Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Promotion of the Army

Since a week or so, Lebanon has been flooded with huge billboards promoting the army, see pics below. It's a private initiative by the Abou Merhi Group and it wants to "cash in" on the recent spike in popularity the army is enjoying.

The Lebanese army's image has always been an interesting one, at least that's my impression. It seldom interferes and has preferred to stay neutral ever since the independence of Lebanon. You would think that such attitude would be criticized because of being passive, or worse coward behavior.

Sure, this has happened by various groups over time, but the general feeling seems to be much more positive. People here take pride in their army, especially because it has always been neutral and above the usual political bickering. The reputation of the army is that it's a highly professional, non-corrupt organization. You can mess with the police but don't even think of kidding with the army. Most people would start yelling at a police officer if he wants to give a ticket, but when a soldier tells something, they listen.

That's also an explanation for the huge support now for the army. What has always been an untouchable organization, is suddenly being attacked by a group of mostly foreigners. To most Lebanese, it is quite a shock to see their beloved army being under fire for no apparent reason. After all, what has the army to do with American's stand towards the Muslim world?

There's even a video out now promoting the army. It was shot in Hamra and, unique, it has real soldiers playing their roles. The Daily Star mentioned that the army normally doesn't lend itself for these sort of activities, but exceptionally has agreed to participate.

There are a total of three pics (as far as I know), here they are:

"It's all up to you"

"God is with you,
We are all with you"