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Lama Hajj 06 May 2016

Why Am I Not Allowed In Downtown Beirut?

Surprisingly, it’s not because of the lewd, weird shit I’ve written over the years.

The real reason I was denied entry into Nejmeh Square, the heart of Downtown Beirut, is because I’m a young Lebanese citizen. Here’s what happened: last weekend, I arrived in Downtown Beirut with my dog.

Phoebe, aforementioned dog – 3 years old & spayed so don’t message me asking to mate her.

The weekend was brimming with possibilities; mainly the possibility of my dog taking an unplanned shit that I would then have to awkwardly pick up whilst avoiding eye contact with those around me.

As I walked up to the first military checkpoint right after Le Gray hotel, the army personnel stopped me and said, “ma feeki tfouti min hon,” (you can’t enter from here). “That’s what she said,” I promptly replied. JK. I asked why – he said he had been given orders and that I could try the next entrance, but he doubted I would be able to get in.

I thought for a second that this may be because of my dog, but I spotted a couple of dogs inside, so that couldn’t have been it.

I approached the next entrance where a much more obnoxious army guy with a huge chip on his shoulder and a major power trip stopped me and said, “nobody gets in on my watch.” You guys, he really said that. I asked him about the people I could see who were already in there, he told me only families are allowed in Nejmeh Square – a man and his wife and their children, no single people allowed.

Apparently, after several incidents of activists staging protests around the parliament, officials are worried (read: scared shitless) that the youth will mobilize, enter individually, and gather inside.

Does the Lebanese parliament even work? Am I missing something?

Are we not allowed in our own nation’s capital anymore? How many more roads and areas will get closed off and sectioned out? Will Lebanese politicians keep chipping away at Lebanon until we’re left with one street?

Anyway, bite me – I walked my dog in Beirut Souks and it was fan-fucking-tastic.