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.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Beirut is Burning

I get so frustrated sometimes I don't know what to write anymore. Fresh from a meeting with Dr. Reinoud Leenders, assistant professor of political science at the University of Amsterdam and former analyst with the International Crisis Group based in Beirut, where we talked about identity, politics, and corruption in Lebanon, I go to CNN and find out protesters have shut down Beirut and a number of Lebanese cities by burning tires and cars, throwing rocks, and blocking traffic to and from the airport. Obviously, people are not satisfied with the current state of affairs but this is not helpful!!

Now, I am all for political protest and the peaceful protests of previous weeks seemed to indicate that it was possible to make a statement without harming each other or the city of Beirut or the country that so many Lebanese people profess to love. I feel like all this destructiveness is throwing the country into a time warp. If we condemn the actions of Israel for the destruction of Lebanon, we must also condemn Lebanese who destroy their own land and hurt their own people. How will Lebanon ever move forward otherwise. The violence has to stop.
My hope is that people in the west don't take this as proof that Lebanon is a lost cause or that these are "birth pangs" for a burgeoning democracy. I believe that when you are surrounded by violence and have had violence inflicted upon you for decades, it because a part of who you are and how you think. The conflict in Iraq is spilling over into other states and essentially, all these conflicts in the Middle East, Palestine and Israel, the war in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon transcend intra-state conflicts as they impact the entire region continuously. I want to write more on this but at the moment, I am just sad to see the effects.