Rare newsreel video shows Lebanon in 1969

beirut newsreels

Rare footage from British Pathé, a producer of newsreels and documentaries, shows Lebanon in 1969.

British Pathé was at the forefront of cinematic journalism, blending information with entertainment to popular effect.

Over the course of a century, it documented everything from major armed conflicts and seismic political crises to the curious hobbies and eccentric lives of ordinary people. If it happened, British Pathé filmed it.

Beirut, the thriving beautiful capital city of Lebanon.

But even here, in the biblical land of milk and honey, the honey is not so sweet.

These are refugees — some of the many who have lost their homes in Middle East strife.

Lebanon has seen its share of troubles through the centuries. Romans, Arabs, the Crusaders, Turks, the French, and the allied forces all have passed this way.

But Lebanon has survived, and has merged as a prosperous and democratic state, composed equally of Christians and Muslims.

The president, Charles Helou, is a Christian. The prime minister, by agreement, is always a Muslim. The set up appears to work well.

In spite of its geographic position of strategy in the current Middle East situation, the financial comparison of Lebanon to Switzerland and its role as the trading house of the Middle East is a fair one.

Free enterprise flourishes. Modern roads cover the country. Luxury buildings and hotels have sprung up.

One of the main objects of both is tourism. About 30 percent of the national income is derived from visitors, including Jewish people. Even now Lebanon is still a tourist attraction.

This is traditional and universal in appeal.

So is this…

In this small land, bordered by Israel and Syria, the east and the west fuse smoothly. Ancient and modern, Christian and Muslim.

It’s a land of contrast. Sunny lowlands, snowy mountains.

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