Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Why I have faith

Over and over and over, the overt and subtle allusions to civl war cloud the brilliant sunny skies of Beirut. But as both print and televised media continue to foresee the disaster of civil war, the people of Lebanon repeat their mantra: no, not again, no more, we're finished. "If we fall into another civil wear, I'll have finally lost all of my faith in Lebanon," a woman says to her sister. "No doubt," her sibling concurs,"if that happens, then we really do suck." With such vehement opposition to an internal blow-out, how can it happen? Well, I am told, it's in the hands of the politicians, each and every one of whom has blood on their hands from th past. Described largely by the public as militia who've traded their guns for suits and ties, and changed little else, the figures in power seem to be hearing the collective voice of "don't you dare" that shouts through the nation, but as the December 15th tribunal nears, and the four dominant groups in government fail to come together to accept the UN's mandate, the situation could devolve into chaos. So far, tensions have manifested themselves in minor excursions - a trash can fire in Basta-Tahta, a few people yelling in Beshouieh, but largely people have weathered the situation quite calmly. Road blocks and truck loads of troops crowd high-profile intersections, largely surround the Beirut Central District (downtown), but the troops are bored, singing songs, drinking coffee, playing backgammon - and offering directions and greetings to a wayfaring Westerner who's crossed their path for the past few weeks.

Aside from her extensive knowledge of local and invasive plants, a lust for photography that will reveal itself in a show opening tonight, and aspirations to bring environmentally sustainable landscape architecture to Lebanon, Jana also writes, and Jana's Essay gives a first-person insight to the pain July's war. Reading something like this, or listening to Zena's stories of the events this summer that - incredibly - have strengthened her resolve to stay in Lebanon, work with my daily witness to people on the street who manage to smile through the day and live their lives quite richly to convince me that any government rupture with fail to meet the demise that so much of the outside world deems inevitable. I have deep faith that civil war will not pollute the ties that have held this nation together for the past 10 years..

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