I was driving in my car one night, and was surprised to see 8 or 9 cars in front of me with young teens raising German flags while wearing their jerseys proudly and with so much passion.

In Lebanon, it is not uncommon to see supporters of other nations, especially Brazil or Germany. These fans parade around their towns or cities to demonstrate their passion for a particular country. I shouldn’t have been surprised since growing up in Lebanon had taught me to at one point embrace the world cup culture, and even be a part of it.

While hearing the constant beeping and yelling from my car, a thought occurred to me. There was a strange resemblance between those young, enthusiastic football supporters and those who with just as much passion would raise flags of their particular political group. The same look on their faces, the same blind passion, and the same unmistakable pride did not fill me with joy or enthusiasm, but rather depressed me.

What I saw in front of me was something I believed to be very wrong about this country. Blind passion and lack of critical thinking are the hallmarks of our problems, and while it is much more preferable to see people waving flags for sporting reasons rather than political ones, it is still disheartening to know that something about being Lebanese causes us to return to our tribal roots.

I’m not saying that rooting for a country is bad. I have been a fan of Italy for over 12 years, and I support them very passionately. But I do so quietly, and silently, without the need to display it to everyone I know. It would be much better, I think, if we practiced democracy in the same way in Lebanon.


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