Here is an anecdote that may (or may not) show how industrious the Lebanese can be in coming up with strange ideas to make money or to show their nationalism. Ms Rasha Najjar came up with the idea of trapping air in cans and exporting them. So canned air from Lebanon was produced and exported to be sold to Lebanese living abroad. Bloggers at Stuff Lebanese People Like and at Ramblings of a Lebanese Hopeful were quick to report on the frenzy.
Tri–Klop posted a promotional video clip of the “Hawa Lebnan” [Lebanese Air] cans and wrote:
Lebanese like to buy and sell everything. Lebanese like to believe they are connected to the ancient sea-faring Phoenician tradesmen. So in addition to their major passtime – eating air (pun intended for those who speak Lebanese), Lebanese also like to sell air. Lebanese have succeeded in putting Lebanese air – Hawa Lebnan – in cans and exporting them. The can has the stamp of the Lebanese Ministry of Economy and Trade.
Meanwhile, Antoun wrote that the Lebanese are just as industrious and entrepreneurial as any other people:
An eBay saavy friend of mine once told me that the Chinese are willing to sell anything on eBay, “even their mothers”, if the price is right.
My response to that is that the Lebanese are just as industrious and entrepreneurial in this regard as any other people. The difference between the Chinese and the Lebanese, however, is that the Chinese will actually follow through with the sale, or at least, you'll get what you paid for. The Lebanese merchant, on the other hand, will try every trick in the book to outbid, outsmart, outwit and outdo the customer such that he comes up on top and still manages to convince the customer of the great bargain he has made.
Case in point: Canned Lebanese Air, or Hawa Lebnan. Rasha Najjar, the kooky lady that came up with the idea, asserts that this is not a marketing ploy, but rather a very nationalist initiative.