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The Negative Aspects of Lebanese Culture and their Influence on Our Mentality as a People

Rafidi

Legendary Member
As someone who has travelled widely and observed how different nationalities interact, behave and live their lives, one common thing I observe in Lebanese character (generally from all sects) is the "too seriousness" of Lebanese people and their affinity for putting a display of bravado.

I was watching CNN today, and as they normally show on daily basis, there was an image of the NYSE. At the opening bell, the people captured on camera were cheering, laughing, giving hi5s and generally in a happy mood. This is something very hard to find in Lebanese people. Even when we joke with each others, it is done in a way to belittle the other party or individual. Roo7 ya 7mar, etc.

I believe there is something inherently wrong with us or with our nature or may be possible influence from our food, environment, climate that plays on our genes and hormones.

We are also good at putting up a front and acting in pretense. Many may even deny my observations and perfectly try to paint another picture. This front of being "too serious" is manifested in many ways: from work to school to the home etc. A cousin of mine for the first time moved to Lebanon. He said he cannot live over here because "people appear too strict"! Everyone is trying to impress the other and is forceful/aggressive.

Then there is this attitude of "3antariyyet". In Lebanon, even the frail looking skinny dude talks big and behave as if he is Rambo! A skinny dude and frail looking guy can boast that if a hefty muscular and 6ft guy had spoken to him the way lhe spoke to you or to another person, he would have beaten the hell out of him! 2abadai! When push comes to shove, he will keep quiet and observe like an innocent puppy. Others may actually not observe but cause trouble.

I was once taking a public transport, and there was this guy carrying a bleeding wound heading to the hospital. The driver asked him what is wrong: he said he was trying to get hold of a wild dog with his bare hands and it bit him! The driver told him why would he attempt to capture a wild dog with his bare hands. He said he is a "man". That even though the dog bit him, at least he proved to be a man and was not scared unlike others who didn't attempt to retrain the dog. He saw his stupidity as a way of expressing bravery and boasting over it.

Recently, we saw how a Rambo in dahiyeh attacked a restaurant with a machine gun because the owner refused to pay an illegal fee for "protection".

Interacting with other nationalities, you may hear that Lebanese are troublesome people.

This thread is focusing on the violent behavior of Lebanese people, their aggressive attitude, always acting strict and serious, even when there is no need for that and always having a motive to appear strong, courageous, brave and powerful over others. This sort of character may cause others to perceive them as less sociable and confrontational and unpleasant.

You may feel free to give more examples of such character. For example, some member on this forum, when reacting in anger to my posts, always adds the word "wleh" while addressing me to sound like a scary monster who wants to swallow me in his little mind!

What is really responsible for such behaviors? Is it our environment? Or food, upbringing or climate? Is it our experiences in a barren land where most of its citizens are living abroad? Or is it the wars and years of fighting ourselves and also, external aggression? Do our neighbors behave or misbehave similar? Is it a general Arab problem? Is it a general Middle Eastern problem? Do other Middle Easterners have the same character?

How can we change the average Lebanese to become more gentle, respectful, mild, accommodating, tolerant, less aggressive and more pleasant and sociable and approachable etc? Here I am not generalizing. I am talking about the average Lebanese guy, who may not be very educated or from a rich family. However, such behaviors aren't even restricted to a class as we saw with Nouhad al Mashno, our interior minister, who assaulted a businessman by hitting him on the chest on camera and told him: "you don't know whom you're talking to"! Do we feel appealed to such mad behaviors? We have many cases of our bravado mentality displayed by our politicians. We can remember General Aoun telling Gmayyel that he isn't up to his zinnar (waistline). Ali Ammar famously stating that anyone who wants to mention Hezballah should clean his mouth first! There is the popular quote attributed to Nabih Berri: that if he SHN asks his followers to go to the streets, he can pull then out of the streets with a word. But that if he asks his to go to the streets, no one can pull them out of the streets (meaning not even himself)!

So really what is our problem with life and society? What makes us have an affinity for bravado and show of aggression? Do we feel it is appealing?
 

