Postcard from... Beirut
It is an unfortunate truth that it is possible to tell the religious make-up of most areas in Lebanon by the imposing posters of the political leaders that adorn the roadside.
Martyrs, militia leaders and party bosses – dead and alive – stare out over their constituents in a constant reminder of the physical divisions that still exist in the country.
But a new face has appeared by the side of the road in recent weeks. Posters of Pope Benedict XVI have been hoisted in areas of Beirut where Christian leaders are rarely seen.
On the road that runs from the airport to downtown, through the poor southern suburbs that are a stronghold of the Shia militants and the political party Hezbollah, the Pope now smiles down upon drivers.
Alongside him were banners put up by the group itself that read: "Welcome to the land of the resistance."
It is fair to say that the vast majority of Lebanese saw the Pope's visit to their country – at a time of great instability in the region – in a positive light.
It did not matter that while the Pope praised Lebanon's religious coexistence, a few hundred protesters in the northern city of Tripoli, who were angry at a film that insulted the Muslim ProphetMohamed, shouted chants against his trip. They were the minority.
While much has been made of the things that divide Lebanon, the Pope's visit served as a timely reminder that there still exists a strong desire for unity among the Lebanese.
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 4 Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
- 5 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Greece elections: Greek PM Alexis Tsipras takes aim at 'neo-liberal' Europe as country gears up for prolonged austerity battle
Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary: Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
Pornhub star Mia Khalifa receives death threats after being ranked the site's top adult actress
Prince Philip set to be knighted by Australia: Celebrate by reading his greatest gaffes
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
Leaked documents show Ukip leaders approve NHS privatisation once it becomes more 'acceptable to the electorate'
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the world's leading suppliers and manuf...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: We require a teacher of Science in this com...
£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of waste ...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To promote and sell the Company...