"Model Employees"

Sri Lankan Domestics in Lebanon

by Monica Smith
published in MER238

Twenty-two year old Leela made a promise to her family in Sri Lanka: she would earn enough money working abroad as a maid or a nanny to build a new house back home. Living thousands of miles from her husband and young son would be difficult, but Leela thought she would be able to send them money while she was gone. Her absence from Sri Lanka, in any case, would be short. She could not have been more wrong.

News Not "Fit to Print"

Fighting the Lebanon War: Hizballah and the Press

by Jennifer Loewenstein | published February 23, 2000

Petition Charges Israel with War Crimes

The Case of the Qana Massacre Survivors

by Laurie King-Irani | published December 8, 1999

Mediterranean Blues

Facing Environmental Crises

by Zeina al-Hajj
published in MER216

Under pressure to solve immediate economic problems, 
Middle Eastern countries seek to industrialize as 
quickly and as cheaply as possible. While developed countries around the world are very slowly adopting technologies and production methods that exert less pressure on the environment, Western industry at the same time sells its old, polluting technologies to less developed countries at cut-rate prices. Too often, the myopic drive for quick economic gains means that destruction is taken for development and deterioration for progress. Greenpeace and other international and local organizations are combating this mindset on several fronts.

Burning Trash

Iran, the Vatican of Shi'ism?

by Roschanack Shaery
published in MER233

The Iranian state, controlled de facto by the conservatives in the government, promotes the idea that Iran is the center of Shi‘ism. It bases its argument on the fact that Iran is a Shi‘i-run state, whereas Shi‘i Muslims in other parts of the world live in states that are dominated by Sunnis, and so Iran is free to pay near exclusive attention to Shi‘i concerns.

Of Specters and Disciplined Commodities

Syrian Migrant Workers in Lebanon

by John Chalcraft
published in MER236

“Lebanon was built with Syrian muscles,” declared an elderly Lebanese in the early 1990s. He was referring to the hundreds of thousands of semi- and unskilled Syrians who have worked in Lebanon on a temporary basis in construction, agriculture, manufacturing and services since the mid-twentieth century.

Syria and Lebanon: A Brotherhood Transformed

by Bassel Salloukh
published in MER236

Unlike its incremental intervention in Lebanon throughout early 1976, Syria’s withdrawal from Lebanon in late April 2005 was swift, unplanned and humiliating. On both occasions, Lebanese, regional and international factors overlapped to shape Syrian behavior. But whereas the 1976 intervention consolidated Syria’s position in the Arab-Israeli conflict and elicited implicit US gratitude and Israeli cooperation, the 2005 withdrawal undermined Syria’s regional security interests and left it besieged in the international arena.

A Landscape of Uncertainty

Palestinians in Lebanon

by Laleh Khalili
published in MER236

The events following the assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri and Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon have not discernibly changed the situation of Palestinians in Lebanon. While a surprising government edict has made it easier for Palestinians to get clerical and manual jobs, calls for disarming them and permanently settling them in Lebanon grow louder.

Beirut Diary: April 2005

by Rasha Salti
published in MER236


Like most places in the world that, time and time again, have been fit into the journalist's script or forced into the novelist's frame, Lebanon has been tirelessly taxed with metaphors and allegories. Simultaneously, it has been presented as the terrain for metaphorical and allegorical construction. In its pre-war heyday, Lebanon was the "Paris of the Orient," the "Switzerland of the Middle East," the "land of milk and honey." During its 17-year civil war, Beirut became itself the metaphor for the no man's land of destruction, captive to a self-sustaining cycle of armed conflict. Mikhail Gorbachev warned of the "Lebanonization" of Yugoslavia as that country's dismemberment into ethnic, religious and cultural cantons loomed.