AS A WAY OF LIFE
nomads, writer, speaker, photographer
SYRIA - LEBANON
Entering Beyrouth, we also penetrated in the complexity of the political situation of Lebanon and the Middle Eat.
A condition that not only comes from an historical process but also the implication of the powers surrounding it. Lebanon is the playground of the region in terms of political and strategic interests. But it is incredible to realise that seventeen religions cohabitate in this country. For years it was an illustration of mutual respect and we realised the rich experience it represents for its people.
The inhabitants told us that outside the zone of political interest, the community are helping each other above their religious identity. We can see churches and mosques next to each other. However we are very surprised by the importance and the place that take each religion in the village. Their symbols are often made public like a scarf, a cross, a cloth like for example the Druze population.
At the same time, Beyrouth is also a picture of massive destruction, an inferno that bursts for over forty years. Stunned by the sight of the huge number of rebuilt buildings since the last destruction of the city in 2006, one of the emblem of Lebanon, the statue on the Place des Martyrs is cribbed with bullets. It illustrates the no man lands and one of the demarcation line that separated Beyrouth. The new buildings stand next to the destroyed constructions and we can clearly see bullet impact in the whole city. An other distinctiveness is the old cinema, which looks like an egg. Mostly destroyed, it is an other symbol demonstrating these years of civil war. Naoly showed us the tower where maronnites snipers were posted, young men that jumped form the last floor as the building was surrounded. This is the story of all these families of many different horizons and religions that today live next to each other. The story of a large population of immigrated people, today larger than the inhabitants of Lebanon, that quitted their home country to live a new life, never forgetting about their country. However in Lebanon, we really feel a powerful strength to live. It is astonishing, and surprising by its outsized consumption and show. But it touched us by the ability of this population to stand up and to rebirth from its ashes. The spirit of freedom that floats in the street is similar to the sight of the pigeon’s rock, an other symbol of Beyrouth.
Once again, we encountered this feeling of freedom on our way to the pass of Masser El Chouf. There were majestic cedars that grow there from centuries. They linked us to this land and brought us a serene feeling. Overlooking the whole valley, they are the kings of this country.
In the meantime we are writing these few lines, the political situation in Lebanon is getting worse. We left the territory the day before half of the government dismissed. Wondering about the mean of consumption in Beyrouth, some Lebanon people told us they are living their life to the fullest as nobody will never be able to steal those moments of life. This strength to live, nobody will take it from them neither. And today we really hope for its people that the political situation won’t deteriorate. t