When you visit a city that has been inhabited since 5,000 years, there is always a little piece of you that stands in awe and another part that marvels on the abstract concepts of ownership and property. That festers on when it is aided by strife, war and a history of instability
Then & Now
My first visit to Beirut was as a little kid in 1991, a few months after the war ended. Of all my travels it left the biggest impression in my mind. I always wondered how little the average Lebanese seemed affected by the status quo. I had never stopped at so many checkpoints as I have with my family in that summer.
Every area in this tiny country seemed a country of its own. Passing through Syrian checkpoints added to the confusion in my little mind. I seem to recollect that my Why's seemed to have a success rate of around 50%
-Why are there so many holes in those buildings?
-Those are bullet holes, this was a front-line
-Why did they fire at each other?
-That was a different time, it was war
-Why are they always singing “Raje3 yet3ammar Lebnan?” (Lebanon will be rebuilt)
-People want to fix the country, they want to live like every other place
-Why did they break the country, then?
-It was war, people didn’t want to break it, it happens in war
My father seemed to always know "someone" when it mattered, and he always seemed to know what to say or what not to say. He knew when he had to be Jordanian and when Palestinian and it mattered. In the post-war mishmash of ethnicity and loyalty, it mattered whether we were seen as an ally, a foe or a neutral. Not that my father was ever involved in the politics of the war. Yet, he knew that it mattered not to people who were used to killing based on an ID Card.
It seemed to me that this "War" thing was always the reason, but the kid in me could tell, it was just another adult excuse