and read their history wisely between the lines instead of killing the messenger? but brutes will always be brutes !

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  10. I think you make some valid points, but they are also very 1-dimensional in nature. I can understand why you might think/assume that the Lebanese people seem brain-dead or ignorant. However, I don’t think you’ve truly taken the time to fully consider or delve a little deeper into understanding perspectives you aggressively argue against. But in order to make a good argument, you must first at least try to first understand the many layers you may be arguing against.

    I would first like to point out that you did not really disprove any of the information shared by Tony. In fact…Your words are based much more on opinion than Tony’s, who, at the very least, shared some (not all) information that has empirical support from scholarly research. Also, you seem to have a skewed interpretation of Tony’s words, which largely is related to how you chose to define certain words. For instance, when he says Lebanon is “free,” you don’t seem very impressed that the Lebanese can practice any religion/wear whatever without getting their heads chopped off for it. Yet, if you compare Lebanon to many other middle eastern countries where girls still get their hands chopped off for showing an ankle, or people get shot in the head for differences in religion, you would be stupid to deny that it is truly a wonderful thing that Lebanon is much more tolerant in this regard. Why shouldn’t the Lebanese consider themselves free, when people in surrounding middle eastern countries are being killed for things they are free to do every day? Perhaps they are not “completely free,” but tell me, in what country does “complete” freedom truly exist? In fact, what constitutes freedom? What IS freedom, if not the ability to live at least safely for believing in what you believe?

    Furthermore, I think you fail to consider that the Lebanese are more than likely very well aware of how terrible the country’s situation has become over the years. In my opinion, it is precisely for this reason that perhaps many Lebanese people, like Tony Medawar, are trying hard to hold onto some semblance of beauty and pride about their country. While you interpret this man’s need to “showcase” some positive tidbits of Lebanon as ignorant/bigotry, I interpret his need as being intertwined with a sense of mourning and nostalgia for the Lebanon that once was, and perhaps will never be again.

    But then, let’s go ahead and say that maybe you did consider that the Lebanese are fully aware of the negatives. You seem to postulate that they are therefore idiots because they aren’t “doing” anything about it, and are instead choosing to “deny” or be “brain-dead” to it all. However, in doing so, you seem quick to ignore that much of the chaos that has been dragging Lebanon down is not really something the general Lebanese public has much control over, so I don’t think it is fair to say that they are not doing anything. Perhaps they feel the weight of helplessness; the weight of multiple failed attempts to bring their country out of the shadows. Perhaps they are just trying not to lose hope at this point, because they feel there may not be much else to do.

    Lastly, I think that in some ways, you imply that the Lebanese are at fault for the corruption of the country, and that they can somehow magically make it better. But if you’re as intelligent as you seem to think you are, you’d also acknowledge that the conflicts and turmoil in Lebanon are largely impacted by, and in many cases directly caused by, the conflicts and corruption from surrounding areas and countries that have spilled into (and continue to spill) into Lebanon. It is such a tiny country, and yet it is a place that many other groups have fled to (over many years, several times) because they were being killed in their own neighboring countries. Yes, you are correct about many of the sad, terrible, and shameful things that are happening in Lebanon right now. But I truly believe you are incorrect in thinking that the Lebanese people are ignorant to the fact that their home is being torn apart, regardless of how “brain-dead” they may seem. People grow numb to a pain that they can never seem to overcome. I believe that people like Tony are not being boastful, but rather, they are crying out to remember/hold onto the homeland they once knew, because they’ve realized it is a home they may be losing.

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  11. Boy this article stirred up a lot of emotions. I couldn’t read through all of the comments, but we can clearly see the split between ignorance and awareness! What is shocking is that this particular form of ignorance is by choice. A state of denial. Yes, Lebanon is Beautiful… and there is nothing wrong with loving it for its slopes, beaches and nightlife….but let us also not exaggerate, like Elie is saying in this article, get properly informed and let us not forget that we still need to address the issues that are important for Lebanon’s Real growth…

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  12. Elie Fares, you’re a liberal brainwashed person! You’re suggesting that Tony Medawar read a history book? Well, why don’t you read one! Europa is supposedly “Greek” mythology while in fact (if you did your research) it originated from Phoenician mythology, hence why Europa is a Phoenician princess from Tyre for crying out loud! Adonis was also initially a Phoenician god, (originally Adoni in Phoenician which means lord).

