If asking what the dollar rate is on a daily, if not hourly, basis in Lebanon is not already an enough headache for the nation’s inhabitants, since this weekend, the Cedar country now has to follow two time zones, resulting in mass confusion.
Like most countries around the world, to mark the beginning of spring and the arrival of summer, clocks are pushed forward by an hour in order for humans to enjoy the maximum amount of natural sunlight there is all of a sudden. As temperatures get warmer so do the days, and while this extra dose of vitamin D is usually celebrated by many, this time, some nations, in this case Lebanon, are much more reluctant in adding another hour of light to their day. Why? It would make fasting times longer for Muslims who are currently observing the holy month of Ramadan.
The Mediterranean state, which has been having to mend and settle the deep-rooted disputes and persisting conflicts that exist between its several religious and ethnic fractions for centuries, is now facing a much more ironic, although frustrating and confusing, manifestation of its persisting religious tensions. As the tradition wants it, in Lebanon, clocks go forward every March 25, however, as it coincides with the ninth month of the calendar this year, where abstinence from food and beverage is expected by practicing Muslims, the country’s intermittent Prime Minister Najib Mikati decided to postpone daylight saving by a month in order to not extend the period of time in which Muslims have to fast.
Although the sectarian move has not been confirmed by any government officials just yet, people in Beirut seem to find no other rational explanation than the one revealed above.
The unexpected decision, which brought joy to those concerned, was met with backlash, defiance, and even rejection, notably by some of the prominent Christian voices in Lebanon, who are vetoing the introduction of the swiftly-announced decree, therefore, giving birth to two zones that depend on the religious majority of the city, governorate or region you happen to be living in; or just mood as well.
Lebanese Whatsapp groups on fire with jokes about the tiny country following two time zones, one adopted mostly by the gvt & Muslims & the other by Christians 🤦♀️
Sectarian leaders will find a way to disagree on everything — including what time it is.
Map via @aciltab pic.twitter.com/Pc6aIzfCk4
— Aya Iskandarani (@Aya_Isk) March 26, 2023
Since, the reveal of the news, many businesses and institutions have had to speak out to publicly disclose what time they’ll be following. For instance, Lebanon’s national carrier, Middle East Airlines, has moved up the departure times for all flights scheduled to leave from Beirut’s Rafiq Hariri airport between Sunday and April 21 by an hour, while MTV Lebanon and LBCI Lebanon refused to comply with the ruling and continued with the scheduled switch to daylight saving instead.
As you could’ve expected it, locals found a way to laugh the matter off, despite all the disconcerting and annoyance of the situation. Here are some of our favorite takes on Twitter so far.
Lebanon has officially inshallahfied time
— Farah-Silvana Kanaan (@farahkanaan) March 25, 2023
What time is it?
🇺🇸: 10 am
🇫🇷: 10 am
🇱🇧: chou dinak bro
— AX15🇱🇧 (@alex1o5) March 25, 2023
"Allo bonjour? Yaatik l aafye, bas ken bade es2al adde l se3a aandkon?" pic.twitter.com/G2kcqVHt8X
— bubbles (@salsariaa1) March 25, 2023
Two time zones @ Beirut airport.
Lebanon has officially become the matrix of dystopia.pic.twitter.com/Wr7wXJavRN
— Lina Zhaim ~ لينا (@LinaZhaim) March 26, 2023
ليه بعد ما حدا عمل application للساعة بالمناطق اللبنانية؟
— Hady Osaily (@HadyOsaily) March 25, 2023
Not agreeing on when Ramadan starts/ends is so 2019.
In Lebanon we can’t even agree on what time it is. 🔥 https://t.co/jt4gPxC9NN
— Ali B .علي بي (@_Ali__B) March 25, 2023