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Written by The ProphetEdited by The MetallianLebanon a nation that once proudly called itself the Switzerland of theMiddle East is today a country in name only Its government controlslittle more than half of the nations capital Beirut Its once-vibranteconomy is a shambles And its society is fragmented - so fragmented somebelieve that it may be impossible to re-create a unified state responsiveto the needs of all its varied peoplesLebanon lies on the eastern shore of the Mediterranea n Sea in that partof southwestern Asia known as the Middle East Because of its location -at the crossroads of Asia Europe and Africa - Lebanon has been the centerof commerce and trade for thousands of years It has also been on theroute of numerous conquering armiesWith an area of 4015 square miles Lebanon is one of the smallestcountries in the Middle East It is smaller than every state in the UnitedStates except Delaware Rhode Island and Connecticut Lebanon issandwiched between Syria in the north and east and Israel in the southThe maximum distance from the nations northern border to the southern oneis only 130 miles And the maximum distance from the Mediterranean Sea tothe Lebanon-Syria border is 50 miles In the south along the border withIsrael Lebanons eastern border is only 20 miles from the seaAlthough a tiny land Lebanon boasts a great diversity in its landscapewhich makes it one of the most picturesque countries in the world Thecoast line is br oken by many bays and inlets of varying size At somepoints the mountains wade silently right into the sea - then climbsuddenly tier on tier away from the Mediterranean to the sky Because ofthe limitation of flat agricultural land all but the steepest hillsideshave been patiently and neatly terraced and planted with garlands oftwisted grapevines The mountains lend a great variety of hues - palepink rosy red forest green or deep purple - to the landscape Dependingon the time of day they never appear the
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