    Further, how dare you deny your own heritage! Yes, Lebanon is 6,000 years old — older in fact! (Even Bachir Gemayel mentioned this in one of his famous speeches.) Phoenicians have been calling their land LBN (Laban) meaning white in Phoenician (because of their all-year-round snow covered mountains). That word even appears in the Bible multiple times. If you actually knew a thing or two about your country, you’d know that Lebanon comes from that Phoenician word. Around 30% of Lebanese have Phoenician DNA. Just because only 30% of Lebanese have been identified to carry the Phoenician marker, that doesn’t mean that the other 70% don’t have Phoenician ancestry. I’ll assume you at least know the basics of genetics, so I won’t explain it to you. Therefore, Lebanon (Phoenicia, Canaan, whatever you want to call it) is thousands of years old.

    The Phoenicians from GBL (Gebal) invented the Alphabet. Every nation in the ancient world knew this. Byblos is the Greek word for papyrus, and they named this for Gebal because the city was known for it’s exportation of papyrus and because many Phoenician books were written there. The Phoenicians have contributed so much to human civilization, and it’s sad how the corrupt history books don’t show it. I suggest you visit the website Phoenicia.org for starters.

    Our country has been screwed up not because of it’s people, but because the of the already f*cked up problems in the Middle East. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you actually know why the Middle East has been plagued by all these wars and problems. Hint: it’s not Lebanon’s doing.

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  13. totally get what you’re saying – many Lebanese are psychotically self congratulatory

    BUT

    you’re also being a tad cynical. Too much of the baby has been thrown out with the bathwater.

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  14. HE IS RIGHT!!!!!!!! BUT U MR AMERICA U ARE WRONG!!!!! WE DONT RIDE CAMELS!!!! IN UR AGE U SAW A LEBANESE MAN RIDING A CAMEL NEVER!!!!!!!!! EVER IN YOUR DREAMS!!!!!!!!! U DONT WANT TO UNDERSTAND!!!! AND EVEEEEEEEEEEN IF THOSE IMAGES ARE IN SPAIN AND JAPAN THEY ARE SIMILAR TO LEBANON!!!!! JUST COME TO LEBANON AND EAT BULLSHIT!!!!!!!! AND WE ARE NOT ARABS!!!! NOT ARABS!!!!!!! BUT PHOENICIANS!!!!!! PHOENICIANS!!!!!!!!!! UNDERSTAND NOW!!!!!!!!!! WE ARE THE SOUTH EUROPE OF THE WORLD!!!!!!! NOT ARABS!!!!!!! AND THE PICTURE/ARTICLE TELLS IT ALL THE TRUTH,HONESTY AND REALITY!!!!!!!!! MY DICK ON AMERICAN PEOPLE!!!!!!!!

    Reply
      • You have to be sure of it and trust of it We are Lebanese People How do u want them and want us to quiet for them…they are telling all these rumors and lies to us…because they don’t know us properly…they think that Ohh Lebanon is in the Middle East between Syria and Israel not Palestine is just an Arab Dessert DIrty Country Yo the SHame on them………….

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  15. HE IS RIGHT!!!!!!!! BUT U MR AMERICA U ARE WRONG!!!!! WE DONT RIDE CAMELS!!!! IN UR AGE U SAW A LEBANESE MAN RIDING A CAMEL NEVER!!!!!!!!! EVER IN YOUR DREAMS!!!!!!!!! U DONT WANT TO UNDERSTAND!!!! AND EVEEEEEEEEEEN IF THOSE IMAGES ARE IN SPAIN AND JAPAN THEY ARE SIMILAR TO LEBANON!!!!! JUST COME TO LEBANON AND EAT BULLSHIT!!!!!!!! AND WE ARE NOT ARABS!!!! NOT ARABS!!!!!!! BUT PHOENICIANS!!!!!! PHOENICIANS!!!!!!!!!! UNDERSTAND NOW!!!!!!!!!! WE ARE THE SOUTH EUROPE OF THE WORLD!!!!!!! NOT ARABS!!!!!!! AND THE PICTURE/ARTICLE TELLS IT ALL THE TRUTH,HONESTY AND REALITY!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  16. LEBANON IS WRITTEN IN THE BIBLE HUNDERD TIMES,ITS A PROMISED LAND AND JESUS HAD WALKED IN LEBANON AND JORDAN GOT BAPTIZED IN JORDAN RIVER AND PLUS!!!! WE HAVE CASINO DU LIBAN LIKE LAS VEGAS AND BERUIT IS THE CALIFORNIA!!!!!!! OF THE MIDDLE EAST!!!!!!! AND MANY OTHER PLACES ARE LIKE U R IN EUROPE!!!!!!!!

    Reply

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