Nicholas Blanford, a usually well-informed and nuanced journalist (especially when he writes for the Christian Science Monitor which, notwithstanding its name, is one of the more reliable US press outlets on the Middle East) who’s been living in Lebanon for a long time, gives his take on the rearming issue here.
On a totally unrelated issue, the Daily Star today publishes an AFP article on gays in Lebanon – reputedly the most gay-friendly Arab country.
‘When he was 19, Jean told his father that he was gay. “His reaction was to tell me: ‘OK, get married, have children and live your sexual life in parallel – discreetly,'” he said. “He gave me examples of people he knew who lived exactly like that.”
Shartouni Zahm explained that “having descendants and children is very important here. And the Lebanese mother always dreams of marrying her daughter off.” As for lesbians, they have double the trouble. “Make no mistake – Lebanon is a country of macho and conservative people where women are considered inferior and are discriminated against,” said 25-year-old Nadine, a member of the Meem association that supports lesbian rights.”The Lebanese want to show the Arab world they are open-minded. But most young people generally carry the conservative ideas of their parents,” she said. “If my parents do not let me go out it is not because I am gay, it’s because I’m a woman.”