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Useful Notes / Beirut

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Capital and largest city of Lebanon and the most diverse city in the Middle East. During the Cedar Revolution of 2005, cynics noted the presence of Arab women in revealing outfits. People who knew Lebanon were amused at the cynics' cynicism; the Lebanese in general are famously tolerant (when they're not shooting at each other), and the Beirutis most of all.

Beirut is mostly known because of the civil war. Suicide bombing as a military tactic started here, the most notable case being the attack on U.S. and French Marines in 1983. This is really rather unfortunate, since the Beirutis themselves would prefer you ignored the occasional outbreaks of violence and focused on the important things—like Beirut's bustling business scene (because the city is in a good spot for trade, and also because the Lebanese Diaspora gives it business contacts everywhere), culture (numerous artists and publishers—the old chestnut in the Arab literary world is that Egypt writes, Lebanon prints, and Iraq reads), and nightlife (something for everyone: even if you don't drink, the coffeeshops can accommodate you with any herbal beverage you care to name...and sometimes other "herbal" items as well, if that's your thing). Oh, and the outbreaks of warfare? Good for the construction business.

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On a lighter note, do not attempt to drive in Beirut unless you are absolutely certain you know what you're doing. Or unless you are absolutely certain you don't.


Appearances in fiction:

  • James Bond goes to Beirut in The Man with the Golden Gun in order to steal the remains of a golden bullet that killed a 00 agent to a Belly Dancer. (the crew never went to Beirut, it was all shot in Pinewood Studios)
  • Anthony Bourdain was filming here for No Reservations and got stuck in the most recent war conflict. After getting out of there, he used the footage and presented the episode anyway. The episode won an Emmy.
  • Featured thrice in Globe Trekker, first with Ian Wright and later with Merrilees Parker and Megan McCormick.
  • Waltz with Bashir has portions taking place in Beirut during the 1982 War, including the Sabra and Shatila massacre.
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  • Modern Warfare: Kamarov owed Captain Price for something that happened here.
  • Animaniacs: The Warners moved here.
  • The civil war in Beirut is covered in Spy Game.
  • Mac Taylor in CSI: NY was injured by a suicide bomber when he was stationed in Beirut as a marine in the 1980s.
  • Phantom Doctrine is set in 1983. Its CIA campaign starts with the player's hideout in Beirut, there's occasional references to the war, and the suicide attack against the US embassy is a plot point, causing the death of Leslie, the protagonist's mentor in the CIA.

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