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.

 

127 thoughts on “This Is Lebanon: A Braindead Country

  1. Maybe you should lighten up and take pride in your country. “Omg look at all these losers trying to make the best out of their situations! How dare they!” Looks like you used all the big words you know to write this article, and make it seem smarter than it actually is. It’s actually a very superficial and cheap attempt to sound witty, and intelligent. In reality, this article and whoever wrote it are just as fake if not more than the photo album she’s whining about. Who has so much time to write a whole article about a facebook post? Who’s the real braindead one here? 😄

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      • How am I going to tell that it’s a guy who wrote it? How is that even relevant in any way? There it is! You’re trying to be smart again – and failing horribly. Don’t quit your day job buddy 😄

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          • What’s funny is instead of replying to my criticism of your article, what bothered you the most is that I didn’t read your name. Looks like you’re the typical Lebanese stereo-type. Sorry I didn’t waste my time to read your name and look at your photo, I didn’t even waste my time to read your whole article. Write something worth-while next time and maybe people will care to know who you are 😄 That seems to be the only thing you care about.

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        • i know this kinda late for this reply but your so blinded by what you want Lebanon to be that you can’t admit all of the above is true. Why would he take his time to write an article about a country he doesn’t give a shit about. In my opinion he cares about Lebanon and loves his country more than you do that its really a joke when you come to see that all of the above is actually true. In my opinion he wrote this article to sort of raise awareness that the best thing about Lebanon right now is the nightlife we have. I also think that you should leave the country at least for a day and see how everyone outside Lebanon is moving forward and we are still the same. I have been leaving the country and visiting for 15 years, every time I leave i learn something new, I see something i haven’t seen before, i grow a couple of inches taller, I meet and learn to accept a new culture and religion each year, then i come back to lebanon and just un-pause what i left a year ago and guess what? You have no idea the amount of love I have for this country, its gonna keep on growing but its a shame that i have to leave to learn something new because in lebanon I just share knowledge I have learnt abroad. You cannot ignore the fact that these negative aspects are true but you know what instead of giving him so much shit for what he shared and his article which is really not an opinion based article but FACTS, maybe you should take the time to think of each statement written above and make reason rather than only using your emotions. Otherwise, go be stuck up like the rest of the people in Lebanon that do not want to accept the negative aspects of the country, who think they love Lebanon more than others just because they do not criticize it. Its the truth and its real its not mean. You cannot deny any of this and if you think you love this country more than we do just because you don’t want to believe the obvious and take it as a complaint or someone bitching about Lebanon, then maybe you should really take a look around you and see, you are just like the rest of them, you deny change and get upset when people state obvious facts about the country. I love Lebanon, way too much to lie to myself that everything is okay without a president for two years, everything is okay because no one wants to accept the other’s petty differences, and that the silliest thing breaks out a war in Lebanon…when are we going to get over politics, and religion as major issues and accept that each person has different beliefs. I am not just complaining about Lebanon I love it too much to deny that all this is true. Don’t tell me I leave lebanon and complain about it while living abroad because I wish i could get the education i get abroad in Lebanon, I wish I could live so freely in Lebanon and just state my opinion without worrying about a gun being pointed at the back of my head. I cannot make a change on my own for a whole country that for all the 15 years I have spent living abroad, every time i had visited a new issue had come up. The only change I can make right now as I point out all the negatives, is raise awareness I am not willing to live another year worrying about everything I say or do. But I am not going to lie, we do have the best nightlife, it is really a beautiful country, and the people of Lebanon are loving and show a lot of love but we cannot just think of the fun and little things (i mean its nice that we have these things) we have to accept that we need to make a change and by change I mean a good change not a bad change. So be the change to want to see just like me I have already started you cannot necessarily see it because this is just a post. You don’t know who I am, you don’t know how I live. But i hope you now know that i care just as much as you but i am accepting it and you still haven’t.

