Was watching a couple of videos from Al-Jazeera English, called the Arab Street.
The 30.05.09 two parts series were devoted to Ze Lebanon. The information was a little outdated since it dealt mainly with the elections but not only...
It interviewed some Beirutis in the Hamra Street area. Young and old, AUB students and more "ordinary" people...
And there is something I cannot shake off every time I watch anything pertaining to Beirut - a very annoying, irritating feeling that lingers on well after the "show" is over.
And the cue lies in that word "the show". I find a big majority of the Lebanese as the most show off people I have ever encountered...It is really, really bad.
A social disease which I call Ze Lebanese "show".
I have travelled throughout the Arab world, and I'd say extensively so...never, ever have I come across a people who are so into appearances like the Lebanese. It is beyond annoying, it is simply sick.
You would think that only a certain class of people or a certain strata of society or a certain religious group or sect suffers from this typical Lebanese social disease. Well you got it wrong - ALL Lebanese suffer from it. The haves and the haves not.
It is deeply insidious in Ze Lebanon, it sometimes scares me...but most of the time I find it VERY offensive.
When you are sitting with a Lebanese, the first thing he/she will do is comment on your looks. Lebanese women do that all the time. And it goes like that.
Yay, you have lost sooo much weight, yalla give me your diet now, now !!!...or the opposite, ya Allah, tu as tellement grossi, c'est pas possible...shu hayda !!! (you've put on so much weight, what is this !!!)
It's okay if this is done between girlfriends, but these are women you've met professionally or on some other occasion, and you really have no relationship with them...but Ze Lebanese women always allow themselves to judge, constantly judge and criticize others...
With the men, the focus is on your watch, cell phone, car...The make, how much did it cost, is it hype, is it recent, is it expensive, is it up to date, is it in vogue....
And Lebanese men just like their women, always allow themselves to comment on your looks or find fault with you, even if you look fucking perfect.
And accordingly, both the men and the women will know where to fit you, in which category...are you an interesting prospect or not ? Because this is the bottom line with ze Lebanese - interests.
It is a society that primes the outside to the detriment of the inside and the result is truly disastrous and this, I noticed, regardless of any political affiliation.
The above is just one example of this constant harassement one is subjected to when in Ze Lebanon, but only non Lebanese Arabs feel it. The Lebanese are too subdued in front the Khawaja - the foreigner, the non Arab (in this instance the Westerner and/or the Iranian - depending on the political climate) whom they hold in great esteem. And again this is regardless of political or religious affiliation.
The Lebanese honestly believe they are the créme de la créme of the Arab world. All other Arabs are beneath them - ALL.
Only they have education, only they have taste, only they have beauty, only they have etiquette, only they have culture, only they are real entrepreneurs, only they are smart and intelligent, only they are sexy, only they are talented...
Everyone else - other Arabs, are either Bajam or Nawar. (cattle/animals or gypsies but meant as a slur here) because only Ze Lebanese are the civilized ones in the Arab world.
I have never ever met a people who suffer from as many inferiority complexes as the Lebanese. And they cover up these complexes by literally farting higher than their asses....It is not only most aggravating, it is actually sad.
When I watched the videos, I saw that all too clearly. There were a few men and women featuring in these series. All the women, with one or two exceptions have had plastic surgery done. Their noses looked identical, it was pathetic.
A couple of them were so deformed by the surgery, they looked like miss Piggy from the Muppet show. It was most sad. But even the men are not spared. They too have recourse to nose jobs, lipos, botox, face lifts, and the rest - except breasts and cheek implants...thankfully. Most sad again.
It's as if Ze Lebanese are collectively obsessed with erasing any traces of their semitic heritage and this is made most evident with their noses looking like bimbos from California.
And for the average lebanese, even if he or she is financially broke and without a job, el-moda (fashion) is most important, it is essential...
El-Moda includes everything - cars, clothes, accessories, cell phones, places one frequents, music one listens to, books one reads... - they have to have one thing that is al-moda - in fashion. They have to look it, own it...one way or the other.
And even though I personally have nothing against plastic surgery (within reasonable limits - if you are on a brink of suicide because of how you look, then plastic surgery is one option) and while I have nothing against nice cars and the rest of el-moda, in the case of Ze Lebanon is it truly overdone to the point of having become ridiculously pathetic.
And am afraid, ze impressions am left with from ze Lebanon are just that - a pathetic people in a pathetic country.
P.S : My Lebanese friends don't fit the bill. Otherwise, they wouldn't be my friends.