10 misperceptions about Lebanon

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Ranya Radwan

December 23, 2013
10 misperceptions about Lebanon
1. "Lebanon has 18 religious communities."

Lebanon is known for being the most religiously diverse country in the Middle East. There are 18 officially recognized religious communities, including 4 Muslim sects, 12 Christian sects, the Druze sect, and Judaism. But what many people don't realize is that sectarianism is the primary culprit behind Lebanon's instability, mainly because religion defines an individual's social and political status in the country.
2. "Lebanon has 40 daily newspapers."

There are actually 21 major daily newspapers in Lebanon, most of which are backed, founded, and/or funded by political parties or partisan figures. They tend to be extremely biased as a result. That many publications are censored and filled with sectarian rhetoric make Lebanon's press all the less impressive.
3. "Lebanon has 42 universities."

Lebanon
does have 42 universities and colleges that are nationally accredited, but only a handful of these institutions are internationally acredited. Some include: the American University of Beirut, the Lebanese American University, Notre Dame University, St. Joseph University, Beirut Arab University, Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, Lebanese University of Beirut...

Because many Lebanese citizens cannot afford these pricey universities, much of Lebanon's middle (non-existent) and lower income groups have to settle for a second-rate education at a public institution.
5. "The word CEDAR (Lebanon's national symbol) appears 75 times in the Old Testament."

You'd think Lebanon would be littered with cedar trees with all the biblical references, but the number of them has dwindled thanks to deforestation, global warming, and neglect.
6. "Lebanon is a desert and has camels."

Lebanon is the only Middle Eastern country without a desert. Nor does it have any indigenous camels.
7. "There are 15 rivers in Lebanon (all of them coming from its own mountains)."

Yet, we never have water and if we do, it's extremely polluted.
8. "Lebanon is the only democratic country in the Arab world. (Yes, we do have an elected President!)"

Lebanon is far from being a democratic nation. Yes, we have an elected president. And yes, we have elections. But when one party doesn't get its way, Lebanon's
government could and often does collapse. P.s. We haven't had a government since March 22, 2013.
9. "Lebanese people speak three languages: Arabic, French, and English."

Though a multi-lingual country, many people only know a handful of words from each language and still claim to be fluent in all three. Most of the Lebanese who are bi or tri-lingual tend to live in major cities.
10. "Lebanon is the country with the most books written about it."

Who knows where this fact came from, but even if true, that's not always such a good thing. Most are about the sad state that Lebanon is constantly undergoing, at least that's what a simple Google search for "Lebanon + Books" revealed. Here's the first five books to come up:

1. Lebanon: The Challenge of Independence
2. Lebanon: A History of Conflict

3. Civil and Uncivil Violence in Lebanon: A History of the Internationalization Communal Conflict
4. Inventing Lebanon: Nationalism and the State Under the Mandate
5. Lebanon: The Politics of Frustration - The Failed Coup of 1961
4. "Lebanon has over 100 banks (that is banks, not bank branches)."

This is not very significant since Lebanon's economy is still suffering and the
minimum wage is a lousy 675,000 LL ($450) per month. Worse, some of these banks are corrupt and engage in or facilitate widespread money laundering.
  • MikeKaram

    One does not know where to begin to point out the astounding errors in this piece of 'journalism'! Did anyone edit this? 100 banks? 21 MAJOR daily newspapers? The rest is childish nonsense.

    December 29, 2013

  • jrocks

    " lower income groups have to settle for a second-rate education at a public institution". i bet you that many of the 'first-rate education' universities provide worse education than the lebanese university. really, rethink that statement ranya

    December 28, 2013

  • Hanibaal-Atheos

    Yeslam temmik ya Ranya.

    December 28, 2013