The most dangerous place in Lebanon

The most dangerous place in Lebanon

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No it is not Saida, Tripoli or the Bekaa Valley.
This is Dekwaneh, a working class suburb of East Beirut, home to Lebanon’s department of motor vehicles.  It’s not a battlefield between pro- and anti-Hezbollah forces, but thousands of potential killers are licensed here every year.
Nearly 1,000 persons die annually on Lebanese roads, according to the World Health Organization.
That means traffic accidents kill exponentially more Lebanese than battles involving Salafists, Hezbollah and Israel.
It all starts here in this small parking lot:
New drivers choose a red, blue or green 1960s Mercedes:
They make a loop around a small go-cart track:
They are then tasked with parallel parking:

Carefully monitored by a guy eating a sandwich:

And that’s about it.

Because doing a loop prepares you for drunk driving, drag racing, driving backwards, the wrong way, cutting others off like a video game or running red lights, which are all virtually legal activities in Lebanon.

The police almost never pull cars over or issue traffic tickets. They have literally abandoned the roads to whatever psychotic adrenaline-induced behavior is humanly possible.

But if roads are a bigger killer than Israel, why isn’t there an armed resistance against lawless drivers and those that approve them?

5 COMMENTS

  1. Why would you talk politics!!!??? Really unprofessional and lame!!!! And if you want to mention Hezbollah why don’t u mention the other parties that also kill Lebanese when fighting with each other???

  2. If you go back and read the post calmly, you’ll notice that I mention BOTH “pro and anti-Hezbollah forces,” simply because that is the constant focus of our (often very shallow ) national conversation about the problems we face in this country. This post is not an indictment of either group. I’m simply questioning our priorities.

    It’s important to address foreign threats to Lebanon. But how can every major party fighting a war here ignore the fact that one of our biggest threats comes from within?

    No matter what side you support, the biggest battlefield and death toll rate is on the highway, not the borders.

  3. Because the issue of lawless drivers and highway deaths has no sectarian dimension and thus very little political appeal to both parties and citizens.

    Just another one of our biggest issues that we all choose to ignore.

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