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    • I beg to differ.
      I fully understand your point of view but the author is entitled to his as well.
      This being said, I agree with (most, not all) what the author wrote. Lebanese stopped “making the best out of their situation” a long long time ago. Now it’s just about surviving another day because if they think about how worse it can get they’ll have a nervous breakdown (just when every year we think we hit rock bottom, there’s more.)
      Also, you can say whatever you want about Lebanon (it is indeed a very beautiful country with very sociable people) you can’t deny the fact that we’re the hypocrites of hypocrites. That we’re no business people, we’re items because we can be bought and sold just as easily (usually with bribes, or a few compliments but other means are also possible). We’re so easily manipulable by religious speech (which is understandable given the psychological consequences due to the civil war and its aftermath). Let’s not forget what bothers me most about the Lebanese hypocrisy: we only pretend to “love” our country and miss it when we leave it, not to mention we respect foreign countries more than ours which in my eyes is the biggest treason.
      I also note we’re racist as hell, greedy as hell, fanatics as hell (among other things). And foremost, we think the world owes us something, we think we’re on top. And that my friend is very very dangerous. No one owes us anything and we let ourselves get this deep in the mess we’re in.
      I fled, yes I do mean fled Lebanon 3 years ago in order to finish college, grow up as a person and make a career for myself. I thought I’d miss it, I don’t. I never thought that coming back for vacation to visit the family would be such a burden. But honestly after I saw how organised, respectful, developed and just foreign countries are, namely France and Singapore, I’m ashamed of my origins.
      The author is not brain dead. You’re just holding on to an illusion because it keeps you going. But what’s the point of telling you that? Psych 101: a person will never hear something they’re not ready to hear. And you my good sir, are not ready to hear this.
      I wish you all the best.
      Joanne

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      • Maybe it’s people like you who have led the Lebanese people to be where they are today. Being ashamed of the place you are from doesn’t solve anything and only adds to the corruption that sadly exists in our country. One thing I have always wondered is that if you are someone who lives in a foreign country are so content in that nation, then why do you continue to involve yourself, even if only insocial media, with what is going on in Lebanon. I respect your opinion and the problems that you are addressing, but if it such a burden to come back to our country, and you seem to have no desire to be a part of this it, then maybe it is better if you do not add to the negativity of this post, and perhaps it is easier for people like yourself to not come back to Labanon if there is no necessary need. While some of things that are stated in the article to be myths may in fact be myths, there is nothing so wrong or offensive with the people of Lebanon feeling pride in these things, even if they themselves may know some of them to be myths. These common statements made by the Lebanese people show unity and, despite everything, hope that our nation will one day become what we know it can become.

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    • i know this kinda late for this reply but your so blinded by what you want Lebanon to be that you can’t admit all of the above is true. Why would he take his time to write an article about a country he doesn’t give a shit about. In my opinion he cares about Lebanon and loves his country more than you do that its really a joke when you come to see that all of the above is actually true. In my opinion he wrote this article to sort of raise awareness that the best thing about Lebanon right now is the nightlife we have. I also think that you should leave the country at least for a day and see how everyone outside Lebanon is moving forward and we are still the same. I have been leaving the country and visiting for 15 years, every time I leave i learn something new, I see something i haven’t seen before, i grow a couple of inches taller, I meet and learn to accept a new culture and religion each year, then i come back to lebanon and just un-pause what i left a year ago and guess what? You have no idea the amount of love I have for this country, its gonna keep on growing but its a shame that i have to leave to learn something new because in lebanon I just share knowledge I have learnt abroad. You cannot ignore the fact that these negative aspects are true but you know what instead of giving him so much shit for what he shared and his article which is really not an opinion based article but FACTS, maybe you should take the time to think of each statement written above and make reason rather than only using your emotions. Otherwise, go be stuck up like the rest of the people in Lebanon that do not want to accept the negative aspects of the country, who think they love Lebanon more than others just because they do not criticize it. Its the truth and its real its not mean. You cannot deny any of this and if you think you love this country more than we do just because you don’t want to believe the obvious and take it as a complaint or someone bitching about Lebanon, then maybe you should really take a look around you and see, you are just like the rest of them, you deny change and get upset when people state obvious facts about the country. I love Lebanon, way too much to lie to myself that everything is okay without a president for two years, everything is okay because no one wants to accept the other’s petty differences, and that the silliest thing breaks out a war in Lebanon…when are we going to get over politics, and religion as major issues and accept that each person has different beliefs. I am not just complaining about Lebanon I love it too much to deny that all this is true. Don’t tell me I leave lebanon and complain about it while living abroad because I wish i could get the education i get abroad in Lebanon, I wish I could live so freely in Lebanon and just state my opinion without worrying about a gun being pointed at the back of my head. I cannot make a change on my own for a whole country that for all the 15 years I have spent living abroad, every time i had visited a new issue had come up. The only change I can make right now as I point out all the negatives, is raise awareness I am not willing to live another year worrying about everything I say or do. But I am not going to lie, we do have the best nightlife, it is really a beautiful country, and the people of Lebanon are loving and show a lot of love but we cannot just think of the fun and little things (i mean its nice that we have these things) we have to accept that we need to make a change and by change I mean a good change not a bad change. So be the change to want to see just like me I have already started you cannot necessarily see it because this is just a post. You don’t know who I am, you don’t know how I live. But i hope you now know that i care just as much as you but i am accepting it and you still haven’t.

