Adonis Diaries

Is Violence a Normal news in Lebanon? How much faith is about right?

Posted on: October 12, 2012

Is Violence a Normal news in Lebanon? How much faith is about right?

Samples of TV channel and international newspaper sound bites: “Lebanon on the brink of…,” “Syrian conflict spilling into Lebanon,” “Unrest in fragile Lebanon concerns region”…

Michelle, a Canadian girl, attending her last university years at the American University of Beirut posted on Aug. 16 under “Lebanon and the normalization of violence”

“Here we go. The frustrating developments in Lebanon have driven me to write. Considering the fact that I’ve just moved here for a year to study and ideally jump-start my career as a journalist, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But I’d much rather be writing about social issues, the beauty of Beirut and my experiences as an international student than the lawlessness and chaos we witnessed yesterday.

Here’s the thing. I love Lebanon. But it’s becoming harder and harder to reconcile the romanticized Lebanon of my mind with what is increasingly flashing across every TV channel and international newspaper. “Lebanon on the brink,” “Syrian conflict spilling into Lebanon,” “Unrest in fragile Lebanon concerns region.”

Lebanese have been reading and largely scoffing at these alarmist titles for a better part of 15 years. But as easy as it is to tune out the news and dismiss the developments with a proverbial “welcome to Lebanon,” it is becoming increasingly discouraging to see the kind of people who appear to hold the power in this country. The kind of people who burn tires, block roads, kidnap at will and incite threats because they are well aware that a state trapped in sectarian gridlock, unable to maintain a crumbling infrastructure and too intimidated to take a stand in a tense region will not act against them.

Amazingly, violence is a social norm in Lebanon. The average Lebanese was perhaps slightly alarmed, but not majorly shocked by yesterday’s events.

Many Lebanese worry, but hoards of others will simply turn off the TV and tell you that in 3 days, all will be back to normal – whatever definition that word has taken on here. But the purpose of this post is not to despair.

Lebanese have proven themselves to be extremely resilient to conflict, and the thugs on the street do not represent the majority of Lebanese. It’s been a long hot summer, and it’s not over yet. But let’s have a little faith in Lebanon…though maybe too much faith is our problem. More to follow.

Note 1: Michelle has been so immersed in the social life of Lebanon that she forgot to be specific about the terrible three-day violence that she mentioned. Probably, she is referring to the clashes in the city of Tripoli (Lebanon).

Note 2:

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