Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Lebanon - Den of sin

I was reading, via Blog Baladi, this Now Lebanon piece on unmarried couples in Lebanon being unable, or at least having to lie in order to, share a hotel room.

Now, regarding the foreigner-Lebanese couple, that’s not my experience. But I’ve heard it exists. Certainly, all foreigner couple isn't an issue. You know, we're all going to Hell anyway.

However, contained within the article was something I found a little disturbing:
Should a “mixed” couple (one Lebanese and one foreigner) try to book a room at a hotel in Lebanon, they too are turned away, if not for the cohabitation law, then certainly for reasons of social norms.

“We don’t like it,” said a manager at one seaside hotel in Beirut. “You don’t like what?” NOW Lebanon asked.  “Couples with different nationalities, or a Lebanese mixing with a foreigner.” 

My considered response to statements such as the above involves a string of four letter words my mother taught me when I was knee high to a grasshopper and a boot to the offender’s soft parts. Then I’d set the wife on him.

 "Sweetheart, could you go talk to that
lovely man behind the counter? He thinks
you're a hooker."

Now, throughout the article, it’s unclear as to why the hotels are doing this. At various points it’s articulated as follows:

1.      Religious law forbids it (regardless of religion)
2.      General Security appear to be leaning on hotels
3.      Lebanese hotel owners are racists (yes, sorry, but that’s exactly what the quoted            passage above implies)
4.      It’s the law (when it comes to Lebanese couples)
5.      It’s a matter of stopping prostitution

However, the ISF vice squad then say:

But an officer there, who did not want to speak on the record, said the police would never crack down on hotels unless someone specifically called in a complaint. 
“We are mainly preoccupied with enforcing the law against prostitution,” he added.

I’ll quote Blog Baladi’s Najib in order to express my disgust:

I find this policy really backwards and unjustified as this is bad business for them.

Precisely. Only, I’d add the word ass in front of backwards.

However, I have a question for you:

Is the following attitude common among Lebanese?

“You don’t like what?” NOW Lebanon asked. 

“Couples with different nationalities, or a Lebanese mixing with a foreigner.” 

If it is, does it include other Arabs, or is it restricted to honkies like myself?