[Published here May 15, 2014]
Driving licenses, university diplomas, and votes: everything’s for sale, even your rights. Such is the motto of Dekkenet al-Balad, which translates to “Country Store,” the newly opened storefront on Beirut’s Gemmayze Street. Neatly stacked throughout the small shop are buckets full of forged Lebanese ID cards, binders labeled “List of government positions for Maronites only,” and stacks of counterfeit Lebanese government paperwork. A young employee hurriedly sifts through a cardboard box to find a customer precisely the document she needs – for a fee, of course.