May 20, 2006

How Beautiful the Middle East...Could Be

“Something there is that doesn't love a wall, that wants it down” - Robert Frost

Lebanese blogger Perpetual Refugee wrote the following in Israeli
blogger Lisa Goldman's comments section.
I can image the drive up to Beirut from Tel Aviv. You'd of course take the scenic route. The Mediterranean always on your left hand side. I would assume you'd leave in the morning, the sun already having risen in the east. It would be sunny. It usually is. As you drive north past Haifa, the terrain starts to roll. The hills become mountains. Acre. Nahariyya. Then the border. The Lebanese customs officer smiles and being Lebanese, starts to chat you up. He'll impress you with a 'Bokaltov' followed by 'Bienvenue a Liban'. You enter without any problems. Your Israeli passport stamped. Your license plates remain as they are. And you drive. The signs are now in Arabic and French. You already feel the difference, and yet, you're comfortable. It still feels good, comfortable. You get excited as you pass the ancient city of Tyre. You feel the urge to stop and see what Alexander the Great found so fascinating about the city. But you don't. You'll be back. Further north, you reach Saida (Sidon). It's stunning, a bit more Islamic in feel. Again, you want to stop but not today. Today you have a date with Beirut. And you'll fall in love.
Perpetual Refugee is in Israel now even though his government absolutely forbids him to go there. This should be required reading. Especially if you're Lebanese.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at May 20, 2006 10:51 PM

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