Lebanon’s mountains are being wiped from the map – but does anyone care?

‘We had a court order for the quarries to stop but after five days the trucks came back and the local police facilitated them’

A quarry cuts into an entire hill in the Lebanese mountains at Tarshish (Nelofer Pazira)

A quarry cuts into an entire hill in the Lebanese mountains at Tarshish (Nelofer Pazira) ( )

Rarely are journalists lost for words. But how do you describe the destruction of entire mountains, the slashing down of tens of thousands of pine trees, the very shape of the landscape changed by more than 3,000 quarries which have ripped apart the geography of Lebanon and made a new map of its blessed and ancient land – the Massacre of the Mountains?

Is that good enough for a story which should shock the world if it occurred in Europe or America? I call it the Castration of Lebanon. Its fruits are dirt and crumbled rock and contaminated lakes.

The tops of entire mountainsides – millions of tons of sand and rock – have been ripped away by diggers, excavators and bulldozers to provide concrete for Beirut’s canyons of grotesque high-rise apartments: for its villas and gated city suburbs and the Lebanese Mediterranean coastal hotels.

Greed, corruption, poverty and a shameful, selfish, confessional government are to blame. Even now, as Lebanon’s sectarian parties fight for seats in a new cabinet, their nation is being physically torn apart. All they need to do is pass a law – just one piece of legislation – to stop this anarchy.



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