The official policy toward emigration in Lebanon

in An Invitation to Laughter

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780226434766
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226434759 | DOI:
The official policy toward emigration in Lebanon

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Because of the raging civil war in Lebanon, many Lebanese left the country on one-way tickets. The first to go were the rich, followed by the professionals, the technicians, and whoever had or was able to find an address abroad. The author thought that this very significant finding must be brought immediately to the attention of the government, so he arranged to meet with the minister of labour and social welfare. His excitement was quelled when he heard him respond, “Tomorrow they shall all return.” The author tried to explain that people who go through the agony of emigration find it difficult to return once they have settled in a new country. To support his argument, he referred to the Irish mass emigration following the potato crop failure in 1846. The government policy towards emigration was perhaps reflected by the minister's reply: “We eat bread in this country, not potatoes.” The American University of Beirut has regained much of its strength since the end of the Lebanese war in 1990.

Keywords: civil war; Lebanon; American University of Beirut; emigration; government policy

Chapter.  3302 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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