Letter from Beirut
5

Beirut, After Osama

The other day I ventured out into the sun-drenched city of Beirut, where I saw cafes and restaurants packed with young people spending money. At a stainless steel table, buff men ate olives. Nearby, two young women in gold shirts talked over a stack of books. One title: Elite Management Training. Down the block, a gleaming red Ferrari rolled by and a transvestite teetered on heels. Osama bin Laden had just been killed.

On a quiet side street, I ducked into a grocery and asked a woman in head scarf where to buy wine. With a hateful roll of her eyes, she clicked her tongue, seeming to say: I [...]