Another saying says that "wherever you see smoke, there must be a fire." In this particular case, I prescribe to that saying. Lebanese homes are probably some of the most extravagant in this world (relative to income, of course). The private domain is rich, cultured, usually spotless and sparkling. Enter most homes, and you'll be amazed at the contrast between what you saw outside, and what you experience when you are actually on the other side of the door.
The question that nags at me is the following: could this particular phenomenon actually be a problem? A follow-up question would be: why is the private domain so overwhelmingly dominant in importance compared to the public? Could one infer social conclusions from this reality? Is it reflective of an inherently selfish social order, where people only care for themselves and those closest to them, but could not care less about strangers who, nevertheless, are compatriots, or worse, anonymous neighbors who deserve assistance.
On the other hand, could an aesthetically pleasing and functional public space point to a healthy public domain in an abstract political sense? One in which people are too invested to simply ignore or not care about.
The following pictures were taken during the same trek in which the pictures of the previous entry were taken. They focus on Beirut's visible public infrastructure. Or, rather, the state of some of the "goods" that the public offers itself through taxation - irrespective of income or identity.
This first picture is of Hamra Main Street. It serves as a model to other neighborhoods in Beirut. Notice how the street is not paved, but rather made of cobble stone. Also notice how the side walk, trees, and street lights appear to be part of a master plan - as opposed to being placed haphazardly (as is usually the case in Beirut).
This street appears to be a little less planned, friendly, or aesthetically pleasing. However, I took this picture because of the trees. Beirut is a concrete jungle. Trees are rare. These particular trees are especially noteworthy because of their beautiful blossoms. I am afraid this picture may not do them justice.
Could these two pictures signify the beginning of a new movement in Beirut? The conversion of the city's public spaces into areas that all residents can appreciate and enjoy? Or are Lebanon's rapidly deteriorating beaches and mountains going to continue to be the only sanctuaries from a dysfunctional city subject to abuse from individuals and entities who (or that) care for nothing but the private domain?
P.S. I have a lot more pictures, but uploading them is hellish because of the slow internet connection. I will try to post them with time.