A Ramble Through Lebanon

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Question: What is O’Rourke’s overall impression of the Lebanese people? Journalist and satirist P.J. O’Rourke adventures as a tourist through war-devastated Lebanon during the civil war and records his observations in the piece A Ramble Through Lebanon. Through the article, O’Rourke reveals and mocks the Lebanese laugh-at-the-face-of-danger and the general indifferent attitude towards values in life. O’Rourke satirically shows how the Lebanese have lost values in morality, culture and even history as he reveals the many contradictions in their actions. However, despite the degradation of a uniform Lebanese society, he still compliments certain aspects of their culture such as hospitability which shows his respect and praise for what can survive during war. According to O’Rourke, the Lebanese have been affected by the war to the point where they became well accustomed to it. It appears that a set of new characteristics, often contradictory to the original developed within the different Lebanese sects. Many of them are lost values in morality, culture and even history. For example, O’Rourke humorously exposes some of the wealthy Shiites as “not stern zealots… have string bikinis” that often visit “the Summerland Hotel… beach in the ruined south suburbs” (17). Devout Muslims do not readily expose themselves publicly. Moreover, O’Rourke shows how the Lebanese littered excessively with almost total disregard for the well-being of their environment as he satirically states, “the roadside all over Lebanon are piled with trash…beaches and parks are even worse… there’s something about a civil war that brings out the litterbug in people” (24). According to O’Rourke, the Lebanese developed an indifferent, “I couldn’t care less” attitude during the years of war that caused them to abandon and even violate moral civility. Furthermore, the taxi driver nonchalantly called
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