Saturday, October 22, 2016

Beirut’s reality in one short video

Pin ThisEmail This

There’s nothing extraordinary about the following video, but yet it shows in less than 10 seconds the bewildering reality of Beirut: piles of garbage at every street corner, the erratic behavior of Lebanese drivers, the deafening concert of horns, the non-stop noise pollution, the shocking disregard for basic public and personal safety.

Look how drivers behave. They seem incapable of driving in an orderly fashion. They create traffic jams where there’s plenty of room for everyone to go easily about their business. Of course, each of these drivers thinks all the others are wrong, so he or she honks his/her horn impatiently and aggressively, oblivious of his/her own behavior.

Look at this family – in red and pink – on a motorbike. A man is driving, a woman is sitting behind him, holding a baby. Obviously, the woman is not wearing a helmet, and there’s no protection whatsoever for the baby. If an accident were to happen, the baby would surely die. It’s important to note that this video was taken from a balcony in Sodeco. Which means there are usually plenty of traffic police around. 

Look at the garbage piling up – a normal sight nowadays. Look how dirty the street actually is. It looks like it hasn’t been cleaned in a while – thank you Beirut municipality! Look how indifferent everyone seems to be. Look how everyone is acting as if the others were not fellow citizen, but mere obstacles to avoid and overcome.

This short video is a perfect illustration of how the Lebanese mind works. And why Lebanon is such a jumble. It’s great to keep blaming politicians for the mess we’re in, but it would also be a good idea to start looking at ourselves and understand that we all have a big hand in the current disastrous state of the country.

Food for thought.

© Claude El Khal, 2016