Rafidi

Legendary Member
Lol didn't know you were one of those feminists anti-"toxic masculinity"!

I do not identify with the label as a feminist, even though I do share/agree with some of their principles.

So do you want to deny Lebanese men have toxic masculinity? Or should I say toxic insecurity. It is an oxymoron for masculinity to be associated with toxicity. There is nothing masculine about our toxicity and display of senseless bravadoes.
 
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JB81

Legendary Member
I do not identify with the label as a feminist, even though I do share/agree with some of their principles.

So do you want to deny Lebanese men have toxic masculinity? Or should I say toxic insecurity. It is an oxymoron for masculinity to be associated with toxicity. There is nothing masculine about our toxicity and display of senseless bravadoes.

Is bullying others on the forum considered toxic and senseless bravadoes?
 

Rafidi

Legendary Member
Does good temperament, a smile, a laugh, humility, kindness, reciprocity of respect, manners, courtesy etc. appear as emasculation?

Do you all remember the muscular guy like a bodybuilder who came out of his car and used a knife to butcher to death another driver in front of the wife in a road rage? Has he been sentenced to death? Or has his matter been swept under the carpet as usual through wasta? If such a beast is not sentenced to death to set an example, how many more "3antars" will feel unrestrained to carry out similar actions? We have all forgotten about his case until another innocent victim is killed by a Lebanese Rambo.

Once, in Beirut, close to Mar Mkhayel, I was in a taxi. The door of a bus shut on its own with a bang. The bus driver imagined that the taxi I was in had hit his bus. He got angry and decided to use his vehicle to block the taxi's way. He then brought his head down and addressed the taxi driver: "if you speak a word, I will come down and break you and those with you into pieces". The taxi driver realizing the idiot the bus driver is apologized for no reason and placed his right hand on his head and told him: " 7a22ak 3alaina". Then feeling empowered, the idiot drove off! Among the two men, who is more masculine? To whom would you give your daughter into marriage?
 

Libnene Qu7

Super Ultra Senior Member
Orange Room Supporter
I think this is a general problem throughout the world. But in Arab countries it is more pronounced. You should see Jordanians and Iraqis, our 3anater are frafir compared to them.

I think it is all down to lack of education. The Arab world ranks poorest in terms of educational advancement and literacy. So we fall back on our primitive instincts and act in despicable ways as you mentioned.
 

Indie

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
As someone who has travelled widely and observed how different nationalities interact, behave and live their lives, one common thing I observe in Lebanese character (generally from all sects) is the "too seriousness" of Lebanese people and their affinity for putting a display of bravado.

I was watching CNN today, and as they normally show on daily basis, there was an image of the NYSE. At the opening bell, the people captured on camera were cheering, laughing, giving hi5s and generally in a happy mood. This is something very hard to find in Lebanese people. Even when we joke with each others, it is done in a way to belittle the other party or individual. Roo7 ya 7mar, etc.

I believe there is something inherently wrong with us or with our nature or may be possible influence from our food, environment, climate that plays on our genes and hormones.

We are also good at putting up a front and acting in pretense. Many may even deny my observations and perfectly try to paint another picture. This front of being "too serious" is manifested in many ways: from work to school to the home etc. A cousin of mine for the first time moved to Lebanon. He said he cannot live over here because "people appear too strict"! Everyone is trying to impress the other and is forceful/aggressive.

Then there is this attitude of "3antariyyet". In Lebanon, even the frail looking skinny dude talks big and behave as if he is Rambo! A skinny dude and frail looking guy can boast that if a hefty muscular and 6ft guy had spoken to him the way lhe spoke to you or to another person, he would have beaten the hell out of him! 2abadai! When push comes to shove, he will keep quiet and observe like an innocent puppy. Others may actually not observe but cause trouble.

I was once taking a public transport, and there was this guy carrying a bleeding wound heading to the hospital. The driver asked him what is wrong: he said he was trying to get hold of a wild dog with his bare hands and it bit him! The driver told him why would he attempt to capture a wild dog with his bare hands. He said he is a "man". That even though the dog bit him, at least he proved to be a man and was not scared unlike others who didn't attempt to retrain the dog. He saw his stupidity as a way of expressing bravery and boasting over it.

