INTRODUCTION An uneasy calm is resting on the city of Beirut as efforts are made to retain the successful ceasefire which ended the Lebanese civil war.
INTRODUCTION An uneasy calm is resting on the city of Beirut as efforts are made to retain the successful ceasefire which ended the Lebanese civil war. But there are still reports of fighting, particularly in the south of the country. In the capital, there are isolated incidents of gunfire and there are still clashes between rival factions. Peace there is still an ideal rather than a reality.
SYNOPSIS: Visitors to Beirut today could be forgiven for not noticing anything amiss. The streets of the capital are busy more with civilian traffic. Life, by some accounts, is returning to normal. The civil war lasted for nearly two years but not all parts of the city display the open wounds of war.
The people here, though, have little time to ponder it. There's work to be done -- and a lot of work if Beirut is to be restored to its former glory as the bubbling, wealthy, western-style financial capital of the Middle East.
Many Lebanese families who fled in terror at the height of the war have already returned and it's predicted that many more will follow the trend.
The familiar vendors, who disappeared during the street fighting, have also made a comeback. And now visitors can enjoy a glass of fresh orange juice where before a glass of water would have been novel. Other commodities, scare during the war, are becoming more freely available. But it has also meant racketeering.
Some of the customers are the soldiers of the predominantly Syrian army of peacekeepers who occupy Lebanon. The relatively free sophisticated life-style of the Lebanese is an attraction to the Syrians, many of whom are reported to be more like tourists than soldiers at times.