Lebanese Minister of Culture Gaby Layoun claimed to embody the new spirit of renewal and reform that would right the wrongs of Solidere. Solidere as we all know, committed the worst atrocities in post war Beirut; under the guise of rebuilding the Beirut center, it proceeded to do worse than the civil war actually did: Solidere disfigured Beirut and removed almost all traces of identity from the heart of Lebanon, turning it into a generic city with its standard high rises, most of them empty because most of them belonging to foreigners.
But I digress.
Layoun claimed he was against all the Solidere ‘philosophy’ (if we can call it that) and he was set, as a minister of culture, to return Beirut and Lebanon to its former cultural glory.
And we were quite happy with that.
Yesterday, under tacit permission from Layoun, a whole Phoenician port discovered on plot 1398, was bulldozed down to its last stone, by Venus Real Estate, to make way for 3 (beautiful and luxurious) towers no honest Lebanese can afford even if through some miracle, he got to save the needed money over several cumulative lifetimes. The bulldozing happened after the APLH knew something fishy was going on at the port and organized a flash mob to get experts, archeologists and responsible lebanese citizens to stand behind a symbol of their identity, history and culture. Of course the experts never came. The archeologists were too scared for their jobs and reputation, to even dare to come. And the citizens were either busy burning tires somewhere, or slaving at their deskjobs, or busy hating the ‘other’ political party, or also, busy downloading the latest smartphone app… They were all busy. I understand them. There are priorities in life. There are bills to pay. Heritage doesnt pay the bills.
Well let me tell you what: Heritage DOES pay the bills. Only, you have to preserve it so that it translates into touristic revenue and a cultural treasure. If you preserve it, it will pay your bills. It will create jobs. It will keep you in your country. But I understand the lebanese wants to pay his/her bills NOW. To buy the SUV, like, RIGHT NOW… So yes, I understand you. There are priorities in life.
Back to Layoun. Who, let’s remind our readers, vowed to right the wrongs of Solidere. Well, Now that he did worse than Solidere, we at APLH, would like to congratulate him on this remarkable achievement. It’s an epic feat, to outdo Solidere… He will retort that this was a 2500 year old qarry! Not a port! We would tell him that, qarry, or port, this was public property. And you dont destroy public property. Then we would remind him that his protégé Dr Assad Seif, an archeologist himself, stated that this archeological find was of utmost importance and needed to be preserved.
Dear Lebanese people. What are you working for? your jobs, careers, and the time spent in traffic to earn a life, found a family or just to succeed in life, what is it for? What’s its context? the meetings, the projects, the competition,… To be a successful, happy lebanese? or just to be successful and happy? to paraphrase the Bible, what is it worth, to win all the world’s riches and to lose yourself?
You might tell me ‘I’m a citizen of the world!’. In that case, I’m sorry I wasted your time but it was nice knowing you. However, we are on 2 different wavelengths because you’re a citizen of the world while I admire the germans for their precision, the english for their authenticity, the japanese for their discipline, the scandinavians for their technology or the italians for their artistry. I celebrate true diversity and identity while you celebrate a generic, amorphous and unidentifiable NON-identity. I’ve picked my side, and hope to see you with us.
Tomorrow, Thursday at noon, in front of the ministry of culture, the APLH will demand the resignation (and trial) of the minister of culture, and the expropriation of Venus Real Estate. This is only possible through massive public turnout.
Secretary and co-founder ][ APLH