“Is it safe?”

..is the single most question I get asked whenever I tell someone I live in Beirut.

This question strikes me as particularly bizarre now that I’m in Trinidad..where it’s not safe to walk on the street during the day, much less the night! As beautiful as this island is, crime has been on the steady rise for the last decade. Thefts, murders, kidnappings..you name it..it happens in Trinidad. To demonstrate what I’m talking about, I took a picture of my bedroom window. Every single home in Trinidad has these metal bars on their windows to prevent people from breaking in. Lovely, isn’t it?

bars on the windows in Trinidad

The metal blocking my view..

Yet, Beirut is the one that gets the bad rep..I never understood that.

Beirut..how could people have gotten such the wrong impression of you?? You don’t deserve that. The world has it all wrong.

Seriously, I’ve never felt safer than when I was in Lebanon..as ironic as that may sound.

Beirut, don’t you worry.. I know the truth..and I’m doing my best to change the world’s perception of you.. Slowly, but surely..one person at a time.

Is Beirut safe?

Beautiful Beirut..

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14 Comments

Filed under life in Lebanon

14 responses to ““Is it safe?”

  1. Fadi

    Crime happens everywhere
    It’s 2011 now and Beirut has changed a lot from the reputation it earned in the 80s :P
    but I did get mugged in broad daylight in Beirut, well it was a Sunday and the street next to St. Jude was empty and everything was closed, but it could happen anywhere.
    I <3 and miss Beirut too

    • Yes, it’s definitely not accurate to say that Beirut is wholly without crime. It still exists, but in general..I have really never felt safer. I do what I want, when I want,,I come and go at all hours of the night ALONE..which is something I really have never done before. So I think the safety issue is more of an issue of perception. People perceive that they can control crime on a lesser scale (if you wanna call it that)..but a war? People perceive that a war is never in their control, and are, therefore, more afraid of it. Hence why Lebanon has the reputation it has. Hope I’m making sense here. Did you fight back when you got mugged? Hope you didn’t get hurt!

  2. Robberies and mugging happens everywhere, Beirut is no exception. Unlike other cities Beirut is quite safe. I walk alone at night despite the bad lighten street n i never got attacked.. thank god to that

  3. hey from Denmark! Beirut is safer than many other places i have been to, paris is definitely not safe to walk around (many bad experiences in the metro), Copenhagen after midnight, hmm.. will not venture alone on the streets as i do in beirut when we return home from our outings.. So YES, it is safer.. but things are slowly changing (handbag thefts on the up-rise!). anyway keep up the positive work about beirut and its image! we need it!!!

  4. You are much less likely to get robbed, raped, kidnapped, murdered, etc. on the streets of Beirut than any urban US area, that’s spot on. But it’s easy to be swayed by that comfort and forget how politically volatile the city is. I hope you don’t experience a serious engagement while there, but it could easily happen. It’s all fun and games at Sky Bar until you’re in a van at 4 AM, packed with ex-pats, on a bombed out road to Damascus.

    • Very very true Diana..very very true. Perhaps I should have clarified that on a day to day basis I feel very safe..much more than I ever have before. But one cannot ignore that there are other factors at play in Lebanon that could change the game in the blink of an eye..Thanks for your perspective..

  5. You know it’s actually quite difficult to find crime statistics for Beirut, so while everyone has the perception that it’s safe, very few people can really say that with certainty. The fact that I feel far safer walking around Cairo at 3am compared to walking around Rio de Janeiro at 3am probably reflects some underlying truth about how safe the cities are relative to one another, but being a statistician I try to fight against drawing conclusions without data :) Where I live in London “feels” as safe as the more posh neighborhoods but actually it is a hub for violent crime in the city and if I changed my routine a little bit, I’d probably notice it more.

    Of course we always rely on locals to tell us if it’s safe to walk around at night, and usually they’re well-informed about their local area, so it’s OK to trust them. But I’m afraid that Lebanon will not shed its outside image as an unsafe country until a there is a long period of political stability during which violence ceases to be used for domestic political gains. In the meantime, the rest of us can be happy knowing the secret that Beirut is safe so we can have her all to ourselves :)

  6. Jinan

    your post is very touching
    thank you for being so interested in bringing up the true image of our Beirut
    I admire your efforts and I assure you that Beirut do deserve all this LoVe :)

  7. Lucinda

    For someone who pretends to be a writer, the amount of typos one can spot in your posts is pretty damned embarrassing, don’t you think?

    http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/marks/ellipsis.htm

    Just saying…

    • joannadee

      “pretends to be a writer”… who says that? What is that really? How can someone pretend to be a writer? It’s either they’re a writer or they’re not. And considering the fact that she writes a lot, it’s safe to say she IS a writer.

  8. joannadee

    That’s so true Danielle, it’s really a safe city.. the first time I ever saw anyone got mugged was in the Paris metro.. and you know what? If someone got mugged in Lebanon, usually, if there’s people around they’d try and stop it.. there’s many other places where they wouldn’t.

  9. J the K (basically anonymous for now)

    I lived in Jamaica and I thought the exact same thing. Jamaica is a paradise considered to Beirut..hahaha. I got mugged three times in Kingston

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