7 Misbehaviors We Lebanese Need to Stop

I've lived long enough in this country (coming up on four years now!) to appreciate its merits and loathe its demerits. Unfortunately, the latter can sometimes dampen the former. To illustrate, we may be world-renowned for our delicious cuisine. But it’s become awfully hard to savor it in light of the health minister's recent denouncement of restaurants' lack of hygiene and sanitary standards.

Fret not--this is not another tirade against Wael Abou Faour, nor is it a rejection of dining out in Lebanon. There are perhaps worse things you could do or be subject to around here. In fact, contracting a disease from dining out could be the least of your worries next to these villainous acts:

  1. The Lebanese are not particularly renowned for their pristine, clean environment. Littering is a chronic problem, and people don’t seem to give a whiff about chucking rubbish from their vehicles, balconies, or other perches in the city. Here’s a very clever appeal to trash-tossing felons: you wouldn't dare litter in your own home, so why would you litter in your bigger home, Lebanon?
  2. I almost mistook the streets of Beirut for those of Paris thanks to the ubiquity of dog poop. This filth is unacceptable. Dog owners must carry plastic bags with them when walking their four-legged companions. Scoop it up and dump it in the nearest receptacle. No one likes poop caked to the soles of their shoes.
  3. Another misdeed we inherited from the Parisians: the wretchedly high levels of cigarette smoking! Wherever you go, the air reeks of cigarettes. People are lighting up everywhere, and it’s as if Law 174 which once banned smoking inside closed spaces was formally repealed. Restaurants are casting a blind eye to it, pretending to offer different seating sections for nonsmokers. What kills me most is when I see teenagers and pregnant women sucking passionately at their cigarettes. Unfortunately, those aren't rare sights in Lebanon.
  4. Traffic lights at a roundabout are insensible! I’m talking about the newly constructed Mkalles roundabout, which has been outfitted with half a dozen traffic lights to disrupt the flow of vehicles. What?! Why?! Why ruin a potentially beautiful traffic engineering feat in Lebanon with those heinous lights? And here I was thinking that the whole objective of a roundabout was to eliminate wait times. Silly me.
  5. I already have beef with those annoying mopeds zipping frenetically through traffic. They’re as annoying as mosquitoes buzzing in your ears, and they’re incorrigible. Worse than that are mopeds going against the direction of traffic to avoid congested roads. Do they realize how gravely dangerous that is on their own lives?
  6. When will the Lebanese ever learn to queue? Do you think it’s written in our stars? Or are we forever doomed to reject every symbol of order and organization? Whether it’s the aloof woman who casually skips in front of you at the supermarket cashier line, or it’s the impatient driver who off-roads on raised sidewalks to gain two seconds in arrival time, queue crimes are inexcusable and make me writhe with dislike. 
  7. One more traffic-related pet peeve: ignoring pedestrians. If you've ever gone abroad, you immediately realize how kindly pedestrians in the road are treated. Even if they haven’t alighted to the street level, pedestrians are acknowledged and often given the right of way. In Lebanon, however, they are perceived as targets to be taken out. Drivers often accelerate when they see a pedestrian ambling across the street.

Photo Credit: http://philbancients.blogspot.com/

What irks you about life in these parts? Chime in below!


  1. Always beneficial to highlight these signs...


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