Once again, Christmas lights are everywhere in Lebanon from the tiniest of villages to the sprawling urban suburbs. As every year, the municipalities are hard at work, hiring cranes and fleets of laborers to hang up their elaborate displays, with every town in seeming competition with the next.

Yet look closely at the photo above and you’ll notice that although these decorative fixtures seem to be hovering in mid-air, they are actually attached to street lamps, which have been switched off for the holiday season.

For example, hundreds of Christmas bulbs have been illuminated in this major intersection, while the light polls they are attached to remain off, keeping the streets perilously dark:

There’s enough power to light the giant Christmas tree, but not enough to help drivers chart a path through the lawless night:

And another neighborhood, where dozens of Christmas displays seem to be floating mid-air, sucking the life out of the lamp posts they adorn:

Ironically, one municipality’s street lamps were powered down at night:

And yet turned on during the day!

Notice it is the same street and same municipality with the same triple star display attached to the light post. Amazingly, almost every post on this highway in Naccache that was powered off at night was on during the day.

Perhaps the sun wasn’t bright enough for a member of Parliament driving by:

So Merry Christmas from Lebanon’s municipalities, who manage to keep the streets pretty for two weeks and yet dark and chaotic all year round.

For more on Lebanon’s decades-old electricity shortage and the vested interests that help keep it that way, see my recent investigative piece on the billion-dollar gray market in private generators.

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