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  2. WOW, where did all that just come from? Give the man some slack for showcasing some of the more positive things about his country. Maybe I’m wrong but isn’t this your post https://stateofmind13.com/2016/02/01/thisislebanon-showing-the-beauty-of-the-country-we-come-from-trying-to-keep-it/ which also promotes the beauty of this outrageously unexplainable but magnificently unique country some of us call home? Maybe some of his facts weren’t accurate beyond a shadow of a doubt, maybe some of his pics were taken from google and maybe some of his descriptions weren’t up to your calibre, but hey, it was a post on Facebook, not an editorial in the New York Times. I think you analysed the post far to much. I think he was comparing the motherland to the common misconception that all Middle East Countries are the same. I frequently find myself promoting and encouraging foreigners to visit using the the same old worn out clichés; especially my all time favorite “you can ski and swim in the same day here”. No offense to the other Arab countries, I’ve visited most and each time, I come to love Lebanon more and more. That said, plenty of people live in those countries and call it home and love their country as much if not more than Mr. Medawar loves Lebanon. I personally shared the post because the emotions it evoked made me feel good. He could have done worse. He could have talked trash (no pun intended) about Lebanon like this guy https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10156419278260198&id=655915197 but what would that achieve? Does that raise awareness about the situation we are in? No country is perfect and Lebanon by far is not perfect but it is different and we should celebrate its uniqueness and its positive aspects while doing everything in our power to invoke the change needed to take this country from what it was to what it should be. Sadly we are a people that works hard to become a successful and productive member of society in every country we live in except where it matters…where we came from. I look forward to the day we can see beyond our petty differences, political and religious views and stop relying on our wastas and work with our fellow citizens to fulfill our dreams right here at home. Until then, be the change you want to see.

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  3. Hahaha you are amazing!!!! 🙂 Fashayteleh khel2eh big time (most of your posts do) finally someone who criticizes the obvious within this society!!! Whenever i post something critical (which are a lot lately but i cant help it) i get personal remarks as well but then again thats what pushes me harder to state facts my own sarcastic way!
    ps: by the way, bravo in answering the above comment…. i don’t know what to say… haha thumbs up!!

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  4. So much pessimism 😓😓😓

    At least this guy saw the %1 glass full and not the other %99 of emptiness.
    Besides yes Lebanon have issues but they are for the lebanese people to resolve not to complaint and nag the national community about it….

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  5. So I looked up the Byblos – Bible thing as soon as I read the facebook post, and from what I understand it seems to be (possibly) true. Yes “Bible” comes from the Greek word for papyrus, but the Greek work for papyrus (might) come from the name of Byblos, the main city where Greeks use to buy it from..

    But yeah, everytime I hear someone throw out the “you can go skiing and swimming in the same day” quote my eyes triple-backflip in their sockets.

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  6. This article is right on point, though unnecessarily harsh and bitter. As an expat I can confirm that the blank look on people’s faces when I mention Lebanon does bother me, and all the ignorance surrounding our country is frustrating. Nevertheless, I do sometimes feel relieved that people don’t know Lebanon, because if they don’t, it means they are unaware of how shamefully let down this country has been by its own people, and what a let down it has turned into. They don’t know that we have no pride and no balls, and that our patriotism has long ago gone down the drain.
    But it also saddens me that they know nothing of this once gorgeous (still mildly so) land, our joie-de-vivre that the writer seems be so bothered by and that has helped us overcome so much, and that when they ask me (and they have) if Lebanon is a desert and if we ride camels, they are not picturing glamorous Dubai, but barbaric tribes killing each other – and why not? We are indeed barbaric tribes in modern attire and a tragic tendency to deny our own identity, due to both inferiority and unjustified superiority complexes.
    So I do understand that some people would go to any length to embellish the image of Lebanon and to justify why they feel so superior to everyone else that they are so desperately trying to impress, out of frustration and shame, but also pride. So many mixed feelings towards this land, that even as I am writing this, I cannot separate between the good and the bad, or determine exactly which is which.
    Besides, as we say, “el deek 3a mazbelto siya7”. Our country is a dumpster run by a bunch of hens unable to cackle to the same rhythm.

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  7. Hey man I appreciate what you’re trying to do here. Listing all the drastic flaws of the Lebanese society. A huge wake up call I must say and completly legit.
    Others such as mr mdawar are trying to lo lift the image of Lebanon and I think that is completly legit too even in a twisted marketed way.
    What bothered me here was the lack of respect and your self-righteous condesending style in critisizing someone who obviously didn’t have any bad intention.
    This lack of communication ethics is also why we fail as a society or braindead.

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    • Yes I’m the reason you’re drowning in garbage, have not voted since 2009, don’t have a president, don’t have electricity or decent internet, have places with poverty more than 50% just to name a few.

      But it’s okay. It snows.

