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.