The Syrian Refugees’ Predicament and Ours In The Levant

Do we Lebanese know where we stand on the issue of Syrian migrants and refugees? Not really. We have no credible public opinion polls, no in-depth, nationwide research on this community, and very few independent media platforms covering its situation with reliable facts and figures.

But do we actually have a Syrian problem? We sure do.

Do we know what it is? Not even the half of it.

In 2011, Syria’s population was an estimated 21 million. By 2022, it had shrunk inside the country to around 18 million. Per the UNHCR’s data, there are also six million Syrians who have been displaced internally. In other words, the country has experienced a violent external and internal cleansing.

Lebanon’s Golden Age through A Different Lens

Not every reference to a country’s golden age implies a current one made out of muck.

In Lebanon, it does. Almost always when Lebanese are referring to the country’s golden age, they mean to juxtapose it against today’s dark one.

There is the broken, bankrupt, corrupt, soiled, pervasively sectarian Lebanon that we have now. And there is the Lebanon that was once the jewel in the Levantine crown.

That moment of zenith, in the mind of those Lebanese who hark for it, stretches from, let’s say, the late 1940s all the way to the late 1960s. And it is usually told through visuals.

We have elegant and beautiful Lebanon, like one of its presidents and his wife, Camille Chamoun (1952-1958) and Zelfa.

The Changing Mood Of The “Westward” Arab Elite

It’s always been a rather complicated relationship, the US and Arab elites. There’s nothing unusual about that between empire and those it proposes to sponsor and instruct (its allies), and those it intimidates and subverts (its adversaries). But in the Arab world, it’s been a  wretched experience all around, especially for the “westward” ones in our midst.

Israel-Palestine Or Is It Palestine-Israel?

In the early 1980s, Georgetown University’s Foreign Service School, where I was an undergraduate student, held an international conference in Amman, Jordan. The theme was the Arab world and the US.

Professor Jack Rudy, who taught at Georgetown’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, gave a very interesting talk at the conference. Unusually for that period, his presentation was data driven, centering on American public opinion on Israel and Palestine.

Juliette Elmir Sa’adeh And Our Syrian Dreams And Nightmares Part 2

Khalil Haddad was the salt of the earth. His hometown in Lebanon was tiny Baskinta, way up north. His accent, which decades in America failed to soften, remained lovely and true to home. His demeanor was gregarious, his nature very kind and giving, his smile constant, his storytelling legendary.

We called him Amou (uncle) Khalil, as all Arab youngsters call their male elders. But Amou Khalil, a dear friend of my father’s since their school days at International College (IC), loved us as a family uncle would, and we loved him back.

We first met Amou Khalil in Washington D.C in the late 1970s. In age, we four siblings were anywhere between very young (21) and little (10). I hovered in the middle, at 15.
From high school at Holton Arms through my undergraduate years at Georgetown University, Amou Khalil was ever present. And then life, as is often its wont, found us continents apart.

A Lebanese Habit

People are talking in biblical terms these days in Lebanon. Damnation, retribution, reckonings, deliverance, and the lot.

We’ve always felt accursed, mind you. Special, yes, and beautiful. Clever too. And all the more accursed because of it. A peculiar psychology, I’ll admit. Something about the geography and its laws, the friends we keep, the admirers we have, the way the stars are aligned, the small “gods” watching over us and the great many bowing to them.

The State of Us

“Stand before a picture as before a prince…Waiting to see whether it will speak and what it will say.” 


Every once in a while, a lone photo emerges to render the human condition in all its pain and beauty. A vista that says it all.

Comes now one among a flood of snapshots of an earthquake that has disturbed the quiet of southeastern Turkey and added to the devastation in the north of war-torn Syria.

The Curious Case of Middle Lebanon

Two weekends ago, I walked from Clemenceau, where I live, to Gimmeyzeh for a rendezvous at Ginnette café with a friend.
It was a quiet, sunny Sunday morning. The walk didn’t take more than the usual 20 minutes. I took the downtown route, because the center (aka Solidere) is lifeless on Sundays. I didn’t have to suffer the car and electricity generators’ fumes.

Israel and its Cracks

I read a Thinking Fits post about Israel yesterday that I wrote in 2010. It didn’t feel like a lifetime ago, but if I’d had a child that year, they would be in 8th grade now. I know. It’s a rather depressing way of measuring the passage of time.

Scroll to Top