Growing up, I often found myself walking past the ruins of Beirut’s Holiday Inn hotel. In a country with little, if anything, dedicated to remembering that period, the building serves as an unofficial reminder of Lebanon’s devastating civil war. On reflection, however, the ruins also remind us that, at one point, Beirut had been a different city – one whose inhabitants had been optimistic enough to build a multistory hotel. This may be cause for future hope, if the lessons of the past are confronted. But this summer, a stroll in the neighbourhood reminded me just how much Beirut remains a tale of two cities.