This is Beirut

This is Beirut is designed to give voice to the millions of Lebanese who are suffering while the world sits silently. We are not interested in propagating hatred. We want the world to witness through the eyes of Lebanese citizens the destruction and the suffering that has been brought on in the name of defense. If you have a story, poem or letter to share, please email We will work together to end this violence.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

America's Double Standard on Democracy in the Middle East

Time Magazine joins the ranks of those questioning the true motives behind the U.S. policy in the Middle East. Some interesting insights in this article

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Post War Diaries

Dear World

I entered the Monoprix Concorde yesterday and a glittering sparkling
Christmas tree was standing at the door. Inside, life was going on in
an attempt to create a peaceful and happy Christmas mood maintained by
Christmas carols playing on the shop's speakerphones, Christmas
brochures handed at the door and small chocolate Santa clauses wrapped
in colored aluminum sheets. Fruits and vegetables were fresh and
colored, branded products were yelling to be bought, people were
shopping in a fake calmness and patience. These days, everything
around feels like a lie.

I wrote a month of war diaries upon the Israeli assault on Lebanon in
a shout of despair and helplessness, as an attempt to get a reaction
against violence and wasted lives. The war ended and all is as numb
and dumb, including myself.

Today, Lebanon could be on a threshold of a civil war. Is it? Isn't
it? I have no clue. People are talking here and there, wondering,
questioning or giving very certain answers from very reliable
sources. (I would like to note here that all reliable sources in
Lebanon can also be referred to as gossip.)

Whoever has been following up the news in Lebanon would know that
right now, the country is divided. Needless to say between who and who
because it is meaningless. Mainly between two sides both heavily
anchored to their ideals and not willing to make any compromises.
Stubborn and stuck. Manipulating and manipulated. Half of the people
are currently residing in tents and sleeping on the floor in the area
that, not long ago, was witnessing an immense waste of money by Saudi
tourists and Lebanese Bourgeoisie and Nouveaux Riches over abundant
food, ugly (but supposedly trendy) clothes and other useless things
that contribute in making you feel complete when you truly are a
complete fool. An area that was once the ground of expensive glossy
cars and huge Hummers bought or rented at a rate that, if spent in a
little more awareness, would solve the poverty problem on the face of
our planet. Downtown Beirut.

I don't know what to think. I don't know who to believe, whose side to
be at. Some people claim this conflict is that of the poor against the
rich. Others that it is the poor headed against the smart. Others
that it is Iran and Syria against the US, and others that it was all
planned by Israel, as usual. I have been living weeks of talks and
arguments, assumptions and uncertain certainties, intolerant
expressions and stupid remarks, irresponsible leaders and numb ones.
And I am fed up.

Somewhere, I feel everyone is right but on another hand, this whole
scenario is still hard for me to comprehend and accept. A waste of
time, money and human energy to fulfill the huge inflatable egos of
the political leaders. Leaders whose photographs carry so much more
weight than the people themselves. All of them. Greed and arrogance,
delicately coated in flaming speeches, rich in style but devoid of any
sane human content. Does it take really that much for people to live

I walk on the street and I don't recognize the people anymore. Some
political, religious, intellectual or social identification has taken
over their brains and they refuse to see that there is no real problem
in Lebanon, but only trouble-makers. I look at the infinite posters
hanging here and there, on the poles, on the billboards, over
balconies, on the walls, on the doors, on the windows, on the people,
on the cars, etc. Posters of leaders, dead leaders, surviving leaders.
Colored sheets of paper with some slogan that, repeated over and over
again, is emptied of its meaning and reduced to the status of some
cheap expression we throw to shut somebody up.

Do you want the truth? Of course you do.
What truth is it?
How valid is some truth when there's nothing true within us?

We have become mirrors of somebody's ideology and we are proud of it.
We go on the streets and shout it loud and clear as if it is a truth
for us. Is it?

And it kills me because, in the middle of all this mess, it is
becoming harder and harder for me to find myself. And I love it
because it is making me look. I love it because I am more confused
than ever, but I would rather be confused than sure from a "truth"
that could be nothing but utter nonsense.

