Adonis Diaries

The Lebanese learned to pretend to survive these loads of nonsense

Posted on: December 7, 2015

 The Lebanese learned to pretend to survive these loads of nonsense

In Lebanon, there is plenty to love and plenty more to lament.

There is the perpetual possibility of war breaking out. Some would say probability. There is a growing sense of disillusionment and disdain for the political leaders and corruption.

But to survive here, eventually, people learn how to pretend. How to complain just enough about the compounding problems …

And then party the pain away.

This is part of ‪#‎Lebanon‬‘s character. Part of its charm. It is also possibly leading to a profound catastrophe.

Lebanon can pretend it hasn’t broken its own record for the longest period without a president – 546 days.

It can pretend politics does not systematically undermine it’s own economic potential. It can pretend the trash that lined the streets of the capital this summer has been dumped in landfill sites, rather than hidden or burned.

It can pretend guns aren’t everywhere, that jobs are easy to find for the majority of its disillusioned youth.

It can pretend Hezbollah doesn’t act like a state within a state, that Sunni extremism isn’t growing, or that the Christian community isn’t slowly breaking apart.

It can pretend the garbage – including used toilet paper – isn’t flowing into rivers with the rain.

It can pretend government debt is not around 134% of GDP.

It can pretend there is not one Syrian refugee for ever four Lebanese.

It can also pretend that the breakdown of public services is all the Syrian refugees fault.

It can pretend that Muslims do not outnumber Christians. (The Shi3a are 50% of the total population)

It can pretend many of it’s political leaders aren’t warlords masquerading as politicians (after the civil war ended with No victor).

It can pretend that a political party didn’t threaten to shut Beirut’s water off in protest of political paralysis.

It can pretend there has not been an alarming rise in atmospheric toxicity since July (due to massive burning of trash on the streets).

It can pretend that it can remain immune to the raging inferno in Syria indefinitely.

It can pretend that beneath the entrepreneurial spirit, and progressive social scene, that Lebanon is not rotting.

Or it can stop pretending and begin the long process of saving the sectarian system from itself. (And what would be the alternative? More of the sectarian political system?)

Because to fail would be catastrophic for Lebanon and a region in desperate need for a model of tolerance and peace. 🏾🏾

Ahmed Shihab-Eldin's photo.

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adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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