A great article from a Lebanon outsider who’s had time to spend in Lebanon, which made me think, are we talking about the same Beirut!

You could argue that, in a contest to choose the most civilized citizens of the world, it would be a travesty not to choose Beirutis.

I’m guessing Melik (the author) doesn’t drive. All you need is three minutes on the roads of Beirut and it would be clear that civilized is probably one word you will never use.

They [Lebanese] should be U.N.-protected as international cultural treasures.

Isn’t that what March 14 has been asking for? Is someone getting a little political?

…the documentary showed a film clip of a Beirut press conference they [The Black September Gang] gave then. They were so young and cool, so dazzlingly chic, with a kind of Cap d’Antibes glow. In those days, in Beirut, even warlords and terrorists had to keep up standards. I’ve racked my brain for years: What did it mean, that you could be at once so hip and so bloody?

According to Melik, who is the poster boy of warlord chic?

Walid Jumblatt

He said it! Not me! Interesting though, Jumblatt gave an interview to Playboy magazine in 1980 with a memorable statement:

Jumblatt caused a sensation in a Playboy interview once when he said that crime in New York terrified him more than gun-battles in Lebanon…in Lebanon you know who’s trying to kill you; in the U.S. you don’t.

And Melik’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” cherry on the top had to be this statement:

You would want that these heartbreakingly likable, erudite, cultivated people, many of whom went to school together, discoed and drank and wenched together, could look at each other and say, “Nah, I can’t fight you, you’re too fabulous. You’re a Beiruti like me. Our first duty is to the muse of fabulousness–to conserve this lovely place and the life here…

The article has many other interesting points from the view of an outsider and I highly recommend the read.