For heart-broken Lebanese, Dubai is the 'new' Beirut

Thank you for your reading and interest in the news For heart-broken Lebanese, is the 'new' Beirut and now with details

Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Just days after the enormous blast that shattered Beirut, Ali Hammoud found himself looking down on the rubble from an airplane window, leaving behind his family and hometown.

Born and raised in Lebanon's capital, the 30-year-old IT engineer finally decided to head for Dubai after the explosion destroyed his last hopes of ever seeing Beirut prosper.

"It's not easy at all, but I had to finally leave. I feel I've betrayed the city I love to death, but there is nothing left for me there except depression," Mr Hammoud told AFP after arriving in the wealthy Gulf emirate.

A woman reacts during a vigil for the victims lost in a massive explosion, in Beirut, Lebanon. Reuters

People take part during a vigil for the victims lost in a massive explosion, in Beirut, Lebanon. Reuters

People attend a vigil for the victims lost in a massive explosion, in Beirut, Lebanon. Reuters

A nun reacts during a vigil for the victims of the massive explosion, in Beirut. Reuters

A demonstrator lights a candle during protests near the scene of a blast at Beirut's port area. Reuters

A person holds candles during a vigil for the people killed in a massive explosion, in Beirut. Reuters

People take part in a vigil for the victims lost in a massive explosion, in Beirut. Reuters

People take part in a vigil for the victims of the massive explosion, in Beirut. Reuters

People take part in a vigil for the victims lost in a massive explosion, in Beirut. Reuters

5ff282cd34.jpg

"Now I can start a professional career, live in peace and send money back to my family," said Mr Hammoud who had spent a year looking in vain for work before the August 4 disaster that left more than 170 people dead and compounded Lebanon's financial crisis.

Like many of his compatriots longing for safety and stability, the young man has applied for a job in Dubai.

He joins tens of thousands of Lebanese who helped build a glitzy city that reminds them of their parents' tales of the glamour of old Beirut – but with glimmering skyscrapers instead of Ottoman-era and French colonial villas.

Last week's explosion of a long-neglected stock of ammonium nitrate at Beirut's port ripped through the vibrant coastal city known for its rich history as well as legendary nightlife and cuisine.

The fact that Lebanese officials had long tolerated a ticking time-bomb in the heart of the Mediterranean city has served as proof to many of the rot at the core of the state apparatus.

"My aim now is to quickly overcome the guilt of leaving," said Mr Hammoud. "Dubai will be my new Beirut."

Long before the explosion, Lebanon was heading downhill fast.

The country was mired in its worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war, with runaway inflation and bank capital controls fuelling poverty, despair and angry street protests.

Political life in the multi-confessional country has been dominated for three decades by former warlords who exchanged their military fatigues for suits.

Among Sunni Muslim, Christian and myriad other groups, the most powerful force is the Shiite Hezbollah movement.

After years of systematic corruption, unsolved assassination cases, wars with neighbouring Israel, and lack of basic services, many Lebanese now see the country's elite as fighting over the spoils.

They are viewed as beholden to their personal and sectarian interests, rather than the good of the nation of six million.

TOPSHOT - A man drives a car loaded with electronic and household appliances the Dbayeh highway, at the northern entrance of Lebanon's capital Beirut, on August 11, 2020, following a huge chemical explosion that devastated large parts of the city. / AFP / JOSEPH EID
A man drives a car loaded with electronic and household appliances the Dbayeh highway. AFP

"I can't explain how frustrated I am. I had to leave my country years ago because of those warlords. They stole from us and now they kill us?" said Firas Rachid, a 31-year-old salesman who has lived in Dubai since 2016.

Beirut, once famous for top educational and medical establishments, has lost much of its pre-civil war identity, its reputation as an oasis of enlightenment and for its "joie de vivre".

Millions of Lebanese, from doctors to engineers, to teachers and other professions, have emigrated over the years, seeking a better life in the Gulf and beyond.

A handout image obtained from Dubai's Media Office on August 5, 2020 shows workers preparing to load a plane with aid to the Lebanese people in Dubai. The death toll from a huge blast at Lebanon's Beirut port has risen to at least 113, as at least 4,000 people were wounded while dozens of people were still missing as rescue efforts continued, according to the country's health minister. - XGTY / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT
Workers preparing to load a plane with aid to the Lebanese people in Dubai. Dubai Media Office

Some hundreds of thousands of Lebanese now live and work in the six Gulf nations, more than 300,000 of them in the United Arab Emirates alone, mostly in Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

"Why Dubai? We drive in lanes here, we don't fear militiamen holding guns to our heads, we have basic services, and we get paid well," said Mr Rachid.

"My parents always describe Beirut as a hub for the region in the '60s and '70s, but this is exactly what Dubai is now."

In his book "My Story", Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum recalls his first visit to Beirut, years before the civil war that brought the "Paris of the Middle East" to its knees.

"In the early 1960s, its streets were clean, neighbourhoods beautiful, its markets modern. It was a source of inspiration for me. I had a dream for Dubai to become like Beirut some day," he wrote.

Decades later, Dubai has become a magnet for millions of Arabs whose countries have been ravaged by poverty and conflict.

Jordanians, Palestinians, Moroccans and others have opted to instead build their future in the desert city.

It does not have the history or cultural heritage of their homelands, but for many, it is a fair trade-off for peace and financial security.

At a basketball game in Dubai last year between two Lebanese clubs with different sectarian ties, there was no violence, no sectarian chants, only the slogan: "Three, two one! We are one!"

Updated: August 12, 2020 03:50 PM

These were the details of the news For heart-broken Lebanese, Dubai is the 'new' Beirut for this day. We hope that we have succeeded by giving you the full details and information. To follow all our news, you can subscribe to the alerts system or to one of our different systems to provide you with all that is new.

It is also worth noting that the original news has been published and is available at The National and the editorial team at AlKhaleej Today has confirmed it and it has been modified, and it may have been completely transferred or quoted from it and you can read and follow this news from its main source.

PREV EU to reveal asylum pact demanding all member states share burden of migrant numbers
NEXT Hamas in Gaza 'strikes deal to reduce violence'