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      • There is one thing i can say to you dear sir:

        “feshaytelle khel2eh” with this article!!!

        and although I am not on facebook, I am trying every mean of communication I have to spread this message. Not in a hope to change the harsh reality (that would be too optimistic with them ignorants) but just to annoy them a little bit and force them out of their little bubbles. And the sad replies are a perfect example to that.

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  8. Pingback: Stop Hating On Lebanon | Blog Baladi

  9. I don’t get it ? You are taking all this time to analyze and in a negative way, a positive side of our Lebanese “image”, although it is far from being the perfect country to live in but it is ours, we endured alot during the years and we will always do, i guess this is the “curse” of Lebanon. But being superficial in you reply to Mr. Mdawar, who i don’t know of course, but had the chance to see his post and made me feel happy just to remember that we still have the high hopes even with all the suffering we are facing daily. Now let me tell you are in a simple analysis, you are a bored person, with a slogan “fuck the system, fuck the rules, i want a crazy life”, you need help man because you can hurt poeple, specially who have martyrs died deffending the “garbage” country that, i am sure, if any other country would give you a visa, you wont stay a minute, i wish you all the luck in any other country, we need to facilitate all the obstacles in front of you to make you have this visa, leave lebanon and its north to the rest of us.

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    • Leave the country to you? coz that seems to have worked out well…The problem is how happy the people are to being stepped on by politicians and their false promises which the people know are false..Curse?What curse? Maybe ignorance and stupidity of it’s people that allows u to endure the ‘greatness’ of Lebanon..It’s people like you that hinder the country’s development simply by being afraid to speak out about all the faults in the system..Do you think most of the European countries became what they are today by shutting up coz they were scared?! Sure live in this fantasy world you have created for yourself that life in Lebanon is A-Ok.

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  10. This article is the stupidest thing I’ve ever read. As a Lebanese that lives abroad , I can tell you that there are so many misconceptions about our BEAUTIFUL country , who yes might not be perfect and has lots of problems, but we still love it.
    We are told everyday, oh I don’t know where Lebanon is, or oh do I have a desert there and camels, we are treated by racist Americans as “camel riding towel heads”. So I applaud Tony Medawar for his message. He is pointing out the ignorance of many including some who now visit Dubai which has a fake ski slope and asks oh that must be also fake in Lebanon, you desert camel riding people. Yes that’s what we hear living abroad. I get asked my.nationality to be told after oh my God u have blue eyes and it beautiful not what I expected from a Lebanese! Then I’m told do u have to wear a niqab I’m your country? So how about you lighten up, and when he says Lebanon is 6000 years old, we all know what he means, so stop being a douchy smart ass.

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    • Cathy, you sound like a well-educated person, I’m going to present this in a format you’re surely familiar with, having gone to the best schools abroad your father could afford: as a series of questions.
      1) why do you care what other people think? Is marketing and pimping Lebanon and the Lebanese Lebanon’s most pressing need?
      2) do you know the proportion of non-Lebanese nationals who’ve read Tony’s FB post? Here’s a hint: I’m willing to bet more than 90% of this post’s readership is Lebanese. Which is normal, since most of its readers are part of Tony’s social circle and it’s not like the New York Times editors went: “STOP THE PRESS! WE WERE WRONG ABOUT THE LEBANESE! THEY DON’T RIDE CAMELS ACCORDING TO THIS GENIUS ON FACEBOOK!” Could this be yet another all-too-typical self-congratulatory Lebanese circle jerk? Assuming marketing Lebanon is Lebanon’s most pressing need, does Tony’s post accomplish this goal?
      3) may I ask why are you living abroad? Could it be because you actually think the country whose qualities you’ve been extolling is, in fact, shit and you deserve better? I can’t blame you, but I still think you should look up “irony” and “hypocrisy” in the dictionary and think hard about what this country could have been like if more people hadn’t buried their heads in the sand while it sunk and sunk and sunk. Would you have left? Would you be dealing with the ignorant people who can’t believe you’re Lebanese AND have blue eyes, or ask if you wear (perish the thought, how disgusting) a niqab? Maybe they’d be the ones visiting out of interest?
      4) The first step towards improving your condition is acknowledging how bad it is. Do you agree with this statement?

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  11. Well, at least I agree that we should not burry our heads in the sand, or say we love Lebanon and apply for immigration to Canada (I speak of a specific person). At least you are trying to look at things straight in the face Elie. Good for you!

