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Lebanon

On Our Intervention in Kalam al-Nas: Real Estate Development Will Not Realize the Dreams of the Lebanese

[One of the banners unfolded during the intervention. It reads: “The dream of our city does not lie in real estate development, rather in public spaces and open access to the sea.” Image by the campaign]

On Thursday 26 June 2014, a number of activists from the Civic Campaign for the Preserve of Dalieh infiltrated a live broadcasting of an episode of LBC’s Kalam al-Nas in Downtown Biel’s “Dream Real Estate Expo.” The particular episode tackled the topic of real estate development in Lebanon, and aired live from from Downtown Biel’s “Dream Real Estate Expo.”  This special episode brought together a number of real-estate developers who participated in the Expo, showcasing their high-end large-apartment-type projects. These guests also included a current member of parliament, a former minister, and the event organizers. One of the key ...

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New Texts Out Now: Melani Cammett, Compassionate Communalism: Welfare and Sectarianism in Lebanon

[Cover of Melani Cammett,

Melani Cammett, Compassionate Communalism: Welfare and Sectarianism in Lebanon. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Melani Cammett (MC): The aftermath of the US invasion of Iraq first got me thinking about the connections between identity politics and social service provision. Years of war with Iran as well as more than a decade of sanctions after the First Gulf War had eroded the public welfare infrastructure in Iraq. The dismantling of the state in the aftermath of the US invasion destroyed much of what was left of it, creating a vacuum in parts of the country. I began to think about how “ordinary” people were able to ...

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هل خفف العمال السوريون من أزمة الاقتصاد اللبناني؟

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"دعوة لإعادة قراءة الآثار الاقتصادية للهجرة السورية للبنان" لا نتساءل في هذه الورقة عن تأثيرات الأزمة السورية (1) بكل تفاصيلها في لبنان ولكن يقتصر تساؤلنا علي المهاجرين أو النازحين إلى لبنان. هل خفّفوا من آثار الأزمة الاقتصادية اللبنانية أم ضاعفوها؟ يطرح هذا السؤال نفسه في ظلّ الهجمة المسعورة التي يتعرّض لها المهاجرون السوريون في لبنان، وارتفاع معدلات العنصرية لتصل إلى درجة أن تقوم بلديات عديدة بمنع السوريين من الخروج من منازلهم في غير أوقات العمل. فمنذ أيام قليلة قامت بلدية برج حمود ببيروت (انظر الصورة المرفقة) بوضع لافتات تحظر على السوريين الخروج من منازلهم ليلاً، أي في غير ساعات العمل على خلفية حادثة يمكن أن تحدث في أية منطقة أخرى بالعاصمة ...

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Zeid Hamdan

[Zeid Hamdan composes, writes lyrics, and plays a range of instruments. Image courtesy of MedrarTV.]

Zeid Hamdan 2010-2013 Beirut, Lebanon   In this video, Medrar.TV takes you on a trip through the inspiring practice of Lebanese musician and producer Zeid Hamdan, who is credited as the main force behind developing electro Arab pop music. Since the mid nineties, Hamdan (b.1976) has either founded or produced music for some of the most successful underground bands in the region, including the Arabic trip hop band Soap Kills, The New Government (Pop rock), Katibe5 (Arabic hip-hop), ShiftZ (Arabic electro), Heba Mansouri (Arabic trip hop), Kanjha Kora (Guineean pop), Kazamada (Arabic electro pop), Dany Baladi (Arabic electro pop), and Zeid and the Wings (New ...

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The End of Rent Control in Lebanon: Another Boost to the “Growth Machine?”

[The Gemmayzeh neighborhood. Image by author]

It is an open secret that, given the political instability of the past three years, the Lebanese real-estate sector has suffered a sharp decrease in demand for upmarket property. In spite of this, giant construction cranes, and glass-and-steel towers continue to dominate the Beirut skyline—something that is unlikely to change anytime soon. In this context of decreased demand and continued supply, the Lebanese Parliament opened a Pandora’s Box on the first of April 2014, when it voted for a new law liberalizing “old rents” contracts, thus terminating the fierce battle that has raged between landlords and tenants for decades. Nevertheless, the issue of rent control has yet ...

