As long as I can remember, Beirut has been the go-to example of a war-torn city. Only as an adult did I learn that Beirut used to be the Paris of the Middle East. According to Resolving the Clash of Civilizations, it’s on its way back:
I recently returned home from Beirut, Lebanon, where I spent a month covering the democratic Cedar Revolution and Syria’s withdrawal from the country after a 30 year-long occupation. Few places in the world beat Beirut as a foreign assignment. The city is packed from one end to the other with the classiest hotels, the hippest night clubs, the most stylish bars, the fanciest restaurants, the coziest cafes, and the best shopping districts this side of New York and Paris. But Lebanon’s sophisticated and freewheeling culture isn’t the only thing that makes a trip to that country both attractive and memorable. Nor is the nascent democracy movement the only encouraging news. One of the best stories out of Lebanon is the one that receives almost no coverage at all — the end of the long-simmering sectarian hatefest and a genuine yearning for friendship between Christians and Muslims.