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  12. So one person tries a positive spin and you and your negative shit take him down…
    You, and your kind of winers who don’t do a thing about it could very well be the main reason the country is in such a mess.
    I’ll take a positive post versus your hypocrisy any day.
    I bet you can’t wait for the news report tonight… Enjoy!
    Such a smartass…

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  13. I am reading the posts and I’m stupified. To everyone criticizing this for the love of your country, I hate to tell you but you misunderstood what love is. Let’s say Lebanon is your girlfriend, you guys are saying that taking pictures of your girlfriend, posting on Facebook with some wrong information (she’s a D cup:p) and bragging about her beauty really shows true love, while your girlfriend has a nervous breakdown (our country is suffering one of the worst environmental disasters with pollution rates reaching #2 worldwide in terms of countries for the past 6 months).
    Of course there is nothing wrong with bragging, but you need to ACT, help your girlfriend out. Bragging is not enough, show other people what’s wrong so they can help change things. Don’t be an Idiot. Go to the streets, demand ur rights. To all your fake cunning, and pride in ur origins, u fail to see that u are destroying change by making it look like everything is alright. It is not, and to those of you who think it is, u Sirs are idiots.

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    • I see what you’re saying Mario but instead of posting pictures of piled up trash, how about you post ideas on how to resolve the trash crisis. Obviously we can’t rely on our representatives in government and hopefully when the time comes you vote for the candidate that will provide change. If i had to choose a picture to show off Lebanon it would be bikini clad skiers over a pile of trash any day of the week. Insinuating a picture of trash will convince others to help is madness. I bet not one person critizing Medawar is actually doing anything to change the situation. Let’s take a vote, how many people started doing anything about the trash problem? And if you did, what was it so others can follow suit.

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  14. Great article.

    On a recent report on Gender Gap, Lebanon was ranked in the 10 worst countries in the world, down with Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan. Someone should shed some light on this. Gender equality is a real issue keeping us behind that’s not getting much attention.

    http://reports.weforum.org/global-gender-gap-report-2014/rankings/

    The methodology used weighed on labour and political participation as well as education. Turns out the Saudis have more women in parliament than Lebanon a smaller Gender wage gap.

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  15. Man at least back it up with facts instead of throwing opinion. Phoenicias most of it is what is called lebanon. Lebanon was mentioned in the bible whuch mean the countrys named was existent. Europa is not a myth she did exist and was married to a greek king. Phenician history exists whether u like it or not. And phoenicizns ancesters travelled as far as england and established settlements and those are facts as ruin if phoenician colonues exists. Byblos is the land where the bible took its name qnd its not driven from latin as phoenician language precede the latin and greek. So please spare us your crap we have enough shit on a daily base.
    If you wish to be a man and reply with facts ho ahead otherwise delete ur article of the internet.

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      • Habibe mdawwar el lebneniye 3eyzeen you3o mech 7ada ytabteblon la ydallon ghechyin. Its like ur left hand is broken and ur friend is like ‘‘be happy my friend you can still use the right one!’’. Basically 3am betdorr aktar men ma 3am tfid. Rouh nabesh 3a sowar men swissra farje as7abak ade 7elo lebnen

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    • Get your ignorant arab head out of your behind. Europa was a mythological phoenician princess in Greek mythology. In case you don’t know what mythology means; it’s a made up story in ancient times.

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      • Yes you’re correct; nevertheless, many places have been permanently named for entities in ancient mythology. Europe is likely named for Europa in the same way I believe one of Jupiter’s moons is as well.

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  16. You can be right about your sayin and maybe what is said in the post is somewhat stupid or populist and if you’ve asked a couple of years ago i would have agreed with you but i can tell from this article that you’ve never been outside lebanon. I happen to be leaving in a european country for a couple of years now and i can tell that they have stupid clichés and prejudices about lebanon as portrayed in mr tony’s post and even worse and i never knew how to respond, so please find us another way to deal with those stereotypes rather than treat lebanese people as braindead.

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  17. I am on the bright side of the 1%, and I am on the side of that 1% that smiles and is positive, and digs life out of nothing… The other 99% are surely on the garbage side and the negativism and maybe hatred (?? Do you hate me or hate yourself ?? ) … Still both are part of the same body… In the same one family you have those who build the roof out of the rubble of a destroyed home, and those brothers who have no roof, just sit and watch them and say: what for ? …This is where we can point out to the braindead ones in the family …

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  18. Dear Elie, I have always enjoyed your articles. thank you for writing so candidly. I wonder how a people can continue living under such conditions and say or do nothing. I applaud their courage but also weep for their lethargy. It seems as if we are addicted to a drug called “LEBANON”. The previous remarks are calls of help from a sinking ship. And we stay and do nothing…

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  19. The rest of the world laughs at you fools.

    No one wants to go there anymore. Even the few Lebanese with brains leave your country. What is beautiful your rich build on top of. Your buildings are crumbling. You don’t have 24 hour electricity. The world’s filth launders money through your banks. You let militias control you. You pretend to coexist but live in segregated neighborhoods and regions. Women are second class citizens. Blacks are virtual slaves. I’ve seen army patrolling the streets for religious holidays. You blame all your problems on Israel and the West instead of looking in the mirror.

