The first we usually think about when hearing "Lebanon" are the civil wars this country has suffered and which divided the country alike to the Wall in Berlin for some time into a Christian and an Islamic Quarter.
The elder generation probably still remembers that the Lebanon only is about a quarter of the size of Switzerland, i.e. a little over 10.000 square kilometers. Of which 200 km are beach. The climate is moderate with a more humid coastal area and more arid parts close to the Syrian border and also having mountains of 3000 m height.
And we remember the cedar - a tree that the Lebanon sports on its banner, but which hardly can be found any more in nature.
Whoever had business contacts to the Lebanon will remember that it was reffered to as "Switzerland of the Middle East" and the bank system there was the most developped of the Arab countries.
It's capital city, Beirut, was often referred to as "Paris of the Middle East" and now is well on it's way to deserve that title again.
So, is it really possible to celebrate big parties in the Lebanon as we know them? Various travel and media worldwide seem to be in accordance with this theory.
Even Paris Hilton discovered Beirut as party city. Of course Lebanon has a variety of interesting cultural attractions, like Baalbek that is famous internationally for it's open-air concerts. But in that area the rather traditional islamic life is followed, i.e. veiled women on the streets and martial pictures along the streets.
Beirut: even today the ruins from the last fights can be found, next to them huge construction sites and right in between: clubs with lavish parties which are in no way less than those held in New York clubs, the Sky-Bar being the best example for that. Even the permissiveness of these parties is about the same.
The Lebanese pop music has a terrific beat, it's pounding the party goers into dancing. The women know about their exotic beauty and of course they do everything to enhance this beauty and show off.
Contrary to many other arab countries it's not forbidden to have a partner of the same gender. Socially this might still be a problem. But then, who does not know the pressure a family can put on you to marry and procreate? But all in all the Lebanon is quite tolerant - and this has become known abroad.
Special travel agencies have evolved for gay and lesbian travellers and Beirut made it on their top list. For instance Beirut has a beauty pagant for gay men and flirting is allowed - okay as long as the family does not get to know it (Does this sound familiar to you - the pressure is similar all over the world). Once a certain age has been reached where the family considers you "left on the shelf" you're more free to follow your preferences.
Unfortunately this is one of the less flattering nicknames this city vibrating with life has been given by many traditionalists.
Beirut has suffered a lot of terrible events in its recent past: murders, bomb attacks, assassinations (for which there even is a sightseeing tour which is rather morbid, don't you think?). So who would judge a city guilty when it's celebrating life in a euphoric manner during the peaceful times? Gaining memories for future hard times and pushing away the old memories of the atrocities this people suffered, no matter which side they were fighting for - if they were taking a side at all.
What do you need for access to one of the highly-renowned clubs on top of the roofs of Beirut, again let's take Sky-Bar as an example: Same as you need worldwide. Your outfit should be extraordinary, your partner should be of a certain look and of course: a reservation! Months might pass until you get a reservation for a table. And the bouncers of the elite clubs are very picky in choosing the guests who are allowed to experience this unique atmosphere.
that's how Beirut celebrates. And the young men - again like everywhere in the world - love to show off their powerful cars. And if a traffic jam happens - who cares, you'll be seen longer with your companion and the car. For a country that's just now leaving behind the last war legacies it is really astonishig how many luxury cars and luxuries in general can be found in the city. Rue Monot is kind of infamous. Not too long ago this was where the green line divided the city and one wasn't allowed to cross it unchallenged. Nowadays it's a thriving quarter with famous discos, clubs and bars. When the green line was dismounted this area was almost dead - bombed ruins. The new tenants could claim buildings for their clubs without anybody getting in their way. After some time the buildings were remodeled by the club owners and todays more modern look evolved. And live is pulsing until the early morning comes.
Christians and Muslims are celebrating peacefully - why can't it be always like that? Why can we celebrate without causing fights, but not live without doing so?
In Beirut you can celebrate joyfully without having to hide it. An example some other Arab countries slowly start following, for which the techno/rave parties in Wadi Rum (Jordany) are a good example.