enchanting cities

“every evening the balconies of urban lebanon are full of people, sitting out under the night’s stars perhaps smoking an Argeeley or water pipe, drinking coffee, and maybe even playing cards. You’re never alone here. Your landscape is made up people. Your family on the balcony, your neighbours on theirs, the vendor selling roasted peanuts for 500 liras downstairs, and the church bells and muezzine calling the faithful together across the street.

there is no highway in all of lebanon from which you cant see the sea as you drive. The roads and buildings are built looking out on the water; you’ll never have to turn your back to it…
there is so much more of lebanon to show you so that you will know why people are staying here to fight and even to die. how do i describe to you the lebanon of my memory?

the pebble beach at Baarbara where sweet and salty water mixes together, the result of freshwater springs hidden under the rocky terrain of the sea.
the hustle and bustle of downtown beirut, the corniche where you can buy hot thimbles of Arabic coffee, the surprise when you discover there is valet parking at Mc donalds ( I swear its true).
the falafel sandwiches at Abu Andre’s in tripoli. the baklava at the Hallab Patisserie, in business since 1881.

the winding roads of Byblos.
the caves of Jeita.
the smell of the Cedar Forests.

the lebanese drivers, who when they are not trying to kill you with their stunt-like driving, are stopping to help you with directions.
the palm readers at the beach in Tyre…

and there is more, there is so much more.
why would a people who have everything to lose, risk it all?
for me it is because the lebanon of my memory is definitely worth fighting for.”

lebanon diary-fatima bhutto 26th july 2006, the news

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enchanting cities

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