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نقاش - لهذه الأسباب أصبحت المدينة متوحشة وبهذه الشروط نوقف التوحش

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مسؤولون إما بإصدارهم القوانين والأنظمة غير الملائمة، وإما بمقاومتهم أي تعديل لما هو غير مناسب ومسيء للمدينة، وإما بصمّ آذانهم عن سماع صوت العارفين والاختصاصيين، وإما بالقيام بالأعمال "المتوحشة" في حق المدينة أو تشجيعها، وإما بالسكوت وإغماض العيون عما يجري، بمن فيهم أولئك الأنبياء الكذبة الذين يحاضرون عن الأخلاق في الصالونات ويقدمون أنفسهم رسلاً للمحافظة على البيئة والتراث وجمال المدينة، لكنهم يتحولون إلى وحوش ضارية، وينسون المبادئ التي يبشرون بها عندما يتعلق الأمر بمصلحتهم المادية. بل إن بعضهم حوّل نفسه من صديق لي إلى عدوّ لدود ولا يزال، بل انتقم مني شخصياً عندما سنحت له الفرصة ولو بعد سنوات طويلة من انتقالي من المديرية العامة للتنظيم المدني لأني لم أوافق في ...

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Dodging City Archive / Beirut Chapter

[Daraj / Steps: Sanayeh, March 2011. Photo by Giulia Guadagnoli.]

(Photos and text by Giulia Guadagnoli, unless otherwise noted.) I started walking around Beirut in 2010. An initial feeling of exhaustion by overwhelming physical obstacles and blind corners evolved into an enthusiasm for the solutions adopted by inhabitants to rest, trespass, bypass, and envision. This collection of pictures is the result of such enthusiastic and ongoing explorations. My curiosity for trying different trails and paths in my daily trips first led me to discover the alleys created when private construction was forced to respect the neighbor’s right of way. Then I progressively extended my collection of images to include various tactical interventions: ...

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Mohamed Said Baalbaki: Fictional Museum

[Mohamed Baalbaki has been working on his museum series since 2006. Image courtesy of Medrar TV.]

Mohamed Said Baalbaki: Fictional Museum May 2014 Viennoise Hotel, Cairo   In his two-part series titled Al Buraq (The Pegasus), Lebanese artist Mohamed Said Baalbaki questions the authority of the museum as an institution and the ways in which histories are written and presented to the public. The series takes the shape of a museum setting, with each gallery focusing on a particular moment in the region's modern history. Al Buraq I begins with the story of two German scientists finding bone parts of an unusual animal (a winged horse) in Jerusalem before World War II. This leads to a trip into the history of colonialism in the region. The second part of the ...

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Decentralization in the Arab World Must be Strengthened to Provide Better Services

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Introduction: Decentralization on the Agenda One of the major features of democracies is the extent to which the state is decentralized. With the advent of democratic transformations in the Arab world, decentralization already is or will soon be on the reform agenda. Decentralization is desired for two reasons: one, it enhances democracy, and participation in managing local affairs; two, it consequently leads to better developmental outcomes. The assumption here is that delegating authority to lower echelons of authorities will make service provision more effective, as it will be more responsive to the actual needs of the beneficiaries, while political representation ...

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Lebanese Judges and Journalists: Breaking the Stereotypes

[Image via Legal Agenda.]

On 24 February 2014, a Lebanese court ruled in favor of Judge Randa Yaqzan in her case against al-Akhbar newspaper and journalist Mohamed Nazzal. Following the ruling, the convicted media outlet (al-Akhbar) criticized the court, going as far as questioning the legitimacy of the court’s right to examine other cases pending before it. [1] By doing so, al-Akhbar seemed to switch roles with the court: turning the newspaper’s trial by the court into a “trial” of the latter.  The newspaper’s “revolt” followed a string of media stances critical of judicial action, most prominently the indictment issued in the case of domestic violence against the victim, Roula ...

