Essay: The Lebanese Dance of Death

In the Arab world, there is a widespread belief that if a child is too beautiful or brilliant, he may attract the evil eye. Parents were once known to disfigure especially pretty babies in order to protect them. God should have arranged some such mild, pre-emptive mutilation for Lebanon. He did not, however.

Lebanon was always as sweet and cunning and ancient and beautiful as the world. It was literate, rich, fabulous, chic as Atlantis in better days. No land was ever luckier, more cosmopolitan. If you drove in from the east, out of...

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