Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ode to Lebanon

When you take Israel out of the equation the most fascinating place in the Middle East has to be Lebanon. The history, the people, the culture, and their ongoing struggle to reach a consensus among the confessionals make it truly unique place and probably the most seductive people in the Middle East.

There is a real sense of joie de vivre which Lebanese people seem too imbue from birth regardless of their diverse religious and ethnic origins. Sure, sure, there are the grim ones like Nasrallah who couldn’t crack a joke to save his life but my experience - he is an anomaly among Lebanese. I remember being told a story from the civil war period, when Lebanese would greet each other on the streets of East Beirut with a “G-d bless, do you have enough bullets? Well, then let us get a drink, we will eat, and laugh a little and then we will fight” and thought it was an exaggeration until I saw that principle in action for myself. There is a kind of social graciousness which exists among the Lebanese, when they are not busy killing each other, which is not found anywhere else in the region.

I will admit I was greatly disappointed by outbreak of the second Israeli-Lebanese war, mostly for entirely selfish reasons - I wanted to see and experience Lebanon which was not all rack and ruin. While the 2006 hostilities are over per say, and the rebuilding process is once again underway, I take it no more than a pause between acts of war. War is coming and I don’t know when, but I do know - it is not over by a long shot. However, I do sincerely wish it were otherwise.

There is a reason why for my little Ode to Lebanon. I have acquired a regular reader from Beirut. This person never comments but does come regularly and I want to extend a personal invitation to contact me via email (thelastamazon- at – gmail – dot – com). I am extremely curious and want to know who you are and what you have found reading here at the Last Amazon which brings you back. If you are uncomfortable using your real identity adopt a nom de plume – I understand the precariousness of the times but outside of that; I would like to know who you are, how you think, how you found my blog and why you come to read - even if it only an exercise in rage or comedy.

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