Recently, we saw how a Rambo in dahiyeh attacked a restaurant with a machine gun because the owner refused to pay an illegal fee for "protection".

Interacting with other nationalities, you may hear that Lebanese are troublesome people.

This thread is focusing on the violent behavior of Lebanese people, their aggressive attitude, always acting strict and serious, even when there is no need for that and always having a motive to appear strong, courageous, brave and powerful over others. This sort of character may cause others to perceive them as less sociable and confrontational and unpleasant.

You may feel free to give more examples of such character. For example, some member on this forum, when reacting in anger to my posts, always adds the word "wleh" while addressing me to sound like a scary monster who wants to swallow me in his little mind!

What is really responsible for such behaviors? Is it our environment? Or food, upbringing or climate? Is it our experiences in a barren land where most of its citizens are living abroad? Or is it the wars and years of fighting ourselves and also, external aggression? Do our neighbors behave or misbehave similar? Is it a general Arab problem? Is it a general Middle Eastern problem? Do other Middle Easterners have the same character?

How can we change the average Lebanese to become more gentle, respectful, mild, accommodating, tolerant, less aggressive and more pleasant and sociable and approachable etc? Here I am not generalizing. I am talking about the average Lebanese guy, who may not be very educated or from a rich family. However, such behaviors aren't even restricted to a class as we saw with Nouhad al Mashno, our interior minister, who assaulted a businessman by hitting him on the chest on camera and told him: "you don't know whom you're talking to"! Do we feel appealed to such mad behaviors? We have many cases of our bravado mentality displayed by our politicians. We can remember General Aoun telling Gmayyel that he isn't up to his zinnar (waistline). Ali Ammar famously stating that anyone who wants to mention Hezballah should clean his mouth first! There is the popular quote attributed to Nabih Berri: that if he SHN asks his followers to go to the streets, he can pull then out of the streets with a word. But that if he asks his to go to the streets, no one can pull them out of the streets (meaning not even himself)!

So really what is our problem with life and society? What makes us have an affinity for bravado and show of aggression? Do we feel it is appealing?

I have noticed the same. As a woman, I haven't had to deal with such attitude. It's something that happens mostly between men.

However, simply walking down the street, especially in certain areas, is very uncomfortable because of the verbal harrassment, staring, and even being followed by creeps. I was once feeling upset and went for a walk to relax but ended up more upset because I wasn't left alone. This was in a very public place, in broad daylight.

A lot of men in Lebanon seem to have nothing better to do than to hang out on the sidewalk in front of shops. You can't walk to the grocery store without being stared at creepily.

There is also a general trait that is not exclusive to men, but shared by women as well: people constantly talk badly about each other. You visit person A and they trash talk person B and vice versa. Wherever you go, all you hear is people gossiping about each other and tearing each other down. Even if you refuse to get involved, they just don't shut up. They go on and on until you have a headache and want to run away. By the time you leave, you are drained.

In fact, Lebanese people talk way too much, in general, and never let you put a word in...never ask about you except to pry in your business in a judgmental way. All they talk about is themselves...either to boast (over the stupidest things) or to complain (over the stupidest things).

People in Lebanon are self-obsessed, arrogant, superficial, petty, and mean-spirited. They only "care" about you if they think they can gain something from you.

There are exceptions, of course, but the more I visit Lebanon, the more Western I feel.
 

Rafidi

Legendary Member
I think this is a general problem throughout the world. But in Arab countries it is more pronounced. You should see Jordanians and Iraqis, our 3anater are frafir compared to them.

I think it is all down to lack of education. The Arab world ranks poorest in terms of educational advancement and literacy. So we fall back on our primitive instincts and act in despicable ways as you mentioned.

They mistake these attitudes, character and behaviors for masculinity, honor etc.

Then of course, you have the music and films we listen to. The series everyone is glued to during the month of Ramadan is Bab al Hara. I find this series very primitive, and distasteful. It is full of 3antariyyet and negative behaviors that youths imitate.

