Commanding Respect

Last Sunday, I went to the beach. And even though I absolutely hate going to the beach on weekends, we found a quiet, simple little place where only others, like us, go for some peace and quiet; sun, sea, and sand.

Lebanese shore

As we were making our way back from Jiye (south of Beirut), we were expecting to see the regular vendors of ears of corn, watermelons, and whatever is planted in the vicinity. We sometimes stop by and buy really beautiful ears of corn – you know, the kind you don’t find in even the most prominent supermarkets – before heading home. However, as we drove through the area where they usually set up their little stands, I was shocked to see the first three stands empty, with a few ears of corn laying on the floor. The next three stands seemed to have been the object of a massacre.

Vendor street

Almost all of the ears of corn were on the floor and seemed to have been trampled on. The little wooden planks that the vendors use were broken into pieces and thrown around the stands. Some kids who were driving back from the beach on their motorcycles did not hesitate to stop and steal whatever they could salvage from the scene.

Destroyed stands

As we drove further, we spotted a police car parked nearby. Naively, I thought something had happened to some of the vendors. I did not expect to see one of our very own obese Lebanese policeman, bent over his current pray, holding an obviously handmade baseballbat/hammer-like device and DAMAGING THE CROPS, the old scale, and the whole setup, right in front of a panicked vendor who was, helplessly, participating to the carnage.

I was getting ready to snap a picture when a horde of cars started honking; most of them had slowed down to either witness what was happening as well, or grab whatever they could. But I wish I had taken at lease one snapshot of the expression on that policeman’s face, because that air of enjoyment can rarely be perfected in such circumstances.

Broken stands

I understand these vendors had most probably illegally set up their little businesses on the side of the road. And I also understand that sometimes, a simple warning simply does not cut it. But COMPLETELY destroying their crops? Not only is that insane, but nothing justifies the disrespect of another man’s hours of labor. These people have spent days in the fields.

As far as I have been told (but this is not yet confirmed), these policemen are not given orders to destroy the crops. Their orders are to make sure the stands no longer exist. The stands, NOT the goods. What is this really about?


  1. Faisal Merheb says:

    next Sunday the ones that have managed to get a back up or a wasta will go back and intall their market…mark my word. like the post at least some one has something to say about it.

    like the cover up of the snapshot…better control next time.

  2. Mack says:

    that’s so sad to hear! i think you are talking about the old road of Jiyeh right? not the highway…such a sad story, yet you can’t do anything about it…I had a similar experience with a project we were working on, at the office, it was a car exhibition, and the cops used to stop by weekly, just to say that the paper works is no longer valid and they are going to shut down the project in progress, so the owner had to simply slip a 1000$ in their pockets weekly, until the project was done! insane, i know! i could probably get fired just because I’m mentioning this lol but its all good, let the truth be told! as Faisal said, at least some one has something to say about it.

    1. Oh, no I think it is at the beginning of the highway, it was a very sad sight. Why destroy? There was no need to act all macho-like in front of passerby, hoist his belly-fat on the stand and destroy the corn. Unfortunately, it does happen a lot. So many have completely lost respect for the Lebanese police, who are often seen on their phones, eating or running to buy a sandwich, smoking, or hitting on girls when they are on duty. Such a shame. There should be a website for that…