Lebanon’s recent past has been consistently been characterized by a pervasive sense of joyful insouciance, a kind of permanent amnesia that allows us to convince ourselves the biggest decision in our day is what shirt we should wear or what bar we should head to tonight.
Given the ambient carefree attitude, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in Bermuda or Andalusia, not in a country in a volatile country in political deadlock for years. There is something vaguely grotesque about how we go about on a daily basis, oblivious to the fact that so much in Lebanon remains unresolved.
Now, I know what you’re going to say. I can hear you shouting at your screen “But that’s the Lebanese way, we’re brave in the face of adversity, we’re famous around the world for our resilience in times of difficulty. We partied under the bombs”. That’s all well and good, and the Lebanese spirit of steadfastness is admirable beyond words. Everything somehow continues to function regardless of what state the country is in.
However, there is no denying that our inability to deal with our past is a considerable problem. I mean a country doesn’t go from a 20-year free-for-all of murder and destruction to a peaceful having of foreign investment overnight. Something is wrong with that process. The fact that the political discourse 20 years after the end of the war is so bitter is the most glaring illustration of how unhealthy our attitude to the past is. You only need to scratch the surface of any conversation/confrontation and you’ll find people digging up various vile episodes from our prolonged periods of civil strife….