We also have our music. Our love songs are like war chants! Listen to Mhammad Eskandar, Fares Karam etc. They will sing about committing acts of violence for the sake of the girl they love etc. Such songs expressing violence appeal to the general populace and they want to sell their songs.
 

Dark Angel

Legendary Member
why are middle-easterners more prone to violence, irrationality, ill temperament, ill humor, and why do they suffer from a warped perspective of reality?

jeeee... if only we could figure out what could have such a tremendous impact on culture and what could influence people as such. what could it be? what could it be? what could it be?

oh i got it! it must be Paul.
 
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Libnene Qu7

Super Ultra Senior Member
Orange Room Supporter
They mistake these attitudes, character and behaviors for masculinity, honor etc.

Then of course, you have the music and films we listen to. The series everyone is glued to during the month of Ramadan is Bab al Hara. I find this series very primitive, and distasteful. It is full of 3antariyyet and negative behaviors that youths imitate.

We also have our music. Our love songs are like war chants! Listen to Mhammad Eskandar, Fares Karam etc. They will sing about committing acts of violence for the sake of the girl they love etc. Such songs expressing violence appeal to the general populace and they want to sell their songs.

These cultural aspects are an effect of environment and not a cause. I do not believe that violent movies and songs make violent people. I think violent people produce such works.

As I said, the answer is education, education, education. The Arab world has the worst education to defense ratio in government expenditures than anywhere else on earth. Our governments prefer tanks and warplanes over schools, colleges, and universities. Politics aside, what do you think makes Israel so successful in the face of the Arab world? Their clinging to educating their population is over-zealous.

As Nizar Qabbani once said, we are the type of culture that cleans windows with newspapers reads coffee cups.
 

Rafidi

Legendary Member
why are middle-easterners more prone to violence, irrationality, ill temperament, ill humor, and why do they suffer from a warped perspective of reality?

jeeee... if only we could figure out what could have such a tremendous impact on culture and what could influence people as such. what could it be? what could it be? what could it be?

oh i got it! it must be Paul.

Oh please...don't bring religion into this. In fact, the religious ones happen to be the milder ones on a personal/individual level. As far as you're Middle Eastern, you're prone to these qualities mentioned. Christians aren't left out. I think its in the genes. Something inherently wrong.
 

Rafidi

Legendary Member
why are middle-easterners more prone to violence, irrationality, ill temperament, ill humor, and why do they suffer from a warped perspective of reality?

jeeee... if only we could figure out what could have such a tremendous impact on culture and what could influence people as such. what could it be? what could it be? what could it be?

oh i got it! it must be Paul.

Oh, let me remind you of Samir Geagea's "bay bayyah" remark! Samir Geagea is the Christ incarnate to some Maronite Christians. The same mentality, all of them. Hot headed and temperamental, impulsive, quick to display fireworks from their hotheadedness. They are always on the lookout for trouble. Zero idea about humility. Arrogance is sanctified as machismo. Inherent wickedness and sugarcoated and justified hatred for one another.
 

Dark Angel

Legendary Member
Oh please...don't bring religion into this. In fact, the religious ones happen to be the milder ones on a personal/individual level. As far as you're Middle Eastern, you're prone to these qualities mentioned. Christians aren't left out. I think its in the genes. Something inherently wrong.
it is a normal outcome when the region hasn't relatively known any peace in more than a thousand years. religion is part of the equation, whether one likes it or not makes no difference. the people in the west are generally polite, easy going, clean, well mannered, respectful and respectable, they live by rules that are very different from yours, they work on themselves to address their flaws, they evolve and they progress. that cannot happen in a world where half the mothers who give births drive their newborn babies back to a tent on a scooter, only to get pregnant again a few days later.
 

Rafidi

Legendary Member
it is a normal outcome when the region hasn't relatively known any peace in more than a thousand years. religion is part of the equation, whether one likes it or not makes no difference. the people in the west are generally polite, easy going, clean, well mannered, respectful and respectable, they live by rules that are very different from yours, they work on themselves to address their flaws, they evolve and they progress. that cannot happen in a world where half the mothers who give births drive their newborn babies back to a tent on a scooter, only to get pregnant again a few days later.

