out of the airport of milan and into the bus carrying me to the plane: this is when i first smelled the Lebanese. I don’t know why, and maybe it is because of the weight of the assassinations, and the killings, and most probably the last war, but all of them look like beaten dogs. I wondered if I looked the same, but I could not really notice.
So I also wondered, are the Lebanese cursed because of the wars, and the shifting alliances with foreign chancelleries, and imperial quests, or just because they don’t really relate to each other?
Once at the airport, the first billboard I see has the “I love life” logo on it. It is something to see it on blogs, and in emails, but it is definitely something else to feel it in reality. I still can’t believe these people actually did this campaign. I still can’t believe that that I don’t know how many thousand of dollars went into something that stupid. You should check this blog that deconstruct what’s behind the deepness “I love life” thought.
Then you have the usual jewelry and bank ads. The traditionally strong sectors in the economy. Maybe the only sectors state policy has historically recognized as being worthy of attention. By the way, Banks in Lebanon have been spoiled so much that today the government owes most of its debt to them. And the economic plan of the government is to make sure the banks don’t suffer one tiny bit from the restructuring process, only the average dudes that put their money in those banks.
Once I arrive at the passport control point, I greet the guy with my naive marhaba happy to be here kind of warm declaration, only to be answered with total silence. Obviously the guy is not very happy.
As soon as I am out I am greeted with the counter campaign “I love life with respect”, “I love life in colors”, I love life in lebanon, etc. campaign. Good, the billboards utter the symbolic political confrontation.
Anyway, I’m just very bad at long narration so I’ll spare you the details of my next few days. What I want to say is this:
Everybody can talk of revolution etc. and many individuals would think of it highly inside (I don’t doubt it), but all the Lebanese (leaders especially) end up finding compromise as the only solution they have. In Lebanon you either compromise or you break the country in pieces (what you should is merge it to another one, dillute it).
But as long as Lebanon wants to remain Lebanon (meaning a country that is only a country, because people who perceive themselves as ‘different’ from each others, have decided to live together ‘with their differences’) there will never be any change.
At the symbolic level, my point is that Lebanese should stop perceiving themselves as ‘different’ from each other. They all look alike. Seriously when I stepped into the bus, they all looked so alike. So sad as if somebody punished them.