    Your use of “freedom” is laughable. Sure, compared to the rest of the f’d up Mideast, you have some freedom, because practically everyone else in the world has more freedom than the Arab world.

    This post is spot on. If only more Lebanese would open their eyes.

    The only real freedom you have is freedom from a functionality. But by all means, keep making the world’s largest bowls of hummus.

    It’s a shame, because Lebanon COULD be a wonderful place.

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  20. Your pictures of Lebanon are beautiful but your message is wrong. Europa was a mythological Phoenician princess in Ancient Greek mythology and the Bible is not from Byblos (Jbeil) but from Latin and ultimately Greek word meaning “book” hence the French word “bibliotheque” or “bibliophile” I wanted to post this comment on your wall but since we’re not friends i could not.

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  21. Mr Fares,

    As an expat who lived and worked in Lebanon for four years there were aspects of the culture and people that I truly loved, and others that drove me nuts. Most of your criticisms of your country are accurate in my opinion, however your overall conclusion is rather silly.
    One aspect of Lebanon that got under my skin was the inability of many people to think self-critically of politicians or parties they themselves were affiliated with or part of. In short, “tribalism,” the belief that someone’s group is better than another group simply because they are part of that group. However, like many of your criticisms, which again I believe are valid, “tribalism” may be more poignant in Lebanon but are certainly is not an exclusive Lebanese phenomenon. Surely the country would benefit from its populace not reflexively supporting whichever politician they “grew up” with, ie that their parents or religious leaders supported. This is undoubtedly true. However, the same can be said about literally every other country on earth. The US, where I’m from, is certainly guilty of the same tribalistic thinking to an extent that rivals if not equals that of Lebanon. “Democrats will save us, Republicans are evil!” and “Republicans will save us, Democrats are evil” are sentiments most of the country agree with and are undoubtedly adding to the general misery of the population.
    That said, some of the most brilliant thinkers and those with the highest abilities for self-critical thought I’ve ever met (and I’ve lived in Europe and Africa for extended periods as well) are Lebanese. So were the most gifted community organizers, dedicated and skilled activists that I’ve met also Lebanese. So it’s more of a mixed bag than an absolute. Again, much like the rest of the world.
    The political stalemate in Lebanon and corruption in general are an immense problem, much agreed. Much of this, in my opinion, traces back to how the French set the country up to begin with, ie the sectarian nature of the constitution. Certainly this is up to the Lebanese to resolve, but I don’t think the entirety of the blame for the current situation can be laid at the feet of all Lebanese.
    People who work in tourism will promote tourism just like people who work in education will promote education. So I don’t think it should be surprising if Mr. Medawar waxes more glass-half-full than half-empty in his posts. And it is silly to use pictures of Spain or Japan while promoting Lebanon. However, some of your critiques of his post strike me as equally silly. When I told people in the US I was going to Lebanon, and then upon my return, I was repeatedly presented with many of the negative cliches Mr Medawar mentions. And not by slack-jawed yokels but otherwise very intelligent people. “Lebanon is a desert” — many times. “Lebanon is full of terrorists” — many times. “Why would you ever want to go there” — many, many, many freaking times. So yes, there exist a metric s**t-tonne of negative stereotypes about Lebanon and its people that are laughably inaccurate. It’s not silly that someone, a Lebanese moreover, might want to correct them.
    I am also a fan of etymology. From etymonline.com, an amalgamation of over 50 works of etymology: “Bible (n.) early 14c., from Anglo-Latin ‘biblia,’ Old French ‘bible’ (13c.) “the Bible,” also any large book generally, from Medieval and Late Latin ‘biblia’ “the Bible” (neuter plural interpreted as feminine singular), from phrase ‘biblia sacra’ “holy books,” a translation of Greek ta biblia to hagia “the holy books.” The Latin word is from Greek biblion “paper, scroll,” the ordinary word for “book,” originally a diminutive of byblos “Egyptian papyrus.”
    The Greek word perhaps is from Byblos, the name of the Phoenician port from which Egyptian papyrus was exported to Greece (modern Jebeil, in Lebanon; compare parchment). Or the place name might be from the Greek word, which then would be probably of Egyptian origin.”
    So the word Bible may very well come from Byblos, or it may not. There isn’t agreement among scholars yes or no.
    Also from etymonline.com: “Lebanon (n.) name of a nation in western Asia, from Semitic root l-b-n “white,” probably in reference to snow-capped peaks, or possibly to chalk or limestone cliffs. The Greek name of the island Lemnos is of Phoenician origin and from the same root.”
    So people have been referring to Lebanon as Lebanon for much, much longer than the 1920s.
    I agree with you that to change something for the better, one first has to identify what is to be changed. So there is absolutely nothing wrong with criticizing something or saying that it could be better. But to declare the country “braindead” is to do the mirror image of what you accuse Mr Medawar of doing. “It’s all great vs. it’s all crap”. You’re just cheering for the other team.
    Many of your criticisms of Lebanon are accurate. However they are hardly unique to Lebanon, these same criticisms you list I have experienced in many other places.
    On the whole, there are many things about Lebanon to take pride in: the natural beauty, the hospitality and friendliness of the people, the food, the language and more. There are also many things one should strive to change, as you have listed, and one certainly shouldn’t be idyll about it. But, for myself personally, Lebanon remains the most enjoyable and inspiring country I have ever been to. And yes, I once went snowboarding and swimming in the same day. And it was freaking awesome.

