Lebanon's Tourism Minister has just launched his "Visit Lebanon 2017" campaign aiming at promoting the tourism sector, despite:
- the bad roads
- the rationing of electricity
- the lack of drinking water
- the pilfering and squandering of public funds
- the rampant corruption
- the culture of violence
- the theft of public seafront property by politicians and their cronies, and
- basically a dysfunctional country infected by tribalism, sectarianism, religious intolerance, systemic incompetence and a dysfunctional political system (it took 2.5 years to elect a president, and now a 4 year old stalemate in which parliament has renewed its own mandate three times because the parliamentarians cannot agree on a new electoral law...).
Watch what happened to an ordinary motorist at the hands of some politician's militias, as he drove on the Beirut-Jounieh highway, in what is considered the "safe" Christian heartland of Lebanon (the information is taken from the Arabic language "Lebanon Files" website):
On Saturday May 20, in Zouk Mikael on the highway toward Beirut, there was a convoy of ten 4-wheel drive vehicles belonging to a politician, a diplomat, or some security official. As is typically the case, these convoys push people out of the way by yelling, honking, sirens wailing, and weapons brandished from car windows. We are in Lebanon, and we won't change, and the country won't evolve such that a prime minister, MP, minister, or ambassador drive around like the rest of us. Perhaps, those ruling this country have forgotten that they are of the people, that they are employees of the Lebanese people, that they get their salaries from the Lebanese people, and ultimately they are our servants.
As the convoy crossed the Dog River area en route to Beirut with all the commotion of the honking, yelling etc. the driver of a white Land Rover Discovery failed to comply with the convoy's demands that he opens the way, even after hearing the yelling of "move over, you animal". Two cars then separated from the convoy in the Dbayyieh area before the Royal bridge, one Toyota Patrol and one Toyota Prado (as seen in the pictures), and blocked and encircled the Land Rover. Men from these two cars stepped out, went to the Land Rover's driver, opened the driver's door with their guns out, savagely hit the driver, pulled him out of the car, dragged him to the Toyota Patrol where he was shoved in the trunk. One of the men from the convoy finally drove off the Land Rover to merge again with the convoy.
So before you decide to listen to the Lebanese Tourism Minister and
"Visit Lebanon 2017", ask yourself the question: Who will protect me
against such violence and brutality? Especially if you are a foreigner
who is used to civility and civilized behavior. Perhaps the Lebanese are
used to being treated like animals, and they know the rules. But if you
are a foreigner and have no idea what to do in such instances, can you
imagine what will happen to you if you are caught in an incident like
DO YOU WANT TO BE THE VICTIM OF THE RAMPANT BRUTALITY IN LEBANON? If yes, then please by all means come "Visit Lebanon 2017".
[All photos courtesy of Lebanonfiles.com]