November 18, 2013


Fairuz grafitti
A side alley in Gemayze

As this country is scrambling to get to the 21st century, it tends to forget its past. Actually, it is probably not the country running, but rather ‘the powers that be’, and that is most definitely not the majority of the Lebanese, but a small group of powerbrokers who play us like we’re chess pieces.

These two blocks on both sides are abandoned, inhabited by squatters at the moment, and probably waiting for the wrecking ball
And instead of focusing on the basic amenities that would launch us into the 21st century (such as 24 hours electricity, clean water for all, proper sewage so the city doesn’t flood in times of rain, shelter, proper public transport, quality education for all), they focus rather on the outward signs, such as high-rise buildings that harbor one-million dollar apartments.
A small antique' dealer that's been there forever

And they do not look at the past.  The past does not make money. Yet the past is of such incredible beauty. Yesterday, I had to pick up my daughter from a workshop in Gemayze, but I was early, so I walked around a bit, and was struck by the loveliness. Only one alley up Gouraud street, and there were trees and gardens and birds. Some of it is still in good state, and you may argue here that it is again the rich that possess these dwellings. But there are entire neighborhood blocks that are filled with abandoned buildings that could – with the proper plan – could be restored and turned into apartments for normal people, i.e. people that do not need 400 square meter apartments with a maid room, a driver room and 6 bathrooms.
A door to somebody's garden. You cannot get there by car

Looking to the other side
What lacks of course, is a proper administration, and politicians that care for the good of the people rather than the benefit of their pockets. What you deserve is what you get, of course, and there’s got to be a reason why we, as Lebanese, are run by such incompetent policy-makers and politicians.
As long as we follow our sect leaders, all old relics from the civil war and the Israeli occupation, I might add, we’re not getting anywhere.

Bijschrift toevoegen

These two blocks have been restored
And all we can do for now is take pictures of what remains (such as this post of Craig Finlay, Ziad Salloum, and me ), for the moment, but what will most probably be replaced by some ugly high-rise designed in New York and which will be inhabited by lord knows who.



Anonymous said...

I have always loved the architecture and beauty of old Beirut...its such a magical place with its French Mediterranean inspirations. Hard to believe someone would want to destroy such beauty but the like many people, the Lebanese are selling their soul for greed.
Absolutely Beautiful pics, thank you for posting.

Anonymous said...

siestki, just wanted to post to make sure all is well your end after yesterdaynts