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This Sea Is Mine: Sound Piece and Research Booklet on Beirut Coastline

[Outline map of Beirut coastline. Image from This Sea Is Mine research booklet]

Dictaphone Group announces the release of a sound piece based on their summer 2012 performance, This Sea Is Mine. The research-based and site-specific performance explored the concepts of public space and seafront access in Beirut through the city’s coastline. In the performance, the audience was invited to take part in a journey on a small boat going from the Ayn al-Mrayse fishing port to Daliyeh in Rawshe. The boat stopped at each of the different seafront properties exploring its land ownership history, the laws that govern it, and the practices of its users. The goal of this project is to reexamine our understanding of public space and to re-imagine the ...

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Job Opening: Lebanon Specialist at Human Rights Watch (Beirut Office)

[Logo of Human Rights Watch. Image from hrw.org]

ONE YEAR FULL-TIME JOB VACANCY LEBANON SPECIALIST Middle East and North Africa Division (Beirut Office) Application Deadline: May 23, 2014 Human Rights Watch (“HRW”) is seeking a one-year full time specialist to assist in monitoring the human rights situation in Lebanon. This position will be based in Beirut, Lebanon. Responsibilities Monitor and document human rights abuses in Lebanon by collecting and analyzing information from a wide variety of sources including governments, local media, NGOs, journalists, diplomats, security forces, and others in the field; Write and publicize reports, briefing papers, letters, news releases, op-eds, and ...

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Do Not Compel Me to Sing

I Left My Shoes in Istanbul, directed by Nigol Bezjian. Lebanon/Turkey, 2013. Nigol Bezjian’s I Left My Shoes in Istanbul begins with its protagonist protesting that he has no desire to go on the journey that lies at the heart of the film. It ends with the haunting voice of a singer, begging the listener, “Do not implore me, I will not sing.” Between these two attempts to escape from a story that nevertheless must be told, Bezjian presents us with a vision that is deeply personal, not always coherent, ...

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عن إقتحامنا لبرنامج 'كلام الناس': التطوير العقاري لن يحقق أحلام الشعب اللبناني

قام ناشطات وناشطون من «الحملة الأهلية للحفاظ على دالية الروشة» "باقتحام" حلقة الخميس 26 حزيران 2014 من برنامج «كلام الناس»، والتي كانت تتناول موضوع التطوير العقاري في لبنان، ببث مباشر للحلقة من معرض ”DREAM REAL ESTATE EXPO“ في البيال (وسط بيروت). وقد صبّت جميع مُداخلات المدعوّين لهذه الحلقة الخاصة من البرنامج، في تصوير الملكية السكنية كحلم جميع اللبنانيين وكحلّ لمشاكلهم السكنية يسعى القطاع العقاري الى تحقيقه. إضافة لذلك تم مُحاولة طرح هذا القطاع على أنه الركيزة الأساسيّة للإقتصاد ...

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Quick Thoughts: Maya Mikdashi on the Current Situation in Lebanon

[Amidst growing political polarization in Lebanon the term of President Michel Suleiman expired on 24 May with no successor in sight. Jadaliyya asked Co-Editor Maya Mikdashi to comment on the reasons for the vacuum, its ramifications and broader context]: Jadaliyya (J): Why has a new Lebanese president not yet been selected?  Maya Mikdashi (MM): I think everybody believed that Michel Suleiman, the outgoing president, would accept an extra-constitutional extension of his term, as has each of his ...

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O.I.L. Media Roundup (13 June)

[This is a monthly archive of pieces written by Jadaliyya contributors and editors on the Occupations, Interventions,and Law (O.I.L.) Page. It also includes material published on other platforms that editors deemed pertinent to post as they provide diverse depictions of O.I.L.-related topics. The pieces reflect the level of critical analysis and diversity that Jadaliyya strives for, but the views are solely the ones of their authors. If you are interested in contributing to Jadaliyya, send us your post ...

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O.I.L. Monthly Edition (May 2014)

[This is a monthly archive of pieces written by Jadaliyya contributors and editors on the Occupations, Interventions, and Law (O.I.L.) Page. It also includes material published on other platforms that editors deemed pertinent to post as they provide diverse depictions of O.I.L.-related topics. The pieces reflect the level of critical analysis and diversity that Jadaliyya strives for, but the views are solely the ones of their authors. If you are interested in contributing to Jadaliyya, send us your post ...

