Do we really have independent, non-political, undefined spaces in Lebanon?
I don't think so.
Zico House is the closest place in Lebanon to an open space for free debate and artistic promotion.
Everything else is left in the shadows.
Do we live in fear?
Part of it is fear of the government. We can't speak our minds freely, even though Syria is gone. However, it's much better than before where one couldn't even distribute a flier with the word Syria on it without being arrested.
There is fear of being arrested for public expression. Night clubs are ransacked by the police. Independent groups worry that members of state security watch their activities.
There is the fear of shaming the family. The thing that restricts many people the most is the family finding out.
There are excellent art galleries (like Sfeir-Semler), and excellent performance spaces in Monnot and on Hamra. But these spaces are few and far between.
I've had too many friends leave to the freedom of The Netherlands, Germany, England, and New York. Most left for employment, but many left for the political and social freedoms available there. It's far easier to go to Qatar or Saudi, but why go to a place more restrictive than Lebanon, if that matters to you?
I'm feeling restricted right now.