Adonis Diaries

Testimonials 30 years after a civil war: Changes in Tripoli (continue)

Posted on: October 22, 2008

The issue of the daily Al Balad, May 13, 2005

Before the war, Tripoli was a busy sea port city with the casino Bohemia in the area of Jemizat and the Lido in Tal Square.  Nowadays, the citizen of Tripoli, especially the youth, have to drive to neighboring Christian villages and towns in order to drink alcohol, dance and have a good time. They have to drive to Zgarta, Ehden, Dahr Ain, and Betrun to pay visits to night clubs and bars.

The Islamists still have enough influence to prohibit alcohol consumption through various pressures including bombing any store suspected of selling booze. Many subsidiaries in different regions of Lebanon could offer alcoholic drinks but they refrain from that practice in Tripoli proper.

Many inhabitants who drink outside the city exhibit conservative stands within the city limits. Those who feel like drinking do it within their closed cars with their friends. Two parliamentary deputies supported the opening of a fancy night club in the main avenue of Riad Solh but failed to implement it. The main objection to any openness is the traditional stock phrase: “Tripoli has its proper character and it is advisable to leave the city alone”.

Tripoli did not enjoy the largess of government expenditures even though Rashid Karame was the Prime Minister who stayed the longer time as head of various governments.

The main souk in Bab Tebaneh is the most overcrowded in the country and within a residential district. The souk is practically opened 24 hours and the security forces are non existent to control the order and safety of the resident inhabitants. Residents are not able to enjoy any quietness and repose except during official holidays. There were many promises to relocate the souk to commercial zones with better facilities and modern infrastructure but nothing so far materialized.

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October 2008

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