|Modified image from source|
Lebanon still celebrates an annual mass for France every Easter Monday, such is our affection for our former colonialist power. But is the love shared? Well, maybe the simplest way to know is trying to visit back "al oum al hanoun" (the tender mother) as France is still called.
We all know how time consuming the visa process is, how grueling, humiliating, bureaucratically cumbersome (for us, not them!), purposefully discouraging, morally abusive, and the list goes on. Well, this actually prompted me to remind whomever wishes to be reminded that Europa is - according to the legend - the daughter of Agenor and Telephassa the rulers of Tyr which actually falls in modern day Lebanon and was kidnapped by Zeus pretending to be a sea lion. Do note that Europeans (French included) can simply walk into Beirut International Airport, get their visa right on the spot, and most of the time the visa charge is waived - and they can enter for a long time.
Executives who do not have work visas here, basically go to Cyprus for a weekend when their visa is about to expire, come back here and get it renewed for another 3 months and avoid all the hassle of getting a legit work permit. Only very rarely does Sureté Generale bother to double check foreigners who have extended their stay, but not their welcome, in Lebanon.
Actually, when late president Jacques Chirac came to Lebanon, the welcoming orchestra of the Army played the national French anthem so well, he reportedly said: "One had to come to Lebanon to hear a good Marseillaise". On all accounts, the image above is of Rouget de l'Isle as he first sang the Marseillaise in honor of this year's Bastille Day... "Allons enfants de la patrie le jour de gloire est arrive!".... And for us? "Aux larmes citoyens!"