When I explain that I’ve had eighteen continuous years of residence in Lebanon; eighteen years as a professor at the Lebanese National Conservatory of Music; eighteen years of marriage to a Lebanese woman; eighteen years of demeaning and costly work permit/ residence permit renewals; eighteen years of living with no social safety net, no social security, no protection under the law, and no retirement beneﬁts; the hair-trigger response is always the same: “This is Lebanon”. This very loaded phrase is the ultimate deal-breaker. It implies apathy, frustration, a painful past and hopelessness. For a foreigner like me it represents an impasse, a ‘catch 22’.
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