Lebanon holds over 7.5 million in population in about 10,452 Km2 space area. This is fairly small compared to other countries and yet it has been largely prejudiced by misconceptions.
It hasn’t helped that the international media stream as well as certain Hollywood-made movies tend to spread these misconceptions and even add to them by creating ones, let alone depicting an unflattering image of Lebanon and even its people.
We could name a few prejudicial movies that have done their shares of staining Lebanon’s image or spreading falsehoods, but, hey, let’s not promote them by naming them.
Let’s instead go through these common misconceptions and prove them wrong:
It has been an unfortunate topic in the west, especially the western media in recent times, to refer to all Middle Easterns including Lebanese as people of dark skin, or “brown” somehow somewhat. It is not only racist but untrue.
Lebanon, opposite to popular belief, is multi-lingual. The majority of people speak at least 2 to 3 languages quite fluently – Arabic-Lebanese, English, French, and even Armenian – and on a daily basis.
If you know someone Lebanese, they’re much more likely to speak a language that is a mix of everything – Lebanese created and very common in everyday communication.
This misconception is most specific to outsiders or those who haven’t visited Lebanon for the most part (or don’t tune in to 961 to see the natural wonders of the country).
The cedar tree, centered in the Lebanese flag, should be an obvious analogy but some still seem to wonder.
For a fact, Lebanon holds a large area of green, nature reserves, and rolling hills. It contains excellent blues, gorgeous lakes and rivers, and a stunning mix of mesmerizing beaches and snowy winter mountains.
Lebanon is quite the opposite of strict and scary. Anyone who knows Lebanon well will tell you that the people here are one of the most hospitable and welcoming in the world. They will invite you to their homes, feed you the tastiest of Lebanese cuisine, and even take you for a free tour around.
Lebanon is always misinterpreted as being a dangerous country because of internal political conflicts and constant tension with Israel. However, unlike many countries deemed “highly developed,” Lebanon is practically safe. No racial crimes, no school mass shootings, no teen delinquency in the streets, and so on.
There have been thefts in recent times due to the dire economic crisis but the internal security forces are monitoring.
Lebanon is also a rich cradle of arts and literature, which it has been exporting to the world before even the ‘new world’ existed, including historical legends which continue to be taught in universities and schools across the globe.
Most NGOs in Lebanon are run by women. Their active presence in the Lebanese Revolution of recent times was striking. They fight oppression and corruption with the same determination and passion as their male peers.
And this is not new. As history recorded, Lebanese women had a crucial role in Lebanon obtaining its independence in 1942.
To summarize it all, if you haven’t visited Lebanon yet, do plan to do so and get amazed at how wonderful this small country is.