Instead of healing open and still septic wounds, Lebanon moves on, ignoring setbacks and numerous bursts of the ever dwelling conflict. Beirut lives with desperation and joy and has seen its fair share of life, death and beyond. The past not yet having become one, rather still fear inspiring be it from the all too obvious remainders in the midst of the building frenzy, where only the sky and shining glass are limits. Or the less obvious but far more dangerous religious segregation, drawing invisible lines through neighbourhoods. But it’s not that simple. The lines are far more blurry than churches and mosques suggest.
The open display of demolished, bombed and shelled houses vanishes when moving into the countryside, where street-frenzy gives way to majestic mountains, cedar reserves and awe-inspiring cliffs in lush valleys. However, the segregation becomes more prevalent than ever, with a friendly, welcoming population that does not hold back in sharing its views on conflict, sometimes offering insight, while other times the resentment, hatred and fear are too hard to bear. And it lets you wonder, if the passion and emotions go so deep, can there ever be closure?
As you wander on, everyone at least once recommends to visit Byblos, allegedly the birthplace of our modern alphabet. The town has continually existed for more than 8000 years, seen civilizations rise and fall, religions come and go and somehow managed to keep a little memory of each period. So much struggle still today and yet it is hard to wrap ones mind around the fact, how peaceful it is. For thousands of years it was one of the most important trade cities in the mediterranean area, today it is much more than an open museum for tourists, it is a symbol of resilience and hope, that out of every scar a lasting, calming reminder of life arises.