Expect the Unexpected…

It has been more than two months now since I have first tasted the delicious aroma of Beirut and I must say, this aroma had the strongest nicotine effect I have ever had in my life. I have seen the elections, protests, celebrations; joy and sadness encountered the city for the last two months that melted the violence expected by many excited journalists.        “Lebanon… Expect the unexpected” that is what I have been hearing from not only the locals but also from many expatriates most whom only came for a few weeks of travel but ended up staying at least a year to experience the Spirit of Beirut.. My expectations thus were surrounded by the least expected things that could ever happen.

Gemmayzeh May 2009… A busy district for a night out… Right after my Arabic class, walking down to Gemmayzeh Street from Charles Helou, an area expected to be pretty busy at eight in the evening and safe to walk down to main bar area… Well, I was not expecting to be robbed by a professional motorcycle rider and lose my passport together with all of my official documents that I had to carry with me in particular that day. Although I would consider myself as a professional traveller after been visited a significant number of countries in Asia and Latin America, Beirut proved to be unpredictable for the first time after my one month stay in town. Still, I love Beirut…

Hamra June 2009… Election Day for Lebanon… Prior polls indicating the increase in number of Hezbollah votes, tension up, “safe home” expats leaving for Syria and some “a short trip back to their countries in Europe” but curious and excited foreigners stay in for a possible, “expected” violence to record a story for their life to be told in the future: “Right time, right place… Yes I have been there and my pictures date back to year 2009 Election in Lebanon where I went to see the Elections and it happened right there, right where I was staying, see?” Unfortunately, this will not be told by many who expected a small scale of violence after the victory of March 14 led by Hariri.

To be honest, I was among the ones with a fear but also curiosity flaming me to stay in the middle of Hamra and watching what was going to happen on Makdessi Street while sipping Ksara and talking future war debates with my friends visiting me from London. Well, apparently I have forgotten to expect the “unexpected” again… Lebanon and Western countries praised the peaceful elections of 2009 and the victory of March 14 was officially recognised by Nasrallah’s speech felicitating March 14’s victory. More than anything else, Hezbollah’s speech had been the most important breaking headlines of many news sources in the Middle East. Democracy, Lebanon and Hezbollah…

Somethings are seriously changing in the Middle East… Politicisation of “non-state actors of once upon a time” has a different meaning in this country.

Politics are fearless and bold, that what makes this country unique and special in terms of “expecting the unexpected” that would not be possible in many other states…

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