Maybe it’s because I live in Lebanon, and return to Beirut from Aleppo and Damascus, that the place seems so “normal”. While all around this little jewel, the Middle East burns – Syria, the occupied West Bank, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, increasingly Egypt and, alas, Turkish Kurdistan – Lebanon glistens brightly in the darkness, largely untarnished by the horrors on the other side of its borders. Or so it seems.
We might be forgiven for believing that this little paradise still exists in the Arab world. True, Lebanon has no president, no functioning government and constant power cuts (I currently have three electricity outages a day, sometimes totalling six hours, without a generator). Reading by candlelight might seem as romantic as Milton – preferably without its physical effect on him – but it gets a little boring after a while.