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    • Thank you Don for all this information and synthesis. Best constructive post. It’s about being realistic and true to our nature and our impact on our country. The beauty of this country and its people should be our drive and inspiration and the negative aspect should not be something to repress and ignore either. We are one troubled country, it’s tiring, dream crushing yet it has a charm to it; deep inside we all love it but we express it in different ways. Some brag, some criticize, some mezmerize, some take their space and love from far away, some feel numb, so decide to dream through the chaos…. And that’s understandable, each has experienced a different facet of Lebanon’s perplexing charm. We are different yet we love one country..and we have no choice but to accept the different “tribes” and the differences in perspective.

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    • Saying x is not such a bad thing because it’s also present in other countries doesn’t make it less of a subject of critics. On the opposite, it should be alarming and be brought to light. Tag is as Lebanese of as whatever but make it appear somewhere in a shameful way.

      Yes, groupthink is strong in Lebanon and in any human population and it’s quite funny to see how people fall into it. It’s when you notice social movements that you can start to truly enjoy life and free yourself.

      Lebanon is a beautiful country, like many others, but it has just more fools running around and ruining it (without anyone telling them it’s wrong).

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    • Dear Mr. Don Wiscacho,

      Sure, the country has its beautiful sites, fine gastronomy, kind souls and epic adventures …, like every other corner in the world. but there’s a love hate relationship between Lebanese and their county that is not always plain to the common visitor.
      When a native writes down his animosity and disgust to what this country has become, he’s expressing his one way love to a place that he grew up in playing, laughing and living delightful moments .. But that place never loved him back. He woke up to see piles of trash next to him home, thugs running free from jail because of political agendas, he couldn’t find himself a decent job, an affordable shelter, reasonable university, clean sidewalks, accessible and reliable public service, security, peace, fair wages, reasonable quality of life, a future for his offspring, electricity, sewage, public transport, running water, respect … this is Not the same problems as other places in the world, and I’ve been into fairly 3rd world places that seemed way better than this .

      All these problems translate to exotic and authentic for some compared to big large soulless cities in the world. But for us, it’s not! It’s draining to survive all this on a daily basis, without getting anywhere further in your life. Don’t we deserve better

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  22. For sure cannot be against some facts that you have noted , I live outside Lebanon and till that date I adore every piece of it no matter what , I still see it the best country on earth , whatever all the shit that we have and all the things that we endured , and I cannot see myself other than in Lebanon when I will retire or maybe before if God will , LEBANESE and PROUD and will stay like that , we can still Live , Fight ,Help and Dream for a better Lebanon ,by the way u need a little bit positivity, u see things very black if u can shift to Grey at least will be better

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  23. So what you’re saying is ‘Give up on your country, it’s dead, it’s glory days can’t be brought back’. Lol glad not everyone’s like you…

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  24. Pingback: Is hating a political system same as hating a country? Lebanon | Adonis Diaries

  25. What a disgrace.
    Even if it is true what’s the point of saying these things about your own country?
    Dont you think it only makes the problem worse?
    Im thinking there’s really no point in me writing you this comment, just like there was no point of putting your frustrations out this way, please rid us of your useless analysis and try to keep your negative comments to yourself while people are still trying to live in this country.

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    • We humans are not very good at introspection.
      Though it stings, having our inflated egos punctured every once in a while is healthy.

      This article does the job nicely (though I find the author’s tone a bit annoying). Elie, practice what you preach: follow up this post with another one about the garbage crisis and let’s try to get THE most important issue plaguing our country back on people’s minds.
      (Also, speaking of hypocrisy and self-indulgence: why bring up “gravitational waves”? What do they have to do with the message you’re trying to communicate? Who are you trying to impress?)

      The first step towards improving your condition is acknowledging how bad it is, ask any psychologist.

