Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ruining beauty

Yes, Lebanon is beautiful. It’s a mountainous country known for its gorgeous greenery. But sometimes other disastrous realities need to be faced, as I was reminded yesterday on my walk through the village.

Many natural surrounds have been reduced to garbage dumping grounds, and unfortunately it’s not rare to see people throwing papers, tins and bottles out of their cars. Just this week in Beirut, I came across a meticulously groomed Lebanese lady about my age, stepping out of her uber-expensive car, tossing a tissue purposefully onto the pavement. Incredulous and highly upset, I sarcastically asked her, ‘Mafi zbeleh?’ (Isn’t there a dustbin?). ‘Eh, fi,’ (Yes, there is) she said in an even more sarcastic response. And that’s the mentality of educated people.

Old, traditional stone houses are being destroyed, leaving very few original structures to tell the Lebanese tale of old. In the village this is not as evident as in Beirut, where old buldings are being torn down to make way for ridiculous highrises that leave no room for the mystical imagination of once admired Arab, Ottoman and French architecture. Other buildings, such as this one, are just being allowed to decompose into a mass of forgotten rocks.

Due to the increased traffic on Lebanon’s roads, a lot of shortcuts are being built through the mountains to reduce traffic flow on the bigger highways. This means a lot of trees are being chopped down to make way for these double lanes, leaving a streak of ugly, fallen sand underneath. I asked about this and apparently it would be too costly to construct walls to hold the falling sand before constructing the roads, and so this is never done here, as the cost of these roads is already not fully paid for by the government and so other funds often need to be raised from international donors and local municipalities.

No comments:

Post a Comment