(My Middle East)

77 days with a journalist, Lebanon, and a list of non sequiturs

Posts Tagged ‘confesionalism

So much to ignore

with 4 comments

It’s easy to get distracted by whats flashy in Beirut, the fast expensive cars, the attractive women, the French and English speaking ‘cosmopolitans’. More than that, its easy to surround yourself in it, in whats familiar and appealing. I found myself doing it on the first days I was here. I would associate with friends in the city and friends of friends, who were mostly English speaking and affluent, I rarely used Arabic.

With so many different types of people crammed into such a small space, I figured it would be impossible to isolate yourself to whats going on next to you. But it seems as if, thats part of ‘the problem*’, how easy it is to tune out the different ethnicities, languages, and social classes. In Nicholas Blandford’s book Killing Mr Lebanon (which I highly recommend for trying to understand the current political situation in Lebanon) he quotes a Lebanese official on how it was Rafik Hariri’s death and accompanying political rally that brought people to the streets out of all areas of Beirut ,even the French speaking Achrafieh. If it takes the death of one of, if not the largest players in Lebanon to get people to cross the street, think of the social misunderstanding and miscommunication that can occur on a regular basis. I feel if I write more I will make some absurd platitude with no basis, so I will stop there for now.

On the subject of conflict, on a walking tour with an AUB medical school student Ranni, I spoke with him about the nature of the divided city and what the fault lines are in the city. He seems to think it is now as much a social class disparity rather just specifically a religious one, which seems to mesh with what I’m reading.How that plays with the March 14 Sunni, Druze, Christian Alliance and the March 8th Shiite Christian alliance I’m still figuring out.

Until next time

*and by the problem, I don’t mean I’m here as an emissary of righteousnesses, looking to diagnose and heal this state in my two months here. This is just the musings of a journalist trying to understand … and looking for a job.

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Written by stephenddockery

May 24, 2009 at 7:32 pm