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  26. I happen to agree with both sides actually. I know where the modeling agency guy comes from, and believe me, people do ask such questions about Lebsnon and do think it’s a remote area. Most of the time I need to tell them we are in the Israel-Syria-Jordan area. It’s kind of offensive because we do have those things. So yes, they should stop asking us where is Lebanon.
    I agree with you because everything you wrote is correct, mainly the fact that the Lebanese do not want to hear anything bad about them or their country. They are in total denial and I feel it everytime I post criticism about the country. And being in denial has never solved and will never solve any issues. It’s sad.

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  27. This article describes the reality and adding to this that lots of Lebanese became so hang on on materialism that they can’t see beyond their nose.

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  28. Lebanon and lebanese people have a lot to be proud of. But be proud for the right reasons. There is a lot of nice pictures in Tony Medawars post, but the text is full of bullshit. No wonder some people are disliking this post. Who are he kicking down to when he talk about others riding camels. Whats wrong with that? What about donkeys? Does he want to hide them away also? Search the wikipedia and its easy to see there is camels in lebanon. Camels has been very important to arab culture for thousands of years, and arabs should be proud of it. Lebanon is not a free country by any standards. But the people are strugling very hard to become a free country. Be proud of that. 6000 years? What does he mean by that? Lebanon has been Lebanon since 1943. In ancient times libanon (as the landmass) was a part of the phoenician empire from 3200-883 BC. Is this Tonys reference? If so, his wrong only by 800 years, but I dont think this is his meaning. If he mean to say that Libanon has existed since the dawn of time (old-testament), its only stupid. When Christ made miracles, the ‘libanese-landmass’ where under Roman-rule. Does that mean the Italians should take credit for it? As he try to take credit for making of the first alphabet by phoenician-egypitians in Egypt? I think all the world know where Libanon is. It has been in the news for decades, so all generations should know where libanon is. But try to ask a lebanese where another country the same sice is, ex Nepal, I am sorry to say the majority dont know. In the old ages, middle east was the civilization cradle, the people there invented alot. But now, I am sorry to say the majority of people are ignorant and non educated. Thats because of a lot of things. Wars, no time or place for reading, informations goes from mouth to mouth rather that from books or internet. And the choose of syllabus in the schools depends of which school or which religion your parents is born in to. Its rotten politics that dictates everything. Thousends of lebanese liked and shared Tony Medawars post. Did they read or did they only look at the pictures? Maybee they are to proud to ask questions? But when all this is sayed, I love lebanon, but for other reasons, not because there from time to time is natural snow sloopes in the mountains or because its not a desert.

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  29. Pingback: This Is Lebanon: A Braindead Country – ISTICHARIA

  30. If a cup is half empty ( your cup ) you shouldn’t criticise it for beeing half empty . You should try to refill it . Think of it that way before emptying whatever’s left in the cup

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  31. Try to think about that son .
    You have a cup that is half empty . Intelligent people generally do not criticise the empty half of the cup . They seek to refill it . It is true that the cup is half empty maybe 0.75 empty . Well you shouldn’t wait for the cup to refill itself because scientifically it won’t . So stop beeing negative. It is true we are far far from beeing perfect . But help us and others to refill the cup . How ? Start by thinking before making stupid posts .

    With all due respect .

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  32. Great article, really, and it’s more than enough to prove that you’re not Lebanese ( or deserve to be) , so if the ” this is Lebanon ” is not worth it and you’re ashamed to carry its passport, you can use that passport for One Time Trip Only and spare us from your super intelligent LivingBrain and never look back to that shame place called Lebanon… If a bunch of idiots are ruling now, it doesn’t mean that your country is a total failure, it means only one thing: people like you with no loyalty or honor to the magnificent history of Lebanon should re-read carefully the history books again and again because all your information about it are wrong and not relevant. You needed some attention to state that you are “special” and different from other Lebanese people ? you got it man.

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  33. In his blog ‘A Separate State of Mind’ Elie provides the best analysis of current events in Lebanon. He speaks my mind, only in much more eloquent terms.

    I would love the day when Lebanese stop pretending they’re the masters of the universe, and actually do something to repair a country that has been going downhill for decades, yet never ceases to find new lows.

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  34. Pingback: Elie Fares: This Is Lebanon: A Braindead Country | Political Mann - US Politics News UK Political News India

  35. I think you should look at the people posting and sharing this picture with understanding and not disdain. They are probably aware of every single fact you just posted but would rather try to make living here more tolerable.

    Living in Lebanon takes a mental toll on you and gives you that special feeling of helplessness you get as you see your rightful land soiled and sacked by thugs. So you should try to understand where those people come from when they try to make themselves feel better in this pseudo-liberal dystopia. It’s a coping mechanism.

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