Abby Sewell is a freelance journalist based in Beirut, where she writes about refugee issues, politics and culture and volunteers as an English teacher. Previously, she was a staff writer with the Los Angeles Times.
Just a few years ago, Syria Street, a main thoroughfare in the city of Tripoli in northern Lebanon, was notorious as the demarcation line between two warring neighborhoods — a no-go zone to most. Some of its buildings still bear evidence of the conflict with their walls riddled with bullet holes.
But on a recent afternoon, a group of young men from the rival neighborhoods — some of them former combatants — were sharing an argileh pipe as they took a break from plastering the walls inside one of those damaged shops.