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مينا: أجساد موشومة

(قراءة نقدية في رواية "مينا" للكاتبة اللبنانية/المصرية: سحر مندور– دار الآداب اللبنانية – بيروت – 2013) تبدأ الرواية بسؤال السرد النسوي الذي يجعل من الجسد والسلطة وتداعياتهما مركزًا ديناميًا للسرد، باعتبارهما منطلقًا نقديًا لكل الأبنية السلطوية الذكورية ومرجعياتها الثقافية، سؤال يؤسس للحفر في اليومي من الحياة اليومية، المار كبديهيات سائلة في مكاننا، لا ظل لها، فتقول مينا (الشخصية الرئيسية في السرد/الرواية): "كل حياة تستأهل أن تُروى. لكن، هل في نائج السرد ما يستأهل الإقدام ...

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New Texts Out Now: Gulcin Erdi-Lelandais, Understanding the City: Henri Lefebvre and Urban Studies

Gülçin Erdi-Lelandais, editor, Understanding the City: Henri Lefebvre and Urban Studies. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Gulçin Lelandais (GL): The idea of this book was born during a panel session on Henri Lefebvre at the 2011 Congress of the European Sociological Association, during which researchers from Hungary, the UK, France, and Turkey presented their approaches on Lefebvrian concepts like the right to the city, ...

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Sargon Boulus: An Attempt to Reach Beirut by Sea

An Attempt to Reach Beirut by Sea Sargon Boulus   One distant evening while I smuggle a fountain through the wreckage or bribe a night with a mediocre poem You bleed in the cold trenches of the ceasefire from your thousand battlefronts I wanted to lay out a path with a carpet of my breaths to where you still stand Your barricade a dove’s skeleton Your face a wounded paradise I wanted to burn a little between your hands No place dreams of my arrival and Life My frightened ...

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Revolution and Return: Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon and the End of Politics

Diana Allan, Refugees of the Revolution: Experiences of Palestinian Exile. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2013.   For some reason while reading Diana Allan’s wonderful new book, Refugees of the Revolution, I had the idea that its title was Ghosts of the Revolution. I am not sure why. It may be because that revolution, in its silences and absences, so insistently haunts the pages of this study, its traces scattered and lingering in the lives of those who lived it and created it and were left ...

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هذا البحر لي: قطعة صوتية وكتيب البحث

"هذا البحر لي" هو عرض حيّ جرى في بيروت خلال صيف 2012 تضمَن رحلة على متن قارب صيد من ميناء عين المريسة حتى ميناء الدالية. اعتمد هذا "العرض الإعتراضي" في مضمونه على بحث مديني عن شاطىء بيروت كاشفاً للجمهور ملكية هذه الأماكن وممارسات مستخدميها والقوانين التي تحكمها. "هذا البحر لي" هو جزء من جهد مستمر تقوم به "مجموعة الدكتافون" للربط بين البحث المديني والفن الحيّ من أجل فتح نقاش عن علاقة الناس بحيّزهم العام في لبنان وإمكانية إعادة تصور المدينة. ...

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Quick Thoughts: Paul Sedra on the Pope’s Visit to the Middle East

  [On Saturday 24 May 2014, Pope Francis embarks on a three-day visit to Jordan, Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories in his first tour of the Middle East since his installation as head of the Catholic Church in 2013. Jadaliyya asked its Contributing Editor Paul Sedra to reflect on the broader issues the pope is expected to address, including the position of Christians in the Middle East.] Vatican watchers and Middle East analysts alike will examine the Pope’s ...

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Daliyeh and the Ongoing Struggle for Beirut's Public Spaces

Daliyeh, a small peninsula sprouting from the Raouche neighborhood close to Beirut's renowned Pigeons' Rock, is being sealed off from the public. Already, security guards are on site and steel poles—the first sign of a planned fence—have been struck into the ground. A luxurious hotel resort is expected to be built on the land, a resort likely accessible to only a small affluent section of Lebanese society. For everyone else, it is another marker that Beirut's suffocation is accelerating as the struggle ...

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