February 07, 2010


Faraya slopes

I met some foreigners this week that had never been to Lebanon before. And the misconceptions were quite revealing. They thought this was quite a dangerous place. I understand that part; we’ve got 15 years of civil war to erase from people’s memories, and for some reason, this Lebanese civil war sticks like tar. Nobody seems to think of Sarajevo as a dangerous place anymore. Yet Beirut keeps that stigma. One blogger, Jad Aoun, is keeping track of these misconceptions; they’re called the ‘Looks Like Beirut’ Awards. But what surprised me even more was that local Lebanese, i.e. people that are Lebanese and are living in this country, warned these foreigners not to venture anywhere, because ‘you never know’, and ‘they might kidnap you’ or ‘someone might not like you because of your government.’ I was absolutely appalled. I have lived here for almost 20 years, have visited every corner of this place and often on my own. And I have never ever experienced anything that you could consider xenophobic.
And so to get back to today; Did you know that many people do not know that you can ski in Lebanon? The weather was fantastic, the traffic horrific, and the mood good.


Joseph said...

"Did you know that many people do not know that you can ski in Lebanon?"

Exactly! I recently got back from spending 2 months in Lebanon and the customs officers/border patrol in my native country asked me where I had been.

"Lebanon" I replied
"Doing what?" they asked
"Skiing" I responded.

1 hour 20 minutes, a thorough bag search, x-rays and drug/bomb tests later they let me off with a warning for "not answering their questions and being avoidant".

Anonymous said...

I think the reason why you haven't experienced any xenophobia is because you look European. I doubt you'd have the same experience if you looked... say southeast Asian.

Plus I get the feeling while in Lebanon that it's safer for woman travelers as men usually raise suspicions and provoke territorial instincts.