I am talking more about character, attitudes and mentally as a people, and especially on the individual level. Not politics and violence. Even if we "evolve" and we settle all our political differences and there's peace, our attitudes as individuals are still based on arrogance. In Latin American countries, we see high crime rates. Not long ago, someone opened a thread questioning black people and asking if their genes play a part in their supposed penchant for violence. Something is inherently wrong with our psyche and I opened this thread about us. Even the frail dude who cannot fight is arrogant and full of himself. Not sociable. The Europeans have fought many wars...they may even be whispering in sweet voices while they throw grenades or shooting with a smile. That's not the same thing about the average Lebanese. Even when we sing love songs, we are fighting and want to break people's heads and legs! Even in times of peace, we are always in heightened emotions. The topic itself has nothing to do with politics or religion. It is more about, if not solely, about people and their mentality and attitudes.
 

Dark Angel

Legendary Member
I am talking more about character, attitudes and mentally as a people, and especially on the individual level. Not politics and violence. Even if we "evolve" and we settle all our political differences and there's peace, our attitudes as individuals are still based on arrogance. In Latin American countries, we see high crime rates. Not long ago, someone opened a thread questioning black people and asking if their genes play a part in their supposed penchant for violence. Something is inherently wrong with our psyche and I opened this thread about us. Even the frail dude who cannot fight is arrogant and full of himself. Not sociable. The Europeans have fought many wars...they may even be whispering in sweet voices while they throw grenades or shooting with a smile. That's not the same thing about the average Lebanese. Even when we sing love songs, we are fighting and want to break people's heads and legs! Even in times of peace, we are always in heightened emotions. The topic itself has nothing to do with politics or religion. It is more about, if not solely, about people and their mentality and attitudes.
the individual is not parachuted from above, the individual is simply a leaf on a tree which is rooted in culture and traditions. they cannot be separated from each other. the reason why we are surrounded by grim faces and by ungracious people is because this the product of the dominant culture in our region. people on this side of the world do not grow and are very immature, in particular emotionally, despite the large number of years they accumulate. individuals are simply a reflection of their culture, and one of the main components of culture is religion and ideologies. in this side of world being gracious, kind and friendly instead of being grim, serious and menacing is very often mistaken for being weak, and around here people cannot afford to be weak, they will be torn to pieces, as individuals and as entire societies.
 

Rafidi

Legendary Member
the individual is not parachuted from above, the individual is simply a leaf on a tree which is rooted in culture and traditions. they cannot be separated from each other. the reason why we are surrounded by grim faces and by ungracious people is because this the product of the dominant culture in our region. people on this side of the world do not grow and are very immature, in particular emotionally, despite the large number of years they accumulate. individuals are simply a reflection of their culture, and one of the main components of culture is religion and ideologies. in this side of world being gracious, kind and friendly instead of being grim, serious and menacing is very often mistaken for being weak, and around here people cannot afford to be weak, they will be torn to pieces, as individuals and as entire societies.

For instance, why do Lebanese bosses find pleasure in yelling and cursing instead of explaining and being understanding? In some of the countries I have been to and worked, the Lebanese employer is seen as abusive and exploitative. They are in competition with the Indians and Chinese for being seen as "exploitative". And seeing how Lebanese society is and how our leaders exploit their followers for power and inheritance of political posts, and how the poor/weak/lower classes have no say in the future of their country, I am not shocked! Many of our MPs are rich billionaires. How would a billionaire feel with the less privileged in the society? How are we going to instill change? Our culture is more about power, money, and class. Even things like religion, sect and other identities we create to discriminate on are just means.
 

opium

Well-Known Member
Good topic. You should add that religion and tribalism are important factors for such behaviors. Where an important portion of your population still believe in honor crimes even for the silliest reasons.
Moreover Lebanese media/news are spreading bad/negative vibes since decades ! Which is also contributing to such behaviors.
When you watch the news you feel like you want to go out and kill someone, and the same shit has been going on since I woke up to this world. They never point out on anything positive.
 
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