Lesson 7: Lebanon

This week we’re going to travel to Lebanon, which has long been one of the most open-minded, forward-looking countries in the region. We’re going to learn a little about always-progressive Lebanese music and tout the capital, Beirut, as “the Paris of the Middle East.” Unfortunately we’re also going to recount the sad story of Lebanon’s fifteen year Civil War during which so many groups fought so many others, tracing the origins of their disagreements back and back and back, some of them over a thousand years.

HISTORY: Like the other nations we’ve visited so far during our whirlwind tour of West Asia and the Middle East, Lebanon has a history that is thousands of years long, features many unexpected narrative twists and turns and, sadly, tells of recent unfortunate upheaval…

MUSIC : Known throughout the Arab world for being an open-minded, cosmopolitan place to make art, Lebanon has long been at the center of Arabic musical cool….

LANGUAGE: Most people in Lebanon speak either the Standard or North Levantine dialects of Arabic. What’s the difference between the two…?

WHEN YOU GO THERE: Lebanon seems like a heck of a nice place to visit….

DABKE: The primary Lebanese folk dance is the dabke which is centuries old. No one really knows the dabke’s origins, though one tradition explains that the dance began in a region where houses were built of stone walls but had roofs made of wood, straw and dirt….

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