Dear Leaders
Get off your stands and go home. Take a deep look at what you are
saying, doing and not doing and ask yourselves: what do you want? what
do you want to make out of this country? Because as long as you are in
a position where thousands of people are willing to execute your
orders, you better be clear and unselfish since anyways, someday you
will die and any profit you could have had out of this will go with
you to the grave. I am not being arrogant, I apologize if I sound so,
but if I were you, I would, as the French say, "rotate my tongue 7
times before speaking" and have a long and deep thinking about the
repercussions of my actions.

But hey, then again, aren't the international forces deciding everything for us?
Hell! I really know nothing!

Peace 'n' love
An air-headed Lebanese Citizen.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A plea for reason

"If my leader is to show disrespect to any Lebanese party or sect I will not follow him. If my leader calls for a protest which divides our Lebanese ranks, no matter the cause, I will not follow him. If my leader is to show hatred, even if rightful, I will not follow him. If my leader hasn't learned the lesson I have from 30 years of war, Lebanon comes first, may our leaders fight their wars alone!"

Please don't rise to or be source of provocation. Let's not be victims of international stimuli again. Our leaders may sell their souls to the devil, but Lebanon was never theirs to sell. It belongs to those of us who STILL believe in one united people. Dear Lebanese, I would like this message to be a wake-up call to all Lebanese everywhere; whatever our political beliefs, religion or sect! Please hear this plea:Lebanon is going through a very difficult period on many different levels but most importantly on a street level. I URGE everyone to try your best to calm the people around you. Now is not the time to 'talk' or to inflame friends and neighbours. Please practice restraint! If we allow them, the political crisis our politicians are putting us through will soon spill onto our streets! If WE, as sovereign and independent Lebanese citizens, do nothing to stop it, we will have a civil war on our hands again! We have to use our rational and our common sense and not be manipulated into hatred of one another and street expressions! None of us want to see our children fighting and killing each other on the streets again! None of us want to witness a new wave of death, hate, destruction and humiliation again! None of us want to be manipulated and treated like sheep without any will or conscious again! None of us want to live in fear of sending our children to their universities and schools where students are being bullied and bitten for expressing an opinion again! Please talk to your children and friends and convince them:

Not to rise to provocation
Not to allow anyone to push their buttons
Not to be source of provocation
Not to inflame other's political and/or religious loyalties
Not to get into a war of words with others over politics or religion
Not to get into fist-fights or feuds with others over politics or religion
Not to destroy or assist in the destruction of another's properties/cars over politics or religion
Not to be influenced into expressing their opinions in our streets!

If you love our Lebanon, please forward this message to as many Lebanese as you possibly can that we can help calm and defuse a highly explosive situation and maybe avert a crisis! Our country's survival and the lives of our children depend on our collective efforts!
Peace be upon us all!

A Patriotic Lebanese

On behalf of all Lebanese

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Funeral for a young Shiite

Mourners carry the coffin of Ahmad Mahmud during his funeral in Beirut. A sea of angry mourners converged on southern Beirut for the funeral of the young Shiite murdered amid mass rallies aimed at toppling the government, which have sparked fears of new sectarian violence.(AFP/Ramzi Haider)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Protest Day 3

Hezbollah supporters wave their flags in front of Al Amin mosque in Beirut December 3,2006. Lebanon's political crisis showed no sign of easing on Sunday, as thousands of pro-Syrian protesters pressed on with a sit-in aimed at ousting a Western-backed government intent on holding on to power. (Eric Gaillard/Reuters)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Day Two of the Protest

Lebanese army block Hezbollah protesters near the government head quarters in central Beirut on the second day of protests by the opposition demanding the resignation of the U.S.-backed government, December 2, 2006. (Sharif Karim/Reuters)

Protest in Beirut

Lebanese people carrying national flags chant slogans in a rally held by pro-Syrian groups December 1, 2006. Tens of thousands of flags-waving Lebanese poured into central Beirut on Friday for a Hezbollah-led protest aimed at bringing down the Western-backed government,which has vowed it will not yield to the pressure. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (LEBANON)

Friday, December 01, 2006

Mass Protest planned for today

"Fellow Lebanese we have ahead of us decisive days for Lebanon and its future...," Siniora said in a live broadcast on Thursday. "We will not allow the coup against the democratic system, its rules and institutions.

"Tomorrow is a day when we will show our resolve," Saad Hariri told The Associated Press Thursday. Still, he vowed to be "strong with the government. ... We will not accept to be part of an axis of Syria and Iran."