Downtown is Down
I recieved a mass-forwarded email today and I think it carries a valid point and needs exposure, so I'm going to paste it's contents here. It's quite lengthy so I took liberty in truncating it:
>>To Whom It May Concern...
>>In the last couple days, we have heard press releases of meetings
>>the owners of cafés, restaurants and shops in the downtown district. It
>>seems that in the process of honoring and mourning the loss of Rafik al
>>Harriri, regular patrons to the district have shied away due to the
>>proximity of its restaurants and cafés to the burial site of Rafik
>>and Martyrs square, a sight that has become associated with
>>and more importantly, mourning. This is clearly understandable and an
>>honorable show of respect for the deceased and his family, as well as a
>>show of solidarity with the current national sentiment.
>>However, at a disheartening five percent of regular levels, the
>>of visitors to downtown is having an invisible but very dangerous and
>>distressing effect. If the situation remains unchanged, the owners of
>>businesses in downtown will be forced to close down their
>>Already, the number of employees has been slashed in half to cope with
>>freeze of incoming funds. Not out of sympathy with the owners of
>>in the district, but out of solidarity with and consideration for the
>>of employees, most of whom are students, working as waiters or salesmen
>>order to help their parents pay for their education and livelihood, I
>>somberly urge the Lebanese to return to downtown.
>>Those who have reverted to dining in restaurants and café's or shopping
>>malls and boutiques further away from downtown, chose these distant
>>locations because they believe it is disrespectful, unpatriotic and
>>unsympathetic to dine or shop near the grave of Rafik al Harriri. But we
>>must weigh the issue of respect with the unnecessary burden placed on
>>shoulders of these young employees when they are stripped of their jobs
>>their livelihood. For the sake of solidarity and unity of all Lebanese,
>>the sake of patriotism and the economic welfare of Lebanon, and for the
>>sake of respect for a Lebanese hero, we must ensure that no Lebanese
>>suffer any additional hardships at this time. It is not right, nor is it
>>fair. Though it is difficult, we, the Lebanese people as a whole, must
>>change our perceptions and make it not only acceptable, but patriotic
>>commendable to return to downtown.
>>We must also remember that Rafik al Harriri dedicated much of his life
>>cause. He did not work to simply renovate downtown, his efforts were an
>>attempt to bring the district, the heart of Beirut, back to life.
>>its patrons, and without its economic viability, Rafik al Harrir's dream
>>will have died.
>>We have begun circulation of a sms message calling for the Lebanese to
>>their respect for Harriri through ensuring the continuation of his dream
>>a lively and bustling downtown representative of Lebanon and the
>>The sms reads as:
>>"Are we shy? We are all going out, but no longer to down town! Why not?
>>heart of Beirut that Harriri rebuilt and loved; lets keep it alive and
>>allow the killers to kill him twice... Make sure you take your family
>>town. See you there. Please forward to all..."
>> Any help you can provide in conveying the sentiment of this letter or
>>the reasons behind the sms message to the Lebanese people would be
>>appreciated. It is unjust that Lebanese working in downtown must pay
>>price, and it is a shame that we let the area die. We can help these
>>employees, save the area, and still respect our deceased hero. Thank you
>>for your time and understanding.