The changing culture of election campaigns in Lebanon

Even if independent candidates don’t win big on election day, they are already having an impact on Lebanese political culture. They have introduced new styles of campaigning that come as a sharp contrast to how politics is commonly practiced in Lebanon. While establishment politicians deploy …

Political posters removed except…

There has been much fanfare about the removal of political signs and posters from Beirut, as part of a reported reconciliation deal between the parties/militias/old men that run this country. I have to admit, I was surprised to see the decades-old Amal mural painted over …

Celebrating Sleiman

Lebanese president Michel Sleiman left office today, but his presidency will linger a while longer in billboards erected across the highway. The sign above literally reads: “You entered big and you leave big.” Yet technically speaking Sleiman leaves office much like his predecessor did six …

Thanks Hollywood

Because with Israeli jets overhead, sporadic explosions around town and the slaughter of hundreds every week a few miles away in Syria–all Lebanon really needs right now is some gratuitous Arnold Schwarzenegger gun violence. Lining both sides of the coastal highway…

Saint sponsorship?

In Lebanon, everything seems to be marketable, even potential sainthood. This wall ad is positioned along one of downtown Beirut’s busiest intersections. It follows last week’s beatification ceremony for Father Joseph Haddad, also known as Abouna Yaccoub. It is not clear what the relationship is …

Living it up

A new air of optimism prevails in Lebanon today. And as is often the case after a Lebanese war (there have been about half a dozen over the past 50 years) the country is buzzing with excitement and carrying on with life as usual. The …

Sleiman mania

For some reason, the term ‘overkill’ has not worked its way into the Lebanese vocabulary. When a new leader arrives on the scene, logic goes that he must be celebrated ad nauseam. Today’s leader au jour is army commander Michel Sleiman, as seen about a …

Loving and hating America

The Arab world is more divided than ever today and this can be illustrated through a very unscientific and simplistic survey of driving around town and then coming home to watch some mind-numbing television. The poster above was recently hung up along Lebanon’s ever-politicized airport …

Balconies

The balcony is a central part of Lebanese life. People have lunch on them, play backgammon on them, enjoy a morning round of coffee and cigarettes out on them and, of course, hang wet clothes to dry on them. But one shrewd Lebanese company known …