image Exploring Beirut

Beirut, Lebanon – January 2015

As a graffiti enthusiast and political science dork, Beirut was an absolute playground for me.

I spent my first day with two friends, looking mostly at Mosques, Cathedrals, and monuments.

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Beirut's Blue Mosque
Beirut’s Blue Mosque
Taken by a friend
Taken by a friend

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The next day I went into the Armenian Quarter. The cross of the Lebanese Forces (used by both the militia and the current political party) was prominent. It’s not so much a religious symbol as it is a giant middle finger to Hezbollah, Syria, the PLO & various other Palestinian militias, and anyone else who has fought against the Christian minority in Lebanon.

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In the last ten years, Lebanon has seen Syrian occupation, Israeli invasion, an unsolved presidential assassination and ensuing wave of terrorist attacks, a civil war in Syria that is spilling over the border with Lebanon, and continued skirmishes between Hizbollah and Israel. There was also a(nother) civil war between 1975 and 1990. Incidentally, the day that I arrived in Beirut there was a border skirmish between Hizbollah and Israeli Defense Forces that left two Israelis, three Hizbollah soldiers, and a UN observer dead. The result of the continuous conflict is a country that has never had time to rebuild.

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Abandoned building damaged by missiles.
Abandoned building damaged by missiles.
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Beirut’s Martyrs’ Square

And finally, political graffiti. Plenty of it.

“Freedom for this hostage,” in reference to Lebanese hostages being held in Syria

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And… in the airport on the way out.

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An odd fit with the Obama picture above
Yesh please.
Yesh please.

If you’re interested, I wrote more of my time in Beirut here.

I could write a full series on the different wars, coalitions, sectarian conflicts, and political rivalries currently stewing in Lebanon, but nah.

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