The Lebanon of Western Europe

swissmapThere’s another great post on the excellent blog Strange Maps focusing on this fascinating “cartogram of regional political mentalities in Switzerland.” Here’s how to read it:

A cartogram being a map morphed by non-geographic data, there is very little left of Switzerland’s familiar shape to recognise here. The confederation’s centuries-old cartographic persona is transformed by two axes, from liberal to conservative (north-south) and from left-wing to right-wing (east-west). The colours denote the country’s main language areas: German (green), French (red) and Italian (yellow)*. Higher altitude lines correspond with higher population density…

The French-Swiss area generally is more liberal and left-wing than the rest of Switzerland, but with significant internal diversity. The municipality of Collonge-Bellerive is among the most liberal in Switzerland, but is rather more right-wing than Geneva (marked in German as Genf) and Lausanne, the largest cities of la Suisse romande (French-Switzerland). And Delémont apparently is the hotbed par excellence of socialist agitation in Switzerland. Italian-Switzerland is equally left-wing, but not quite so liberal as the French-Swiss.

I’m hoping that one of the many talented and quantitatively-minded Lebanese graphic designers (which is, let’s face it, just a euphemism for “Lebanese person under age 40”) reading this blog tries their hand at coming up with a cartogram of regional political mentalities in Lebanon.

In other news, read Ben Gilbert’s excellent piece on the renovation of Beirut’s synogogue, and Sami Moubayed breaks some news on the likely makeup of the next cabinet (a 15-10-5 format, as forecasted here a couple of weeks ago) with Ziad Baroud remaining as Interior Minister (although this is not final… Aoun reportedly wants either the Interior or Finance portfolio for the FPM, and I just can’t see Hariri giving up the latter).
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11 thoughts on “The Lebanon of Western Europe

  1. QN,
    I think that an excellent person for such a map will be Mustafs of the Beirut Spring. He no longer posts regularly since he became a tweet convert but he can deliver on most graphiocs projects. I have seen many of his creations and they were good. Send him a tweet or maybe an email.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | August 1, 2009, 8:55 pm
  2. Thanks Ghassan, I’ll send him a tweet. 🙂

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 1, 2009, 9:37 pm
  3. If you make an ethnographic cartogram of Lebanon, keep psychology of color in mind. Make sure to use black (or maybe red) for Shia areas so you can sell the map to neocon think tanks.

    Posted by اندرو | August 1, 2009, 11:22 pm
  4. Two observations. It seems that the liberal conservative axis and the right left axis are too correlated in the case of Switzerland.

    As for the rebuilding of the Synagogue in Beirut, I am sure Hizballah is very happy. Soon, they will only need to go to downtown Beirut on Friday evenings to get hostages. Some Jews are so optimistically dumb that it beggars the imagination.

    Posted by AIG | August 2, 2009, 12:52 pm
  5. Hold on, though. This is surely a naive question, but what precisely is the difference between left-wing and liberal, or right-wing and conservative?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 2, 2009, 7:11 pm
  6. AIG,

    Who do you think is going to replace Lieberman?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | August 2, 2009, 7:11 pm
  7. quantitatively-minded Lebanese graphic designers (which is, let’s face it, just a euphemism for “Lebanese person under age 40″) <– Funnyy

    Posted by Liliane | August 3, 2009, 2:19 am
  8. Qifa, I guess the liberal/conservative axis means personal freedom. So you can be left-wing and conservative in a Soviet/Communist sense, and right-wing and liberal in the European politico-liberal tradition of “total freedom with total capitalism”.

    Or something along those lines 🙂

    Posted by Torstein | August 3, 2009, 3:51 am
  9. QN,
    Some other fool from his party most likely but we will see. Hopefully Netanyahu can shuffle the cabinet and put someone with more stature in the position.

    Posted by AIG | August 3, 2009, 11:40 am
  10. AIG –

    What do you think of this?:


    Posted by Akbar Palace | August 5, 2009, 7:42 am
  11. AP,
    It is related to this:

    Israel is crossing the Ts and dotting the Is in preparation for attacking Iran. The loose end is Hizballah. Israel would prefer it would not react to an Israeli attack on Iran, but if it does, Hizballah will clearly be the aggressor and Israel is laying the ground for a massive attack against it and Lebanon. In my opinion, Hizballah will not attack Israel after Israel attacks Iran. Even they understand that the ensuing war will be ultra-catastrophic for them and Lebanon. Israel has gone out of its way to make this clear. But one always has to be prepared.

    Posted by AIG | August 5, 2009, 11:28 am

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