A Visit to the Underworld

This past week I walked into the underworld. Had I not been a filmmaker, I don’t think I would’ve been so calm about it now. The definition of the underworld that I experienced in one of Beirut’s most sectarian neighborhoods is the following: A lot of ignorance, a lot of poverty, a lot of despair, a lot of stress, and a lot of free time on the hands of young men who should be working and/or studying.

That abundance of negativity seems like a perfect place to breed sectarianism. And if this is the case in one of Beirut’s main neighborhoods, it is for sure existent in many others. And after that, one cannot pretend to be surprised if we find ourselves in a “funny* security situation” at any given moment. *Funny is used as an irony -just FYI

But think about these people who inhabit the underworld. They are dangerous and scary people but they are also poor and helpless people. They are people who make you sad and afraid at the same time. These are the people who will accept the olive oil distributed during election season because they have no olive oil, for real. And these are people who will carry a gun and shoot someone from a different sect if you give them a gun and ask them to shoot someone because they are from a different sect. Can we blame them for their poverty and ignorance and fanaticism? I don’t think so. Are they responsible for their own actions? Absolutely.

Author: Niam

Filmmaker/Digital Nomad/Storyteller

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