We have all seen this award-winning photo. We received it either by email, or saw it on some blog with a critical caption of the cultural diversity, contradiction or clash in Lebanon. The original caption spoke of affluent Lebanese driving down the streets of the suburbs of Beirut to look at destroyed buildings a day after the cease-fire. A day after the summer Israeli bombing of Lebanon stopped. The demolished buildings are in the suburb (dahiyeh).
However, what was not mentioned is that these young Lebanese were actually residents of the suburbs or what is considered to be Hezbollah’s stronghold. But stereotyping made this fact so remote and removed from the original captions or comments that were circulated. Stereotyping does not allow them to be part of the “dark–non–life–loving–culture–of–death” dahiyeh. But their story was told in this interview by Kim Ghattas, a reporter for the BBC online. Their account of what they were doing that day and of their volunteer work during the war is interesting and revealing.
The convertible car was also an object of ridicule but as you read the article you will discover that it played a role in delivering medication to refugees and to those who refused to leave their homes in the southern suburbs. So this wasn’t its first visit to the area.
Talk about “looks can be deceiving”.