The Christian Science Monitor

For Lebanese, government dysfunction has a new, tragic cost

Faysal Itani hasn’t forgotten the sweltering summer he worked at the Beirut port as a teenager in the late 1990s, because after 15 years of civil war, it was a rare period of hope, optimism, and rebuilding for Lebanon.

Forced to take the menial job by his father as a “character-building exercise,” Mr. Itani inputted shipping data into obsolete computers at an aged administrative complex. Fellow workers teased him for his enthusiasm, “but spirits were high enough, and things did get done.”

By then, the rejuvenated face of Beirut had already changed dramatically since the end of the war in 1990, when Mr. Itani used to play a game with his father about who could be the first to spot a building not scarred

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