American’s View: Is Lebanon a desert?


During an experience across cultures, it was surprising to learn what Americans thought of Lebanon whether as a country or a culture. “Is Lebanon a desert?”, “Are there women rights?”, “Oh, you have malls over there?”, and a lot more comments and questions were made to show that Lebanon in the eye of some Americans is simply uncivilized to a very far extent.

Media plays its role for sure, and for whichever agenda, the west tries to point out to only the negative part of the Middle East, and here we mean Lebanon specifically. Internal conflicts, street armed-fighting, a riot, a peaceful demonstration going violent, and all the “not-so-accepted” incidents are the new mostly mentioned by the media. Well, those things do happen, but seriously, where do they “not happen”? Lebanon has a completely other face to it, It’s not only about pretests and sands and camels, infact it’s not sands and camels at all, it is what some call it, “heaven on earth’. The fact that you can swim and ski on the same day only explains the beauty of its nature. Afterall, Beirut was the number 1 place to visit in 2009 according to the New York Times.

Yet the more important part we are concerned with is the level of civilization this country has reached, especially when compared to nearby countries, or even the entire middle east. Unlike other very conservative countries, Lebanon gives women the right to be educated, work, and get paid as any other man. Lebanon also gives the freedom to its citizens in practicing their religion and expressing their views and opinions, without imposing control over them.

Lebanon might have its instabilities, but it is also one of the most civilized countries in the area, with the most Liberal people in it.

Yes we do have religious entities, veiled women, poor groups, little hours of electirc power, street protests, and many other wrong issues, but we are a civilized country, and we do have malls. We are an adaptable nation who has been through so many hardships, but are still able to keep going, with an optimistic mood.

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4 thoughts on “American’s View: Is Lebanon a desert?

  1. From an American perspective, this account is an unfortunate realistic viewpoint that many U.S. citizens have. The Middle East is put on display as a region always in turmoil, filled with unrest and the potential to be devastating. When the media relays the events happening, they are opinionated in what gets air time. I agree that they show very little of the positives that are just as vital for global citizens to be informed on. The perspective transcribed through our various media tools creates a gray fog around the Middle East; a fog that deters people from taking a closer look at the good, and only illuminates the problematic events.
    But as a citizen of this country that unfortunately once had a version of this misunderstood view on the Middle East, I find myself questioning how do we change this? The Middle East is full of culture, life and a vibrant society that is worth the deeper look. But with the media dominating the driver seat of many people’s perspective, it becomes a challenge to relay accurate and pertinent information that is aside from the war-torn images found on the front cover of newspapers. I believe that it is put on the citizens’ shoulders of this globalized world to be determined to educate themselves on all realms of a society until the media gets an entirely new agenda. This is an optimistic hope that the media will get a facelift someday, a hope that cannot be relied upon. It is our turn to break this cycle of misinformation leading to ignorance and take the initiative to look further.

  2. I think us being here is a great opportunity not only to defend ourselves, but to actually give everybody the chance to know the reality of what the Middle East or Lebanon is and to disregard the streotyping .

  3. After spending the last two weeks interacting with the LIU students my perspective of the Middle East has been greatly changed. It is fascinating how closely related both cultures are in social and political aspects. These stereotypical views of Lebanon are focused around the media, people believe what they hear because they no nothing else. As in response to Aubrey about how to make a difference I think we can look at how the problem is caused as the solution. If our media is the problem why not use it as the solution. Social media outlets are a huge source for spreading awareness, such as these blogs. Another blog I had worked on discussed the importance on social media, how major political parties in Lebanon use it to reach out to citizens. So why not do the same?

    1. It is very good to hear that we were able to make a change, even if a small one. I think you all should just come to Lebanon for a visit, only then would you really know how big the misconceptions are concerning this country.

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