A Love/Hate Relationship

Vicky Saade


‘I have a thing for Beirut’. One of the toughest phrases to explain. It is like this draining relationship you have with a partner. You love the fact that you feel comfortable around them but you fear that they might leave you stranded one day. Beirut did leave us stranded and still, we love it regardless. So, what type of love is this?

Unconditional love. It is a selfless act. You are not in it for yourself. You are giving them your all. On the other hand, they can’t seem to get it together and fight for your love in return. Let me elaborate on my words.

We gave Beirut life, parties, museums, restaurants, infinite festivals and infinite love. People come from across all over the world to visit this place. The city’s magnetic energy draws you in and leaves you wanting more. Why? How? 

Not many cities have a vibe like ours. This place is constantly bustling with activities and filled with crowds. From the restaurants with the traditional Lebanese food, to the small businesses that have tiny shops in old stone buildings, to the new modern art museums. The vibe is so radiant and strong. 

Here comes the breakup. 

Beirut is tired. Beirut is filled with homeless people. Beirut is filled with stranded kids on the streets, filled with architectural exhaustion post August 4, 2021.Beirut cannot love us back. Not because it does not feel like it but because it cannot. It is because Beirut is pressured by corruption.

This breakup tore us Lebanese citizens into pieces. They packed their bags, they wanted to leave, and they felt like leaving, so they left. Some of them even found temporary comfort not being close to Beirut. Some of them felt like they gave Beirut one last chance on October 17, 2020.We just cannot walk around carrying Beirut’s problems anymore. The breakup is exhausting.

A dilemma 

In a breakup, usually we do not go back to people that hurt us. However, with this city it is different. There is comfort in familiarity, so sometimes we cling tighter to the good memories than we do to the bad. We remember family gatherings, outings with friends and drinks with colleagues after work. We remember meeting random strangers and instantly becoming friends with them just because we both come from the same village. 

In Beirut’s defense

Maybe we hurt the city, we are on a constant move to change its identity, and we used it as a stage setting for our protests and vandalized its beauty, exhibit A: August 4th.So in Beirut’s defense, are we the problem? Did we break the bond?

Yet, we go back to square one. We go back to a confusing relationship.

We can’t help it. We love Beirut. It’s a love hate relationship.