Video: Christian enclaves unscathed

By Kerry Sanders Correspondent
NBC News
updated 7/28/2006 1:15:27 PM ET 2006-07-28T17:15:27

Even with the heavy bombings in Beirut on Tuesday, day 14 of this war, the city looked in places like the vacation resort it usually is.

And into the nights here in Beirut, less than a mile and a half from where the bombs are dropping, a growing number of residents are out, unwilling, they say, to surrender their way of life.

"In Lebanon for 30 years we've been living with a war, so now it's routine for us," says Maurice Melki, who runs a local restaurant. "We can go, we can have a drink, we can have a party at the same time the area next to us they are bombarding, so it's very routine for us, it's very normal."

Former Miss Lebanon Clemence Achkar, out tooling in her convertible Porsche, says she and others feel safe in the Christian neighborhoods — those well-defined areas in this city are not believed to be targets.

“You have two Lebanons," says Achkar. "You have the dolce vita and Lebanon from this side."

And, she says, on the other side, those who support Hezbollah.

"We are not engaged in this war because we didn't ask for it," she says.

Missing from all of this is any sense of guilt. Why? There are 18 separate religious groups in Lebanon. At any given time they're living separate lives.

It's why the death of nearly 400 civilians, who are mostly Shiite Muslims, means different things to different people in Lebanon — why some here say the see little reason to get caught up in this war.

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