In Beirut, the restaurant "Buns and Guns" markets its sandwiches by giving them questionable names. Why don’t you try a Kalashnikov burger served on terrorist pita bread? In Lebanon, nobody seems to find the trend shocking or offensive.
This small fast food place opened early June in Dahiyeh, a suburb south of the Lebanese capital. The neighbourhood, heavily targeted during the 2006 war against Israel, is a stronghold of Islamic activity. The restaurant’s owner uses war and dark humour as marketing tools. After crossing a barricade of rice bags in front of the store, the customer sits in a camouflage-printed room and eats to the sound of dropping bombs. The menu, illustrated with photos of weapons, offers a wide array of choices, from a “B-52” to a “Magnum 357” (see video). The restaurant’s motto is “A sandwich to die for”. It’s a successful concept – the restaurant is always full – and Lebanese people don’t seem overly shocked by it.
Report aired on June 12 2008 by Hezbollah's television channel, Al Manar TV. It was transplated and posted on Memri TV, an organisation that depends on the American Middle Eastern Institute.
Paul Chahine, 30, is a salesman in Beirut.
It intrigues foreigners a lot, but for us Lebanese it’s no big deal. It takes a lot more than that to offend people here. There’s a restaurant in Beirut called 1975, in reference to the civil war, with military music and a war-themed decoration. We’re so used to war that it has become just another theme. It’s part of our culture.
I remember that, during the war with Israel in 2006, certain neighbourhoods remained festive while others, right next door, were being bombed.
If the restaurant’s owner wants to attract publicity for his neighbourhood, a Hezbollah stronghold, it’s ironic that he should do it by serving typically American food: burgers, sodas, etc. Personally, I don’t think they’re directly linked to Hezbollah. They may be sympathizers, but nothing more. "