Not long after the Lebanese civil war ended more than a quarter of a century ago, I found my landlord in a depressed mood. He had suffered in the fifteen years of war – part of his family had been “cleansed” from their home in east Beirut – but peace had returned to the ruins of the city, the Mediterranean sloshed opposite our apartment block and in front of the little candy store he ran on the Corniche.
What on earth could be the matter? “It’s so boring, Mr Robert,” he confessed to me one bright morning. In the war, there was always something happening, he explained. It was dramatic. His family was always frightened. But now there was nothing on television, no news, nothing in the papers. Peace had broken out.