In the hours leading up to a Congressional vote that may send missiles over our heads, many in Beirut are still living big, as seen by this wedding last night at the St. George Hotel.

Though it looks lively and fun on the outside, this hotel actually remains gutted on the inside, a vestige from the civil war and perhaps an apt metaphor for the deceptive calm that prevails now. (It’s amazing what good lighting can do!)

Today everyone has been on the beach and tonight there are more weddings and fireworks. The festive attitude even applies to buildings under construction, such as this one near Dbayeh:

Ironically I had to turn down a wedding invitation tonight as I’m writing an article about the war that surrounds us. I’m such a party-pooper.

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Habib Battah
Habib Battah is an investigative journalist and founder of the news site beirutreport.com. Battah has covered Lebanon and the Middle East for over 15 years and teaches journalism and media studies at the American University of Beirut. He is a contributor to Monocle, The Guardian, BBC World, Al Jazeera and others, a former fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University and two-time recipient of the Samir Kassir Press Freedom Award. Battah's investigative work was recently recognized for outstanding local reporting by the Columbia University Oakes Award for Environmental Reporting. Battah earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.A. in Near East Studies and Journalism from New York University.

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