Sitting at Istanbul Airport, I have to get online to put this in my blog. I'm in love with the Lebanese. What a fantastic people. I can't say anything else than that the Lebanese are now among my favorite people in the world. I don't know enough about the country, the culture, music etc to declare my love, but the people they are amazing.
Truely you will be hard pressed to find people so open and welcoming to weird foreigeners who fly in for 4 days to give a 15 minute speech. We were welcomed by the staff of the Lebanese TRA like we were new friends. The staff of the Lebanese TRA are an extraordinary mix of people. Imagine a regulator with 65% women, most under 35 (30 I would even think and gorgeous). And they are eager, they are knowledgeable, open, they challenge you, but can think for themselves as well. And they are diverse as well. Everything is included from western educated to local educated and even daughters of the Hezbollah clan (who know how to party)
Yes, the Lebanese know how to party too. This night we (ITU staff and this lonely Dutchman) were taken to the Music Hall club by the TRA staff. Here we were treated by live performances of traditional Arabic and modern western music. Amy Winehouse really has a problem if anyone ever discovers Lebanon. It was a full blown party. The whole Music Hall was popping. The booze was (too) richly flowing. I had a blast.
Kind words also should go to the heads of the TRA. Though I didn't see them partying, they do rock. Haven't ever seen such knowledgeable management of telecoms regulators. People who really understand technology, business and regulation. I am almost afraid they are too ambitious for their political situation. I hope it all turns out for the best.
(My love is even extended to such people as a taxi driver who refuses a tip, because we agreed on a fixed price, though there are many stereo typical taxi drivers as well)
I am still proud to be Dutch, but I like the Lebanese alot. I can only say to the Lebanese: Shukran.