The megalomania of the Lebanese leads them often to compare their capital Beirut to Paris, their country Lebanon to Switzerland, and they all have on goal: to make Lebanon the Honk Kong or the Monaco of the Middle East. Problem is that most Lebanese have no idea what they have to do to really earn these titles. Despite all that the Lebanese say, if Lebanon and Beirut are pathetic caricatures of Switzerland and Paris, respectively, it is primarily because of the Lebanese themselves who have no sense whatsoever of citizenship, the rule of law, collective and personal responsibility to their country and their environment. Because of the Lebanese themselves, Lebanon and Beirut are nothing more than another third world cesspool of personal irresponsibility, misplaced priorities, and corruption.
Most civilized countries and societies have stopped using plastic bottles and bags. Not the Lebanese. The Lebanese have thousands of water springs and fountains within a 20 minute drive from anywhere. Every town and village has a public fountain of clean spring water jutting out of mountainsides. But the Lebanese are too fucking lazy to go fill up. Instead, and because their filthy government does not supply drinking water to the homes, the Lebanese buy water in plastic bottles which, as soon as they are done with them, find their way to the streets, roads, roadside ditches, highways, underbushes, grassy meadows and forests.... The whole country is a giant repository of plastic bottles and bags. You see trees garnished with plastic bags that get stuck on trees as the wind blows them around. And no one seems to mind. Of course, these days, there is an elite protesting the government's failure at picking up the trash, but the vast majority of the Lebanese couldn't care less. In civilized societies, people do not wait for the government to do the right thing, because they know that they themselves are the government. THEY DO NOT THROW TRASH INTO STREETS, FROM CAR WINDOWS. THEY CLEAN UP EVERY LITTLE PIECE OF TRASH AND LITTER AROUND THEIR HOUSES. But the Lebanese, both before and after the garbage crisis, live in filth year round. Plastic bottles, plastic bags, junk food wrappings (chips and such), cigarette butts and boxes..Oh Yes, because the Lebanese smoke en masse and then expect the government and the hospitals to treat them for free.
I don't know what the religious schools, which dominate education here, or parents and families teach their children. They teach them all kinds of stupid religious beliefs in nuns, saints, prophets and dubious miracles, or in "strong" (i.e. criminal Mafia) political bosses, but they don't seem to teach them not to throw garbage out of their car windows, or to pick up after them because the streets are public spaces which are everyone's responsibility, not just the government. Schools and churches and mosques certainly don't take the children out of classrooms, churches and mosques, to do clean up campaigns.
Local municipalities once in a long while send their Bengali workers (for some reason, only Bengalis work as trash collectors in this country) to shovel the plastic trash out of the rare sidewalks and into the grass and brush nearby. They don't pick it up. They just get it down the hillside out of sight, and they do this only when a VIP (a Sheikh, a Bishop, a Politician....) pays a visit or holds a rally for God and his prophets. Trash apparently bothers God and his prophets, but it doesn't bother the Lebanese people themselves.
Paris of the Middle East
Paris of Europe
Lebanon's pride: The plastic bottle. It is everywhere.
In Lebanon, plastic bottles and bags grow and multiply faster than any form of greenery.
So when the megalomaniacal Lebanese tell you that they have 50 summer festivals of pathetic smarmy Lebanese folk music and a bunch of equally pathetic and largely unheard of foreign musicians and singers, and therefore Lebanon is the Switzerland of the Middle East because it has a few mountains which have been deforested and butchered and carved out to sell sand and rocks, just show them a few pictures of what the real Switzerland looks like, and ask them to compare and contrast.
The "Switzerland" of the Middle East
The real Switzerland - yes, they have trains and you can't build ugly buildings every which way you want. Not in Beirut or Lebanon. "Public" transport in Lebanon is only for the "lower classes". You wouldn't catch a Lebanese dead riding a bus. Public transport in Lebanon is only for Syrian refugees, Bengalis, Sri Lankans, Ethiopians and other indentured foreign slave workers. Also, in Switzerland, coastal property is never private, no buildings, no resorts block access or the view to the water. In Lebanon, you rarely can see the ocean from the coastal highways and roads because most coastal properties have been stolen by politicians who built themselves palaces and resorts. And the Lebanese worship private property like a god: You can do whatever you want on your land: build an ugly building and leave it unfinished for decades, open a factory of toxic chemicals, block traffic by spilling your business out onto the street, etc... There are no zoning laws in the Switzerland of the Middle East.
The Monaco of the Middle East where the fish you catch is rich in heavy metals and radiochemicals imported by a joint venture enterprise of the Italian Mafia and the Lebanese Mafia.
The real Monaco (Notice streets and roads have lane markers. Not in Beirut)